All My Best Wishes
Volume One: The Prequel
She came down once, about eight months after we’d broken up, just to visit. She was planning to sleep on my couch, however, and I was left to speculate on what exactly that implied. From what I’d understood in the friendly e-mails we’d been sending back-and-forth since, she had been as unlucky in her attempts at romantic conquest as I. Did that mean that this trip was a “booty call”? Worse yet, was she trying to rekindle the dull spark I’d alluded to in a few drunken messages and recreate the tepid flames we’d once had?
At heart, assuming that she was looking at sharing a mattress for whatever reason and had only used the couch gag as a pleasantry, I’m sure that it would mostly be to meet a challenge and boost her self-esteem. She was one of the two people I’d let in on the month-long vow of celibacy I was currently suffering through. The month, of course, was just a start. When I’d told her, I was very new to the whole thing and still had visions of myself joining a monastery. I let it slip only in a weak moment of extreme frustration, when I was hoping she’d feel intensely sorry for me. Sorry enough, at least, to send a healing friend with large breasts that I could fall in love with after the idea of cloistering myself fell out of favor.
The idea of monastic life had indeed done largely just that, which in hindsight was predictable. I was raised a fairly secular Methodist and was now far from Christianity in general and ignorant when Catholicism was put on the table. Like Morrisey before me, I’d fallen under the spell of Kerouac’s “Pretty Girls Make Graves” mantra and, during the first rough week, had gotten a little out of hand while Googling the area’s monastic life. Since then, I’d had shifting ideas of hermatism, Shaolin Kung-Fu and simple self-discipline but had not really came to any decision other than that, because I wasn’t getting laid anyway and because masturbation had become the most depressing and tedious—rather than enjoyable and imaginative—part of my day, I was going to keep with the basic structure of things.
As I pondered her arrival I was plagued with the thoughts of my aching lower body and whether this was even physiologically good for me—I already knew it had been ravaging me psychologically, but only had internet access at work, and was too afraid to investigate the dangers of my regimen lest prying eyes begin asking questions. Like any good addict in the throes of withdrawal, I already had a relapse plan. Because things had already gone so far, I figured I should at least use this build-up to make a little extra cash by selling this extra-potent, high-quality shot I had built up in my nether regions. Unfortunately, this was secretly only a Plan B, a fact I tried to keep hidden even from myself. I, of course, would want my relapse to be impromptu, would want to meet up with one of the intellectual beauties from my past, whom I’d loved and fallen short of, allowing one thing to lead to another. Either way was unlikely to turn out as I’d had all planned in my mind: the former would require another taboo internet search and much more foresight than I was accustomed to and the latter was both unlikely to happen and likely to be awkward if it had, with her wondering why I’d put a brim-full condom in the freezer after our intimate moment. Plan C, what I really tried to keep in the back of my mind but which kept jumping to the front as the scenario that would probably play out, was that I’d lose all self-control one morning upon awaking with a hard-on and allow the dream that had caused the unsightly thing to run all over my previously sacred domain.
It was for this reason that I was pondering the (possible) conundrum I was in. At moments I was wishing it was a booty call, and I made hasty plans to find and patronize a sperm bank in order to have the best of all possible worlds—money, free porn and later satisfying sex. The possibility that she’d be around after the loss of my second virginity—for dinners, movies, etc.—quickly soured the perfection of this plan, but then brought about confusion. A big reason why I did not want her hanging around is because of the ennui I felt when we were together and I was sober. I’m sure things had not changed that great, and was sure that I would not be sans beer all night, which led me to question my trust in my natural inhibitions. No matter how plutonic I tried to come off, this would easily melt away with even casual drinks over dinner. If I were to go about things with the best intentions and fail, I ran the risk of exploding this baby-potent seed all up in her. I had never used a condom with her, was not interested in doing so, and for this reason would not inquire as to whether she was still on birth control, for fear she would reply negatively and force me to shoulder any guilt.
I had a poster, made hastily on a yellow pad in red and blue ink one very frustrated night, expressing to the world that I either liked the Smiths song named after Kerouac, the band named after the song, or was really crazily celibate, hanging prominently in my apartment, and was hoping that this, combined with whatever will power I still had left after drinking and talking and, mostly, remembering how good this girl had looked naked, all night would allow me to keep the vow I’d already spent so many restless nights and days pained, testicle ache shooting down my legs, and holding fast to—I was going to stay king of the castle until she got there and hope to be when she left.
