this was a contribution to a collection of sexy portland stories. characters marginally based on people I knew (in a Biblical sense or otherwise)…

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For our meeting I chose a bar within walking distance to my house in case I needed to get back there quickly, efficiently, and without police interference.  It started to rain as we munched on greasy bar food and I grilled my brain, trying to cook up more topics for conversation in order to avoid the uncomfortable silence that occurs during a dreadful mismatch.

I went on this, and subsequent boring dates, in hopes of calming my own ardor a little. I’d been spending time with a bass player I began touching moments after meeting him. His smell, or something, bypassed my conscious altogether; climbed right on over any pretense of shyness I might claim and announced my status as “woman in her prime”.

I loved him dearly though I believed only half of what he said and considered the rest a product of a vivid and beautiful imagination. We came together like vinegar and baking soda; whatever he said, as soon as he went down on me I ceased to care. He was kinky, too – what I got to do to him was just as arousing. I came so easily with him that I started holding back, done in by the minutes-long toe curlers that did not abate, left wet spots on the bed and me awash in hormones for days on end. The more I got and gave it like that the more I wanted it; unleashing that on one person could only serve to terrify.  Thus, what I referred to as ‘diffusion dating’ began.

In the beginning this plan mostly backfired.  My boring first date at the bar a few blocks from my house offered a ride home. I agreed, giving him a wide, toothy grin as I got out of his Subaru and ran upstairs to freshen up, then ran off to the bass player’s house.  I arrived on his doorstep around 11pm and a few hours later we fell asleep in each other’s arms. I woke up the next morning as bad off as I ever was.  Worse.

The first real, heady distraction, and the first addition to my band, came in the form of a tiny patched-up anarchist who maybe not so ironically wore dickies boxer briefs and played guitar. She was a delightfully masculine pixie of a woman; I got horny as we sat next to each other and talked in that bar just a few blocks from my house and decided to explore it the only way that made sense. I moved a little closer to her. When I saw her shake I seduced her.

At home, our sticky thighs intertwined and breasts squashed into each other. I left my underwear on simply for the (oft-repeated) visual of her little hand sliding down into them. She had hers on, too, those white dickies, but when I reached for her she moved away, sat up and, all serious, asked if she could enter me.

I gave myself up for that one. Holy genderfuck. It was physically and psychically demanding and the first time I ever ejaculated, and as the penetrated one in this particular alliance I amazed myself with the very ‘maleness’ of my response to the way we were around each other afterwards – women were too intense. I ran in terror, hurt her feelings, and moved on immediately.

Until she left town late that summer I’d see her hanging out in front of a neighborhood coffee shop smoking or playing guitar. Every once in a while I’d join her, smiling sheepishly as I got a drink and sat down.  Then I’d sit too close to her for too long and we’d begin to stare intently, mouths falling open, eventually getting to my place where she’d kneel between my legs in her white dickies. After a while I’d soak my sheets and her face and then I had to avoid her for weeks all over again.

I decided to expand the band.  I met a singer at one of the bass player’s gigs. He was ten years younger than me. We stood outside the bar and smoked a bowl, then he looked at me and sang a song about sexual tension. I felt it in my pants, and the braless tank top on a balmy summer night hid none of the rest of his effect.

I harbored just enough concern about our age difference that I asked the universe for some advice – I’d grown accustomed to the dexterity of lesbians and kinkier, older men and had a clearly-defined path to getting where I could go. Would I scare the shit out of him? Oh, blessed experience, it was up to me to get what I wanted from this one.  I undressed and presented myself to him as an instrument, capable of perfect response in the hands of a skilled musician. I showed him how to play my notes and he played them back to me, adding some of his own finesse, and I loved him for it, loved myself all the more for being okay to drive.

I’m not claiming it’s the most creative of analogies – the music and sex thing is time worn and common but clichés are that way because somewhere in their past they were actually, truly defined. For some, it is hard not to attribute the effect music has on them to the person who’s making the music itself. A musician takes a thing and makes it elicit sound.  He does this, mostly, with his hands and his lips. The instrument she plays gives hint as to where she will display grace elsewhere – stamina and ability to keep a rhythm, the way her fingers stroke the keys and pluck the strings, how the pelvis moves or the lips blow notes or the way he sings, if he starts at a whisper and ends at a deep, soul-wrenching wail…  It’s all there in the music.

My multi-instrumental fantasies included horn sections, hand percussion, maybe even a cello or a theramin player. Reality spoke a slightly less extravagant truth.  To have a good solid band I still needed a drummer, at least, or maybe a horn or two, but my plan to spread the energy amongst several wasn’t working; suddenly it seemed I had no time to myself. I wanted them all terribly, and less.

The universe and I collaborated. The singer lived in a different world I stepped into now and again, . I spent a lot of time with the bass player and stopped going to the coffee shop altogether.

“It’s okay if we’re flakes,” he told me one night as we avoided a social event.  “We’re allowed to be flakes right now.”

We stayed home and fucked a lot, snacked and watched movies in bed. Whatever it was we were doing, it was fun and comfortable and undefined. When the word “love” did enter the picture it was in the same sentence as “jumping off a precipice”.

Happy doom, one or both of us secretly invoked it – bittersweet love never went out of style for storytellers.  It was romantic and kept us nailed to the present, ever aware that both of us had things that were more important to us than each other, but the love was nonetheless bliss. It was unsustainable if it went by anyone else’s definition but ours.  It was also a lot of body fluids and steamy afternoon quickies.   Oh, sweet edge, how I clung to it.

Eventually I got tired. I begged more assistance from the universe and awaited response. The bass player went on tour. Then the singer did.  I returned to the coffee shop thinking maybe a few guitar riffs might do me some good but she’d found someone new, someone who was less of an asshole.

I started to feel alone in the middle of a bunch of people I knew, packed up the truck and left town for a while. I headed south toward the sunshine, wondering what Austin , Texas might be like. I knew a singer there…

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