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Chapter 3: Chelsea in the Morning
I’ve been MIA for a while, a little discouraged by the lack of feedback/votes for my other stories, though many thanks to those who did. But that uncontrollable urge to write burns on, doesn’t it!? Please–WILL WRITE FOR VOTES/FEEDBACK!
* * * * *
“Yo! DreamWeavers. ‘Tell us your dream and we’ll make someone cream!’ Simeon on the line–to do your dream phyne!”
“My name’s Patrick. I’m 54. Wife died a while ago. I want a fantasy. I’m still in shape and not too bad-looking, but the years are showing. I ain’t got a look from a missy in a while. Last woman to hit on me was an Alzheimer’s victim in a Wal-Mart. Called me a stud. I didn’t care about the Alzheimer’s part. I could’ve given her some sex she might remember. I know I would. It’s just that her 60-something-year-old daughter was leading her around! ‘Mind if I take Mom to the Brer Rabbit motel for a quickie?’ wasn’t going to cut it.”
“So, you want someone to hit on you?”
“Yes. But younger, no Alzheimer’s, no one in college. Very sensual. One who gets off with just a little touching. Then goes crazy when things get serious.” He pauses. “I don’t want to fall in love, mind you. I still love Karen. Couldn’t love anyone else but her. A nice sensual fling would be fine.”
“No, I got that. Do you have sex or just, you know, hit on each other? Touchy-feely stuff. Uh-huh. White or of color? Straight, a little edgy, way edgy? Leather? Sure, I usually include boots—at least on the women. Tell me what else I need to know.” Patrick gives me details. This is going to be as easy as fucking an ass at the end of a gangbang! This story is writing itself as he talks!
“The pre-story is free. Two-ways in which you each cum once run about three-fifty. Would you be interested in our special this month? You can have a three-way with humans for only an extra hundred! That’s a savings of almost three hundred and fifty dollars! Okay, maybe next time!
“With some character development, add another fifty. You’re a guy, so I assume no afterglow shit, right? That crap is such a grind for me to write! Okay, good! Let’s say four hundred and I’ll throw in a poem for free! You want leather- or vinyl-bound? No, I mean the story! Sure, I’ll email it to you tonight. If you like it, you can pick up the fine, Corinthian-leather version with the gold lettering next week.”
* * *
Monday night at St. Nick’s, my back to the door and talking with my sponsor. I hear the door open and my body tenses, jerks ever so slightly. I cannot see who walks in, of course, but I feel weird, like an unseen attraction. I continue talking to Cal but notice two women moving to the far end of the room and sitting down. One is Mary. She’s more-or-less a regular.
“Hello, everyone. Welcome to the regular 6:30 Monday night meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. My name is Ashley. I’m a recovering alcoholic.”
As the usual pre-meeting business drones on, I try to eye the woman who walked in with Mary. I really can’t see much of her—”Sheila,” I say to myself, “move the fuck out of the way!” The woman looks well dressed, like she came straight from work.
“Anyone at this meeting for the first time?” Ashley asks.
“Hello, everyone,” the woman I don’t know says. “My name’s Chelsea and I’m an alcoholic and drug addict.”
I like her voice. Almost purring. Now, I am obsessed with her. There’s a surprise—an alkie obsessed with something! I try different positions in my chair, leaning forward, back, turning left and right. Cal eyes me occasionally. I think he wants to slap me upside the head! I can see that Chelsea is a frosty-blonde wearing a periwinkle-blue sweater that shows nice smallish breasts. As I lean forward, I notice she wears black slacks and black suede boots. Three-inch heels. Grrrrr! I can’t get a look at her face. When my time to comment comes, I say a couple non-sequitur shit sentences. The Lord’s Prayer seems to take hours. “Keep coming back!” and the meeting mercifully comes to an end.
I make a beeline to Mary to say hello, but only because Chelsea is standing with her, her back to me. As I walk to them, Chelsea bends over to get something from her purse. Her slacks stretch tightly over a really nice ass! I start talking to Mary, who introduces me to her friend. Chelsea is not a Playmate, a pinup, or an I’m-gonna-cum-in-my-pants kind of girl. She’s nice on the eyes. Good! I am not immediately suave with women, if ever, and I have been so out of the fucking date-scene that I would make Danny DeVito seem to possess the finesse of Sean Connery. So, since “Fuck off!” is the worst she can say, I decide to try to make conversation. Mary goes to help put books and chairs away. Chelsea and I chit-chat a little. I am extremely attracted to her.
“Have you had dinner yet?” Chelsea asks. “Or want to get a cup of coffee?”