Volume Two: The Present
I had the apartment clean, and now it was time to wait. I always had to wait, and I’m not sure if that was one of the things I loved or hated about her. She arrived, and I greeted her with a “Hello,” a hug and a mixed idea about whether a kiss hello was in order—I chose against it.
I answered her return “Hello” with “How have you been?” not knowing whether I’d get a “Good!”, “Fine”, etc. or a story.
She began telling me how her life had been recently before I had a chance to invite her out of the entryway and into the apartment proper—“Well, it’s been a fairly good winter so far. I told you I had switched waitressing jobs, didn’t I?”
Before I could respond, she had already gone on: “I’m in downtown Madison now. The tips are a lot better—we get all the trendy assholes that buy seven dollar beers and leave the remainder of a ten, but the daily drive in from the suburbs is getting pretty monotonous. My friend said that I could live in her place when one of her roommates moves out next month, but my parents don’t want me to, and they’re still paying for my health insurance, so I’ll probably keep living there and saving up until they cut me off.”
I gave her an unenthusiastic “That sounds fun”—my standard choice for stories ranging from Disney World to a dentist appointment—and could tell she was looking for something more. I didn’t know what, however, and stared blankly into her brown eyes.
“Well, how’s your life going?,” came her cue.
Pretty well,” I began, before realizing we were still awkwardly standing in the entryway. “Why don’t you come in and have a seat? Do you want anything to drink? Beer? Water? I may have some milk that hasn’t expired.”
“No, I’m fine.”
“Well, I’m going to get a beer.” I shouldn’t have underestimated my social anxiety and need for alcohol. “You aren’t going to make me feel like I’ve got a problem by not joining me, are you?”
“I guess I’ll have one. What exactly are you doing now? I know you told me you’d been promoted, but I don’t really remember.”
“I’m the Unit Supervisor. I supervise the unit. How was the drive down?” Why did she always have to pry into my personal life like that?
“It was fine. I took the highway all the way, though, I wasn’t sure if the back roads would be icy or not.”
“It’s been almost a full year since I’ve driven up there, hasn’t it? I always liked it better when you came down anyway.”
“I liked it better too. You were always so weird around my parents.” I handed her a beer and she, after checking the label to see that I’d remembered her love of Shiner Blonde and tracked it down for her, took a drink. “The only bad thing was that there’s never anything to do down here. We always just hung out with your loser friends, who I think were a little freaked out by me.”
“I think they were more freaked out by the fact that I was having regular sex with a pretty girl.” She had started up a lot of conversation points in that short monologue—something I could never do—but luckily I was good at extinguishing them. “And who could blame me for not wanting to hang around your parents? They were so suburban and straight. Your mom was so nice that I’m sure she was judging me in silence, especially when I was in the Jesus phase of hair growth. I could tell your dad was feeling my pain, but then he’d dart off by himself to watch TV.” How had she gotten me started in on this inane, conversational crap? She was good. “And speaking of nothing to do, did you want to get some dinner?”
“I don’t want to go to Taco Bell,” she replied, remembering my secret pleasure I’d always make me drag her to during the period I’d spent without a car.
“Well, I don’t want to go to Applebee’s!” I countered, remembering the one and only time she’d made me go there, when I ended up with a steak I could barely choke down because I knew that I could have prepared it more appetizingly.
We settled on Mexican, neutral ground, where she could easily get something without red meat (or pork, which we constantly argued over because she insisted it was red and I cited the commercials to prove my point).
At the restaurant, we fell back into couple mode, which was always an odd experience for us. We got a table, I ordered a beer, and she immediately went to her old methods of cautious prodding.
“You’re not going to get drunk tonight and say a bunch of things you don’t remember in the morning, are you?” came the first jab, obviously recalling the typical Friday night when we were an item.
“Take it easy! This is only my third beer, and you’re driving. Plus, I’m not going to talk about getting married, or whatever I used to say—you never let me in on all of it. We’re not going out, so you could shut me down pretty easily. You are the one who broke things off, remember? You’re too smart to fall for that, unless you miss that and are staying at my place to get another dose.” I half-joked, glad to finally get this monologue out and plant the seed for any monkey-business that was running through her brain, even if I had no plans to act on them but merely wanted to get some revenge by subtle seduction and subsequent rejection.
