“Do you think you could satisfy me?” she asked. What a question! I had never dreamt someone would ever ask me that. It was certainly my intention, but I wasn’t going to say anything lame like, “I think so,” or anything along those lines. Who would say no? Perhaps she just meant to clarify the nature of our relationship. I’d only just met her, having stopped briefly in Manhattan, Kansas on a bicycle tour of the US. I first saw Marti talking to Bob as I came down the stairs of the community center that was putting up our little bike group. She looked up at me, and stopped talking. I took advantage of the moment to drink in her visage. She had a Mae West shape, if Mae West had been a brunette: curvy, substantial, intense. I liked her right away. I don’t however, interrupt people. Marti did that for me, asking, “Who is that?” Bob briefly introduced me as a member of the group. Of course, that would be obvious, deeply tanned as I was, wearing little more than sandals on the muscular legs sticking out of my cutoff jeans. I left the two of them talking, thinking I would probably never meet the woman again. Yes, I was wrong.
She showed up at a dinner for the group later that day, sponsored by the community center. She was getting food, so I walked over to her, and started filling a plate for myself.
“So, what brought you tonight?” I asked. (I’m not a brilliant conversationalist)
“Bob invited me.”
“Are you staying for any of the workshops?” I asked.
“No. I can’t, really. I’ve got a lot of studying to do tonight.”
“That’s too bad. I was hoping to get together with you. I, I’m really interested in you.”
“I could tell.”
“When can we see each other?”
“I told you I’m real busy.”
“What about tomorrow?” I asked.
“I’m still really busy.” I was disappointed, and must have looked it, because she said, “Well, I do have a little free time.”
“How about, say, one o’clock?”
“Would you mind meeting me at the Silver Mine? It’s a bar, if that’s alright?”
“I’ll be there.”
“OK,” she said, stuffing the last of her food in her mouth, “See you then.” She got up. “I’m sorry, but I really have to go now.”
I was disappointed. Did she really plan to show up? I wondered. Have I misread her?
I met her there outside that dark alcohol cave on that next gloriously sunny summer day. She seemed very nervous. She had dark glasses on. We went in. She said she didn’t really drink, but this was an out of the way place. She kept her glasses on. I asked her why she wanted to come there. She said she didn’t want anyone to see her. Why? She said it was a small town. Curious. We talked about life, pollution, and politics. I told bicycle stories. After we each drank a beer, and refilled our glasses, the conversation turned to casual sex. I love talking about sex, especially if that might make it happen. Marti asked if I believed in monogamy.
“Well, no,” I said. ” I think that if two people are attracted to each other, regardless of their other attachments, they should act on it.”
“Regardless of the consequences?”
“There are always consequences.”
“You know what I mean!”
I took a long sip of my beer and leaned back on the wooden bench. “As far as I’m concerned, there’s no problem. I mean, as long as you take precautions – you know – to prevent pregnancy, or disease.”
“And you would be willing to take such precautions?”
“Then I have another question.”
Marti leaned across the sticky formica table right up close to my face and asked that question. I wasn’t prepared for that question. What would anyone say to that, I thought, except, yes? But, who could know whether or not someone could be satisfied? Is she testing me? trying to see if I’m experienced? naive? or both? I told her: “Yes. I don’t see why not. But, why do you ask such a question?” I was not expecting anything like her answer.
“Because I don’t usually fuck men. My lover right now is a woman. Does that bother you?”
Thoughts caroomed from synapse to synapse through different banks of my memory, like the unrequited passion I’d felt for Bonnie, my best friend in college. She lived with her lover. We’d come close to having sex while stoned and drunk, but it had never happened. Marti’s sexual preference was no shock, but I felt like I’d been there before. “No,” I told her, “But, why do you want me then?”
“Well,” she said, “It’s been a long time since my last relationship with a man.” I was a little puzzled, but I accepted her story at face value. All the time, however, she was nervous, looking over her shoulder, and watching the door. The bar, I had discovered, was quite some distance from the University, and, from the looks of it, not frequented by students. “Do you live around here,” I asked.
“No, I live in the dorm,” she told me. I was impatient by then, so I said, “Well, let’s go.”
“No! I mean, not now. I, I have studying to do,” she said in a low voice, “Would you like to come over about seven?” She was smiling at me, nervously playing with her glass, and starting to get up. “Room 10,” she said, and stood up. I pushed the bench back to get up, but she said, “No. Why don’t you stay, and finish the beer?” We had ordered a pitcher. She turned and hustled out the door.
I hope I don’t just end up talking about sex with this woman, I thought.