“Are you asking me out?” I ask. “Why?” In A.A., what she just did is called “Thirteenth Stepping”—using a meeting to hit on another alkie, usually ataşehir escort for reasons other than to talk about how the program works.
“I want to flirt with a cute guy,” she tells me. Folks in recovery also tend to be a little blunt with each other. The “This is an honest program” standard line. She could have used the more usual lines: I want to get to know you or I really liked what you had to say or I’d like to hear your story or Did you read the 24-Hour book—did you like what it said about…?” Instead, it is the nicest thing she could have said to me. I lift her left hand and point.
“Okay. So I’m married,” she says. “I’d still like to flirt with you. Interested?”
“Sure. But what if you flirt with me and I flirt back? Then what?”
“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll leave my husband over you!” She laughs. “Just kidding! I didn’t plan this to the smallest detail. I flirt. You flirt back. Maybe you work for Apple or Toyota. Maybe you’ll cut me a great deal on a Camry or G4 with Cinema Display. You married? That would even the playing field.” She smiles.
I must now utter those godawful words. “I’m a widower.” This isn’t meant to elicit sympathy. Just part of the picture I’m painting for her.
“Oh. Let me buy you a cup of coffee. I won’t flirt with you!”
“Coffee sounds great!” I say. “And you can flirt, if you’d like! I’d be flattered.” I’m relieved, and pleased.
We head across the street to the Cocoa Bean. I love hearing her boot heels click on the pavement, like castanets. We sit down and order.
“Nice boots,” I say.
“Thanks,” she says. “Only thing I like about colder weather is wearing boots. I probably have a dozen pair. They feel great and sexy on my skin.” Her green eyes sparkle, her skin glows. Cute nose, full lips, high cheekbones. Rosy. I look at her hands and the ring. She is not as young as she looks. Some say check the eyes—but makeup is a wonderful thing. Check the hands, baby, the hands–they always tell. A slight wrinkle to the skin, a bulge to a vein or two. Maybe 42. Maybe older. Fine. I was born the year Dewey didn’t defeat Truman. I don’t want a woman who grew up during Reaganomics. I want someone who saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and won’t tell me that Van Halen’s the rockingest band ever. “Oh, Valerie Bertinelli’s husband?”
“So, Patrick, can I get a good deal on a Camry?” she asks.
“Right! I sell words, not cars or computers. I’m a writer. Freelance. Majored in creative writing—poetry mostly. But I’m just a whore! Highest and best bidder. Want a birthday card? Let’s talk money. Want a story about whales with large penises? Rorqual whales. Let’s talk money. Want an article about battered men in marriages? Let’s talk money!”
“Do you ever write…you know, uh, any porn?” I blush and look down. She laughs. “You have!” she squeals, almost happily.
“I call it ‘explicit adult romance,'” I say in a quiet voice, not wanting others to hear. “It don’t pay a cup of coffee! What do you do?”
She laughs. “I can get you twenty percent off a Vibrating Butterfly! I work at The Grown-ups Gallery—you know, on Lake Street?”
Yes, I know. Clothing and Accessories for the Adventurous Adult Mind, if I remember the sign correctly. Haven’t been in it in years. Not a sleaze hole—saw plenty of women in there and it didn’t have jack-off vid rooms or anything like that. I bought Karen some crotchless panties there once. Found them in the garbage the next day. I took them out, cut them up, and used the spandex to tie my tomato plants to stakes. Best crop I ever had. I miss Karen so.
“Thanks, but I already have a beautiful butterfly,” I say. “Purple and blonde and black. Sitting across from me.”
She is taken aback. “Hey, I’m supposed to do the flirting, remember?” Chelsea pauses. “That was sweet.” Now she is blushing. There is an uncomfortable silence. Where do we go?
“It was an image. Popped into a poet’s brain. Habit.” I shake my head. “Look it, Chelsea,” I say, cupping one of her hands in mine. “My back was to you as you came through the door to the meeting tonight, but I felt something when you walked in. Something. I don’t know what. I’ve become more attuned to shit like that. I’m just a middle-aged man wondering if a pretty woman would find him attractive. That’s all. For now. I suppose I should just get a Vette or a Harley. Work my angst off with speed, do a Gary Busey and wrap myself around a light pole. Shall we go?” She nods yes. I help her with her coat.
“You’re the first man to do that,” she says, turning to me.
“Men think they’re being so chivalrous or something helping a woman put on her coat. But they always hold it at their height—a woman’s got to dislocate her shoulders to try to get her arms through the sleeves. You held it at my height. That shows a man who thinks about who he’s with.” She pauses, and I remember that Karen taught me that. “You also pulled my hair from under the collar. That’s also sweet.” That”s my idea. She kisses me lightly on the cheek. avcılar escort “You really do like women, don’t you, Patrick?”