“You got me! I missed your drunken rants against the middle class and offers to impregnate me and take the child off to some cabin to brainwash him as the perfect revolutionary,” she shot back.
“Those were the days. I’ve really mellowed out now, which is disappointing when I look back on it. Having a job that doesn’t require you to slave away in a smelly cheese factory will do that to a person,” I reminisced.
“At least you were honest when you were drunk. You weren’t always hiding something. I think I’ve learned more about you from our e-mails of the past eight months than I did in two years of talking to you sober.”
I was about to launch into an even longer monologue than the last regarding my insecurity with formulating things when speaking when we were interrupted by the waiter. I ordered another beer and got a glance that signaled the previous conversation was over.
Little was said during the meal other than casual questioning on the quality of the food, and when the check came she instinctively picked it up. During the time we had been together, she had made a little more than me, it’s true , but she also got a lot of freebies—gas, groceries, fast food—from her parents that I had not, and so she largely always picked up the check. She played this trick well, however, and while she picked up the ten-dollar Culver’s bills I was stuck with the bigger “occasion” date bills from higher-scale places. Now that I made more than her, or was at least pretty sure that I did, I wanted to show off, and told her I’d take care of things.
“That’s okay, I’ve got it,” was all she said at first.
“It’s fine. I’m on salary now, remember? I can afford to treat a friend from time to time,” I returned boastfully.
“I know, but I’m not doing bad for myself and I still live with my parents. Plus, I owe it to you for letting me spend the night. It’s the least I could do for a friend,” she shot back, killing the chance of bragging I had hoped for and severely wounding the chance of sex I was beginning, with every sip of beer, to hope for.
After she’d paid, she returned to her old methods of complaining. “Well, what can we do now? Has anything fun popped up in this town in the last eight months?”
“Did you think something fun would pop up just because you were coming down? It’s pretty much the exact same situation as the last time you were here.”
“You should be entertaining me. Think of something while you smoke. I’m going to warm up the car.”
“I’ll join you.” Finally something to brag about, even if it would make for car-warming illness at ease.
“You quit smoking? When did you do that,” she stated in a way that I could tell was getting her a little more interested in what I’d been thinking about—more heavily since she’d gone to the bathroom and I’d pictured her peeing—even if she sounded skeptical.
“Right after you dumped me, pretty much. You were my motivation—or at least the fact that I’d again be on the market was.”
“So how’d that work out for you,” was the venom shot in my direction, know full well from our correspondence just how well it had gone.
While we sat in her mother’s cold station wagon—lent to her during all long trips—I rattled off the short list of ideas I had: “There’s the movies, or they always have live music Fridays at the Pit—we could check that out.”
“What movies are in?”
“Nothing I’d want to see. Let’s go check out the tunes,” I suggested, knowing at least that there’d be beer there. “If it’s no good, I just bought The Darjeeling Limited,” I quickly added, hoping that she wouldn’t catch on to the fact that I had given up completely on sobriety for the night and didn’t want to sit for two hours in a room where drinks were not served, and that she would be impressed that I’d remembered our mutual love of Wes Anderson.
“Have you even seen that movie? You always buy movies. Why are you so afraid of renting?” It had worked.
“First of all, I know that I’m going to like it and watch it at least a second time. I don’t even get his movies until at least the second viewing. Secondly, I never get around to watching movies I rent and always either spend money to not watch it or pay late fees for what I could just purchase. I used a gift card I got to Wal-Mart as a Christmas bonus to buy it, anyway.”
“Wal-Mart! Why don’t you get a job where the company doesn’t support Wal-Mart?” Good god! Is there anything that will make this bitch happy?
“I’m actually thinking about skipping the middle man and just working for Wal-Mart,” I jabbed, wanting to end the conversation and proceed to the bar, as I had often done when we were dating and I grew tired of her pseudo-environmentalist attitude.
The bar sucked, as I knew it would, but it gave me another chance to impress her, as she was very predictable when it came to beer.
“What do you want?” I asked, knowing that the response would be “I don’t care, whatever you’re having.”
I ordered two Berghoff Pilsners, a beer that was neither working class enough (as PBR was) nor expensive enough (as eight dollar-a-bottle Trappist ales were) to be popular in Madison. The music was too loud to engage in conversation, other than my asking her how the beer was and getting a positive response.