I showed up at the dorm after dinner the next evening, and who is leaving the dorm but Bob? “Hey Bob, what are you doing around here?”
“Oh, hi Sean, he said, “I came to shower. They have plenty of hot water, soap and towels here.”
“Sounds great!” I said.
“Yeah, it is. Are you going for one?” he asked me.
“Of course. Catch ya later.” I said, leaving aside the reason why I might be there if I hadn’t known about the showers. Men are such doofuses. This was getting stranger. I knew Bob was here seeing Marti. Why hadn’t he said so? Why would he hide it? Was Marti up to something? Why the two men if she was gay? Were there other men too? I was very clear on why Marti wanted me to come by. Perhaps I was too late. I knocked on her door. No response. I knocked again. She answered. She opened the door, looked surprised to see me, and looked up and down the hallway, before pulling me in and locking the door.
“Why’d you do that?’ I asked.
“Well, we’re all pretty open here. People feel free to just wander in anytime.”
“Oh, yeah. I saw Bob leaving when I got here. Said he’d come for a shower.”
“You did? Yeah, he was here. There’s other showers, but I told him he could use mine.”
“He also wanted me to go out with him tonight.”
“What’d you say?”
“I told him I was too busy.”
“Hmmm. And how is your work going? Do you have time for me?”
“Of course, silly. I’ve been working all afternoon so that I’d have some free time.”
I smiled. I said, “Com’ere.” We kissed, for a delightfully long time. She pulled me onto the the bed. I kissed her face and neck and my hands roamed over her breasts and arms. I started to stroke her thigh and mound. She touched her hand to my crotch briefly. I guess she was checking to see if I was ready. Was I ever! She pushed me away then, gently, and got up. “Hold that thought,” she said, “I’ve got to do something.”
She popped into the tiny bathroom. She came out nude. I pulled my clothes off in an instant and joined her on the bed. I had brought my ‘precautions’ and started to unroll one. “No. Don’t. I already took care of it.”
“Then why did you ask…?” She put her finger on my lips. Sometimes I don’t know when to shut up. ” It doesn’t matter,” she said, “Fuck me.”
Her body was taut but smooth. She was amazingly responsive and excitable. I’d never known a woman to seem so surprised when I entered her. She moaned right away. I wasn’t all that much of a Don Juan, but she really, really, seemed to like it. I worried, for a moment, that her moans and yells would bring someone to the door. She seemed to enjoy every second, thrusting up at me, and rotating her hips. I didn’t ever want to stop, but eventually I had to, after the most intense orgasm I’d ever experienced. I decided that I would never need to get stoned ever again. This was way better, beyond compare.
We separated for a few minutes, to cool down in the hot July evening, and then I snuggled up to her, thinking about later, thinking about sleeping in a soft bed with a soft woman.
“Sean,” she said, “You can’t stay.”
“”Why?” I asked.
“Oh, Sean, I’d like you to, but it’s just not a good idea. I could get into serious trouble.”
“You’re a grown woman. Surely you can do as you want?”
“Not here, I’m afraid. This University is pretty liberal, but not that liberal. This isn’t California.” I felt myself take offense. “I’m not from California,” I said.
“Where are you from, anyway?”
“Baltimore, Maryland, originally.”
“Really! I’m from Annapolis – you know, the Naval Academy, and all that.”
“You a Navy brat?” I asked.
“Yeah, sure am. I’ll be going back there too.”
“Well I still have to write my thesis. I’ll be doing some research in New York first, but I’ll be going home in December.” I started thinking I might want to head east. “Sometimes,” I said, “I think I’d like to live on the Eastern Shore. It’s so beautiful there. I’d like to get a boat so I could crab and fish and sail.”
“Have you been to Annapolis?” she asked me.
“Just briefly, when I was in the Scouts. It’s a nice looking place.”
“I’d love to show you around. You could even stay with me.”
“I’d like that.”
“I’ll send you my address and phone number in New York. Call me when you get to the coast.”
That was that. Unfortunately, my bicycle group was leaving town in the morning. We were on a schedule.
I saw her again, one night about a year or so later, when I happened to be in New York. We had written to each other a little, and she was very surprised to see me, but just as nervous as before. She indicated she was ‘with’ someone. I told her I had just wanted to see her. That seemed to make her even more nervous. She told me I could stay at her place overnight. She didn’t. Horndog that I was, I had been hopeful. She asked me not to answer the phone. I gave her a number where she could contact me next day. She rushed off. I never heard from her. She never wrote again either. Perhaps I hadn’t lived up to her image of me from that one encounter? That was OK, since I was in love with the woman I lived with in Albuquerque.