I notice her as she walks in the door. She is tall and thin, with sleek dark hair tumbling in waves down her back. She catches me staring at her and I turn away, pretending to just gaze randomly around the room. God, she must think I'm a freak. I feel the warmth of a person sitting next to me; the air now smells like roses. I turn and it's her. She tells me her name is Katelyn, with a K. Her eyes are a crisp, piercing blue. I have to look away, I swear she can see right into my thoughts. Instead my eyes go to her lips. They are full and red and stand out against her fresh, pale skin. I notice her cupid's bow, deep and symmetrical.
"I mean, don't you think so?"
"Huh? Yea, sure."
He's talking again. I hate when he talks. I stare at the spot on the wall that looks like a vagina. Everything nowadays looks like a vagina.
He is still talking. I go back to thinking about Katelyn with a K's lips and the shape they make when she speaks. Suddenly, I'm short of breath.
I snap out of it again and notice that he's rubbing my thigh; his palms are hot and sweaty. Great, he wants to fuck. Well, I think, at least I won't have to listen to him bitch anymore. He starts to kiss my neck, but amazingly he's still talking. God I want him to shut up. I can't take it anymore, I grab his face and kiss him full and hard on the mouth. Finally, silence.
We continue with the routine, like a dance we memorized years ago. He opens his eyes in the middle, and catches me with my head turned, staring blankly into nothing. He says nothing and continues pawing at me. His muscles are big and hard, like his body is made of rocks, wrapped in a thin layer of skin. I might as well make love to a statue. The finale comes quickly, and he finally falls asleep, bitching, I'm sure, in his dreams.
As he snores, I get up, turn on the shower as hot as I can get it, and sit down on the floor of the tub. With one steady hand I pull my razor blade out of it's hiding spot in the drawer next to the tub and begin slicing away at my leg. I watch the water turn crimson and everything fades away.
"You're still doing that shit?" He touches the red-black lines on my thigh as I get dressed. It stings a little and I flinch.
"I like it."
"Whatever. So today, I had the most annoying customer..."
I think back to that tiny pocket in my purse. There, folded into a tiny square, was the piece of paper with her number on it. I go out to my car and sit in the backseat. Shaking, I pull the piece of paper out of my purse and begin to dial the number. I'm shaking too much and mess up. I hang up and dial again.
"Uh, this is Elaine. We met at The Lounge?"
"Oh, right, I was wondering if you'd call. How are you?"
"I'm alright. Listen, do you want to meet up sometime?"
"How about at six, outside The Lounge, and we'll go from there?"
"Yea, sounds great...see you then."
I hope she couldn't hear my voice shaking.
That night, after dinner, we're back at her place. We're talking about books and she's showing me some painting she's working on. She sits on her bed; I follow.
There's a moment of tense silence. I know what's about to happen, but I'm scared and I think I might throw up. I'm usually so sure, this kind of stuff doesn't phase me. But this time it's different. SHE's different.
I look at her and shrug, making the face I made at her in the bar a few weeks ago when she gave me her number. She laughs and pulls me towards her. Her lips find mine and we kiss. It's different. There's no scruff to scratch my chin. Her hand on my face feels warm and smooth. She smells soft, like a spring afternoon. Her body is long and taut, but her muscles don't feel all hard and pushy like a man's. Her hand moves to my leg. She moves down and lifts up my skirt. I'm shaking and I'm scared she'll notice my thighs jiggling. She stops for a minute on my thick scars, and the fresh cuts. I think for a moment she is freaked out and wants to stop. Instead she kisses them softly; it doesn't sting. My underwear comes off, already soaked. She's kissing the inside of my thighs, moving closer and closer. I lose track of time until I explode. I can't keep the scream from coming out of my mouth as my toes curl and my entire body trembles. She smiles. It's her turn.
"Where have you been?"
"This girl's house."
"Oh. Jesus Christ, Elaine, I thought you cheated on me."
"I think we need to end this."
"What? Stop fucking with me. Did you cheat on me?"
"Yes. I'm sorry. We need some space from each other. I'll pick up my things in the morning."
"I knew it. I fucking knew it. Who was it? It was that fucking bartender you work with wasn't it? How could you?"
"No. It was a woman."
"What? You're joking. You're not a dyke, Elaine. We've been together for five years. You love having sex. We did it this morning for God's sake. You're not a dyke. You're just not."
I look at his face. It is tan with pouty lips and a five o'clock shadow. A blonde curl falls into his green eyes and for a second he looks like the boy I had met so long ago. He tries to pull his all-American boy smile, full of perfect, gleaming teeth; it had won me over so many times before but this time it seems forced and wrong. The rest of his face is twisted with emotion and his chest is heaving as his eyes turn watery.
"James, you know I've never had an orgasm." My mind flashes back to earlier this evening and my heart pounds a little harder. "Let's not kid ourselves. I don't know what I am, but this isn't working. I'm so sorry. Really."
He stares at me and for the first time in his life he isn't talking. Part of me hesitates. Maybe I'm making a mistake. Going through a phase. After all, my parents will kill me when I tell them. Maybe I should just wait it out. Her face floats into my thoughts and I'm sure again. I pack a backpack and leave.
Two months later Katelyn and I are sitting on her floor, finger painting pictures of each other. She looks over at mine.
"Ugh, you really think I look like that?!"
"Hey, I'm just painting what I see." Really, I don't think Leonardo himself could have captured her beauty. The way her delicate features sit evenly on her clear, creamy face; the way her smile curls and collapses on her lips,sending a thrill down my spine, up into my chest; and the way her bright, clear blue eyes look both like fire and ice.
She feigns being offended. I try to kiss her and she turns away with her nose up. I smile.
"Kiss me, Kate."
She laughs at the reference and pulls me towards her. We sink into each other and everything fades away.