“Now you’re flirting with me!” I say.
“Oh,” Chelsea giggles, “do you mind?”
We walk back to the church to our cars. She unlocks hers and opens the door, stands by it. “Unzip your jacket, Patrick,” she orders. I stand there. My jacket? My jacket? Not waiting for her simple words to reach my brain, Chelsea unzips it for me and places her arms around my waist. She moves her hands to my ass and cups each cheek, pulling my hips against her. Then she reaches behind my head and pulls my lips to hers. She is pressing on the accelerator and I still have the emergency brake on!
“I’m not a good flirt with words, Patrick!” and she kisses me hard, her tongue deep within my mouth. I wrap my arms through her coat and around her waist and hold her tightly. She moans and hums a woman’s song of pleasure. I could kiss her like this until dawn. “Mmmm! That was very nice!” she says as she breaks. She pauses, looking down.
“How’d she die?” she asks.
“With the greatest grace,” I say, lifting her head and looking straight into her eyes. She has to know how much I loved Karen. She looks away, far away.
“They talk a lot about grace in AA. I don’t understand it. I thought grace was something you said before dinner. I’ve only been clean six months,” she says, getting into her car. “Write me a poem. Please! About me. For me. To me. You said you’re a poet, right? Be my poet. Bring it next week. I’ll be back at St. Nick’s! 6:30.”
She speeds off. The words “Be my poet!” ring in my ears. I’m not the Hallmark kind, Chelsea. Don’t raise your hopes.
I have a week to write a poem to—for—about—a woman I have spent twenty minutes with! A woman who is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict and who works in an adult bookstore. A half-year sober. Who wears nice clothes. A little edgy. Boots. Butterfly.
chelsea in the morning
through the window
like dawn’s breeze you flutter
your violet, icy-black wings
past billowing lace curtains
the morning air puckers my skin
i am wrapped in green sheets like the bud of a dahlia
ripe with sugar & color
awaiting the sun’s shine
through the window
you nip at me
from evolution & a plant’s desire to open
to become splendor
to become nectar for a butterfly
at the sun’s rise
I print it out and fold it and place it in my jacket pocket. It is full of her vagueness and my desires, but the best I can do. She does not show up the next Monday. I am crestfallen. I stop by the Grown-ups Gallery and ask for her. They’ve never had an employee named Chelsea, at least as long as they can remember. What the fuck?
She does not appear the next Monday. I am pissed. Two more Mondays go by and I am broken-hearted. This is what a man does. An alkie man. A woman kisses him and he thinks she is his. “I wrote her the poem she wanted!” I yell to myself. “Fuck the bitch!” I remind myself of her left hand.
I cannot ask about her. I can’t go up to Mary and ask her where the fuck Chelsea is! I nearly do, but don’t. I had ten years of sobriety when Karen died, and then I lost everything I fucking had—her grace and my serenity. I am only three months sober—two fucking years of drinking, using her death as my excuse. I am supposed to be working on my recovery, so why should I be interested in a married woman who showed up once for a meeting? That is why Cal wants to tie my sorry ass to the back of a landing 747. “What the fuck are you doing?” he says. “How many chances do you think are going to come your way?”
I keep carrying the poem in my coat pocket. It’s getting dirty, worn, fingered from reaching for it, ready to hand it to her. It is not even a good poem, but it is what I could give to her.
She shows up. She looks like shit—she’s been using, is my first thought, but that is unkind. Bad day, week, month—who knows? “Fuck her,” I first think to myself. “Cut her some slack,” I then think to myself. I have begun to sit where she first did, at the end of the table. She touches my arm, but does not look at me. “Hello, Patrick,” she says through some sniffles.
Before the meeting gets underway, I slip her the poem. She holds it in her hands.
I lean forward, elbows on knees. “Toss it. Read it and toss it. You asked for it. There it is. Now it’s yours. Do whatever you want with it. It was mine. Now it’s yours. Wipe your ass with it! I don’t fucking care!” She shoots me a hurt look. I know I sound petty and pissed, wanting her to know it. She gets up and leaves the room, coat and all.
“Hi, everyone. Welcome to the …”
I hear her walk in the hallway, her boots tapping the marble floor. Silence. Long silence. Paper crumpling. I hear her walk up the stairs and the outside door closing shut. I once heard that Pablo Neruda would write poems on paper, fold them into little boat shapes, place them avrupa yakası escort in a stream, and watch them float away. I understand that. Now. Chelsea is my stream. My poem has floated away. Into the ocean of the night.
