Tuesday, August 30, 2005


gonetobm, originally uploaded by houdinisblind.

I won't have time to update this again, although I'll probably post something or other over on Midian before I leave.

Hope you guys all have a good weekend. I'll let you know when I get back.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Gwen 8: Natalie

It's time I backtrack a bit and tell you about Natalie.

She was a friend of Jamie's, and resided in Edmond (an hour's drive from Norman, half an hour from my new place in OKC) with a more-or-less punk rock crew of musicians and computer geeks. I'd met her and become friends with her during several small parties at Jamie's place, and by springtime she and I were hanging out regularly.

And hanging out was the operative term--she didn't appear to be attracted to me, and she wasn't exactly the type of girl I went for anyway; she was short and broad shouldered, with a bright red mohawk.

But there was something between us--dense as I am, I didn't notice it, even when she started acting weird (or getting quiet) whenever I talked about Gwen. It didn't occur to me that I wanted to kiss her until after she started seeing some idiot punker named Leslie, and I started getting little pangs of jealousy, despite the fact that I liked hanging out with him.

To complicate matters even FURTHER, Natalie worked with a cute little hippie chick named Becky. Becky had a crazy boyfriend named Alan, who was often out of town, and during those times Becky and Nat would hang out quite a bit.

So by the time I moved into that cavernous apartment across the street from work, I had a full-fledged crisis on my hands. Gwen had sort of slid to back of my mind, replaced with wondering a) how I was going to reconcile my previous ideas of attractiveness with the obvious attraction I felt for both linebacker-shaped Nat and lithe little Becky, and b) whether either one of them was interested in fooling around.

Then Becky mentioned in a conversation that Alan had beat up some dude who'd been "making time with her," so I dropped that idea. Natalie...well, before I had to do much hard thinking about whether I wanted to risk a friendship for what would have been my second piece of ass ever, Gwen called me.

I was a popular boy, then--I'd come out of the comatose state I'd been in, dropped ten pounds of fat, added ten pounds of muscle and five pounds of tan, and had money in my pocket. I was nineteen and supporting myself, reading, running a popular bulletin board (still only at night), and meeting for the first time people who didn't know or give a shit about my past. They were heady times.

But Gwen...we made a date for her to visit my place, which she did. I showed her the parts of the house Jim hadn't already fucked up (which at this early time was mostly his bedroom), including the fireplace, balcony, and closets. She really appeared to like the closets, for some reason, and before I knew what was going on, we were making out.

Now, boys and girls, in order to get through this with me, you'll have to think like you're in my position. Me making out with this girl (at that time the third girl I'd ever even had much physical contact with, period) was a lot like Elwood Blues making out with Lucy Liu. It's just funny, unless you're Lucy Liu, I imagine.

Anyway, it was a heavy session of petting, but pretty quickly she had to go and return her father's car. She was back at home (or still at home), but had to watch herself pretty carefully before some sort of post-high school science trip to Louisiana. There would be more of that discussed later, with her little head on my chest, her fingers tracing the midline of my belly...downward.

But as it happened, I didn't see her again for a couple weeks. Work was, for all its rejuvenating properties, a major drag on my social life--and in these days before cellphones, if I wasn't home (ie, if I was out with Natalie or Becky), I couldn't be reached. Shit, come to think of it, these were days before caller ID, at least for broke-ass lawn boys like me.

Eventually she came to the apartment again, on a Saturday morning, and essentially dragged me straight to my closet. She grabbed my long hair and pulled me down to the floor, where we did horizontally what we'd only done on our feet before. Soon both of us were sweating, and clothing began to come off. She became more shy the fewer clothes she had on, and eventually broke off a marathon kiss (which I was using to attempt to distract her from my inability (which continues to this day) to get her bra unhooked) to complain that it was "too bright in here."

Which it was. My closet actually had a window in it, and the June Oklahoma sun was enthusiastically beaming through it, effectively making the closet into a sauna.

I broached the topic of my "bed," which still consisted of a set of twin sheets stretched out on the floor in the next room...but she said she preferred Jim's closet. Which was pitch black.