As I was about to get my second beer, the crowd started going wild with the “Da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-da-dun-dun-da!” opening of Big and Rich’s magnum opus and I insisted we leave, which she agreed to easily, as she had thought the whole setup of this bar was pedestrian, as soon as I had left a sizable tip—“Waitresses have to look out for each other,” of course.
When we got back to my place, and I got her to grudgingly accept another beer, we sat on the couch, popped the movie in, and I let the beers take liberty with how comfortable our bodies got together.
“What are you doing?” was her initial response when I spread a blanket atop us and began to cuddle a bit.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I just figured you’d be cold. I know you like it a lot warmer than I do,” was my answer, both as a way to focus attention on the blanket rather than the body action and to remind her of how sweet I was to her at one time.
I got up for two more beers during the night—with my mind fully on the fact that I knew neither what was going on “down there,” but that I wanted to numb things as much as possible for potential sex, nor what was going on between us—and she had her fourth of the evening as I was finishing my seventh. Each time I got up and returned I moved in a little more, the last time convincing her to move enough to allow me full spooning privileges.
“What’s going on?” she giggles, sensing the erection was working through the alcohol to stand at full attention.
“You know what I’ve been going through. I have no control anymore of what happens in my pants,” I was luckily able to retort, reminding her of my vow, which I don’t know if she was taking seriously or not.
Fuck! I think that was the wrong thing to say. I may have just ruined all of my attempts.
I pondered for a while whether she wanted to go through with things, whether I really even wanted to, outside of the booze. I could go for it, and risk rejection, or I could convince myself not to, risking the fact that she would get into one of her rare, but irresistible, aggressive modes, which would lead to me losing everything voluntarily.
I’ve got to find out what’s going on. If I just start kissing her on her neck, in her favorite spot—right where her ear and jaw met, I’ll know. If things don’t turn out well, I can feign sleepiness and go to bed still (mostly) pure.
I kissed her on the neck, and received only more giggles.
How do I read that? She used to laugh at me all the time when we were making out, and I could never tell whether she was ticklish or I was pathetic.
I decided, mainly because I was drunk by this time and wanted to err on the side of grabbing her boobs, to take it up a notch. I traced the top of her jeans with my index finger a few times, back-and-forth, and once, when I hit the belt buckle, looped up and made a circle around her belly button.
Oh God! That stomach! I forgot all about that. The thin, soft layer she had covering the flat muscle that I had spent hours, probably, in total, kissing.
When she noticed what was going on and turned her head, I was ready, kissing her softly just on the left side of her lips and waiting for some response.
I got a deep stare, and for a while we lay like that, gazing into each others’ eyes, although I still couldn’t read whether she was gazing lovingly or just debating in her head the options, so I let the beer make my decision and kissed her again.
Making out had always been great with her, for me at least. I knew she was fully into it, as opposed to the odd vibe she gave off during sex, which I had my doubts about the whole two years we were together.
At this point I was unsure if she was taking the aggressor role, and unsure really of whether she ever had, but, either way, it was irresistible. Because of the position my left hand was in, I had two options: work the button of her jeans or continue exploring the abs I had missed so dearly during the time we’d been apart. Because the right was in a good position to move up the small of her back, the left was directed down, where I could gain access to the predictable cotton panties and maybe a brush against the clit.
The soft hairs, the worn cotton panties—I am the cause of this, not her. I’m not too drunk, am I? She’s not too drunk, is she? This can’t be date rape, can it?
My thoughts were answered as my lips, which my brain had neglected instructing when it became busy ordering around my hands, were met with a hard kiss.
This is it!
I could feel the erection throughout my whole abdomen—this was the first time in a while I’d been this stirred up.
Fuck it! Fuck spiritual enlightenment, fuck Jack Kerouac, fuck the sign, fuck the fact that I’m giving it all up for a one-night stand, fuck her, get her pregnant if you have to but FUCK!
My adrenaline-fueled right hand quickly pulled her shirt over her head in one quick motion while my left hand moved up to get the brassiere out of the way.
Tits! I forgot how much I loved these tits; it’s been so long since I’ve seen them. I want those little nipples in my mouth!
I was in it to win it now, and I overlooked the fact that she hadn’t been working on my clothes at all—I was still fully dressed when, looking to her for assistance in taking off her jeans (an area I’d always struggled with) I saw the disappointment in her eyes.
“Maybe we shouldn’t do this.”
That Bitch! All my careful planning! God damn my balls were going to hurt in the morning!