I look up and see Cal across the table. I have lost sponsor points big time. “No relationships the first year. Focus on your recovery, not cunt! That will come. When you’re fucking ready. Or maybe not! God’s will. Or not!” My ears are ringing. I’ve just given myself my own lecture. But I want her. I want Karen back, but I want Chelsea. I need to recover AND have a woman with me. Recovery is like any trip–it is nice to have someone along for the ride. Together, we don’t have a year! Probably not a chance, either.
“Scared her away, huh? First with your drool and then with your words!” Cal says to me after the meeting. “Jim Beam rotted your fucking charm, Buddy, if you ever had any! A lot of the time, we get only one Karen in our lives.”
“Fucking fuck you!” I shout at him in the parking lot. “I ain’t looking for another Karen! That ain’t fair to Chelsea or me or especially Karen!” I have never placed my head against another man’s chest, but I do against Cal’s. I silently weep. He hugs me.
“Don’t think with your dick. Don’t think with your heart. And under no circumstances think with your brain!” he says. “Pray. Listen. Trust. Pray for guidance. Listen for God’s answer—not your fucking answer. Trust what you hear.”
“I’m sorry, man!” I say.
“Yeah, Pat. Call me anytime.”
I get into my car and feel as clueless as George Bush, either one.
I drive around a little, to clear my head and think. I can’t do that in my house. Our house. It is too full of our voices. No, Cal told me not to do that—that thinking shit. Suddenly, I realize I am in downtown Chicago, near Navy Pier. It was once the worst of Chicago’s eyesores. Now a gleaming park, filled with rides, IMAX, boat tours, a grand ballroom…and mimes. God, I hate mimes! I park and shut off the car, close my eyes. “Lord, just a little of what you gave her,” I pray. Silence.
There’s a tap-tap at my window. Cops, I first think. I look to my left. It is Chelsea. Chelsea?! I open the door.
“Can I take my poet for a ride on the Ferris wheel?” she asks, a huge smile on her face, now radiant. Shit, I hate heights! At first, I think “Fuck you, bitch! Do you know what you put me through?!” Then I realize she just followed me for 20 miles not knowing where I was going or what I might do.
“I’ll go on any ride you want!” Oh, God. “This is grace?” I ask myself.
We’re alone in a Ferris wheel car that seats six. I am ecstatic to see her next to me, but I’m also pissed and confused. Wasn’t that a Led Zepplin song. No, dazed. Whatever.
“I can’t believe you followed me, Chelsea,” I say. “Now, tell me about the lies.”
“You went to the Grown-ups Gallery, huh?” she asks. I nod yes.
“Well, why the hell should I tell a man I just met where I work? Does the word stalker mean anything, Patrick?” She’s got me.
“What about showing up the next week, then? You asked me to write a poem. ‘Oh, I’ll be there next week.’ Then you don’t show up for a month.”
“That wasn’t a lie. I meant to!”
“But you didn’t.” I’m being hard on her. I don’t know why.
“It’s a beautiful poem, Patrick,” she says. “It’s the most beautiful present I’ve ever gotten. I love being your butterfly!” She puts one arm over my back and one across me to my shoulder.
The car moves up and we are at 90 degrees, maybe a hundred feet from the ground. When I look straight out at this incredible city, I’m okay. I then look straight down. Who are those ants, anyway? The next part of the ride is over for me! Images of Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo flash through my mind, and I half expect Kim Novak to sail past my eyes.
I kiss her. I have been wanting to be a man kissing a woman for so long. She seems to melt in my arms, or I melt into hers. The car lurches as the ride stops to let the next riders on, my tongue plunging deeper into Chelsea’s mouth. She reaches under my coat and pulls my body to hers. We extend our legs in this kiss and begin to grind against each other on the bench.
“In some parts of the world, butterflies are a delicacy, Chelsea.” I reach to her pants and tug at the button of her jeans. I zip them down. I kneel on the floor and begin pulling them off her. They are so tight, I must keep tugging. The car begins to sway. The more I tug, the more it sways.
Either the voice of God or the ride operator blurts out over loudspeakers, “Will the occupants of Car 12 please not rock their car!” Chelsea giggles a wonderful laugh.
“My boots, Patrick,” she continues to laugh. “You can’t get my pants off until you take the boots off!”
Sorry, Chelsea, I think. Haven’t given head in a Ferris wheel since…!
They’re off, and so are her jeans and panties. In the faint neon glow, I stare at her. Wet. So inviting. I am sorry, Karen. But you wouldn’t have let me do this to you. Not part of your style. I move my face to her and sense her warmth. No, it is heat and luscious, like freshly peeled tropical fruit. I lap her lightly and feel her body twitch. I explore her folds and love the richness of her response, her moans of delight, just as when we kissed in the parking lot of St. Nick’s.
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