[and, for those of you who know Jim, completely clean--it was only later that the funk started creeping from his bed, eventually to take over the entire upper floor. Well, almost.]

So the second girl I ever slept with I didn't actually see. The second girl ever to go down on me, I couldn't watch. It was weird--like fucking with a blindfold on, which is NOT something two novices should be trying to do, especially given her...limited experience. It hurt her, even when we tried slowly and gently, but she wouldn't let me go until it was over. For me, it seemed like everything I did was wrong--when I wasn't putting an elbow on her forearm, I was pinning her head to the floor by her lustrous black hair with my palm. Lips met teeth because we couldn't judge distance very well, and I'm sure her little ass was red from carpet fiber. I know my knees were.

Later, after dark, she consented to move from Jim's closet to my bed, where we talked and touched one another in a cautious mannter. I began to realize we didn't have anything in common at all, except a mutual lust which had been merely stunned by the difficulty we'd just experienced. Thus, even then, love was a bittersweet experience.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Gwen 7: Dropping Out

As I think I've told you before, somewhere, I decided to quit college in the spring of that year. I'd been talking to Beverly, and she had taken my situation to heart and done some looking around for me. This "looking" involved calling in a favor from one of the other businesses on the court in which her office was located, a landscaping company that owed her money.

Yes, I got this job in some sort of screwball financial nepotism deal. And given how little The Man likes to do things other people say, I'm quite sure he did his best in the first couple of weeks to get me to quit. That's in retrospect, of course. At the time I was too naive to understand that--I'd left school thinking that working for a living was going to be one of the hardest things one could do, so it never occurred to me that it might be easier getting a job as a car washer or something. Further, I don't think he appreciated how much of a corner I was backed into--the people at OU had said some pretty shitty things to me before I left, so I was determined to prove them wrong...

Anyway, I came up and interviewed for the job in April (actually, the day I turned 19), and was hired on the spot for a position starting a month away. I went back to Beverly's office and told her the good news. She said, "OK, so you've got a job. You have a place to stay?" Of course not.

"Well, let's see. Jim! Come in here, son!" In came the infamous Jim, the first time I ever laid eyes on that crazy son of a bitch. Fifteen minutes later we were driving around looking for an apartment together. Most places had better sense than to rent to us, but at the place directly across the street, the leasing manager had some weird repressed homo-erotic fixation on ponytails, so we squeezed through the leasing process and reported back to the woman I was coming to call "Mom" more and more easily.

And the dynamic was established for my relationship with Jim right there: Jim talks, I correct or append if necessary. In this case, it worked out pretty well for me because the first thing she said was "OK, you have an apartment. Do you have any money?"

The answer, of course, was "hell no." That's why I got a job...but she loaned us $300 buck each and sent us out to buy housewares.

A few days before the end of the semester, Jim rode to Norman to help me move my shit. Everything I owned fit in the back seat of my car. I didn't even use the trunk.

We moved into a HUGE condo in a pretty ratty apartment complex. Two bed, two bath, patio, fireplace, balcony. Bigger (or maybe as big) as my parents' house. And we couldn't fill it.

I remember spreading a fitted sheet on my bedroom floor and turning out the lights. The moon was full and coming through the vertical blinds that covered the balcony glass, and I laid there for an hour or so looking at the slashes of light on the floor. It was one of the first times I worried about whether I could actually do something. There was nobody there to pick me up, really--no school administrator/scholarship director to pull rank on college bureaucrats, no-one I could borrow money from if something bad happened, and definitely no-one I could talk to about it. This was probably the night of my first existential awakening, and it was bittersweet.

The next day I walked to work for the first time. It kicked my fucking ass. It kicked my ass for the next two weeks, til I finally crashed with the worst sunburn you've ever seen. After two days out sick, I was back at it. We were worked so hard the guy who was in charge of me quit due to the stress, so I spent a couple days doing jobs by myself. After a month, things were looking up. I had lost 15 pounds, but I was gaining it back as muscle, and felt some confidence that maybe I was strong enough to do this after all.