A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
I was hilariously pretty, awkwardly pretty, not easy to recognize pretty. I felt lame wearing dresses. Dresses—an advertisement for comedy.
I had his phone number, the guy from the A.A. meeting. I held it in my hands. I was terrible on the phone, but he would never call me. He said he couldn’t approach women. It was up to me.
Pressing the numbers, my fingertips burned. I choked up. What would his ring tone sound like? What would he think to hear my voice? I hated my serious voice. I hated too much of me.
“Hellooo?” a voice said, his whiskery voice.
“Hellooo!” I said. Then I worried I had mimicked his accent. What kind of accent was it?
“Is this Hubert?” I asked. Of course it was Hubert.
“Yes, this is Hubert,” the voice said. Uncertain.
“Hi, Hubert. This is Ginger. From AA? I just called to say that if you ever want to get pizza, or hang around or anything, I mean, we could maybe do that sometime, but only if you’re into it? I mean, we talked about it at the last Friday night downtown meeting, and you said to follow up, and so I am following up. And stuff.”
I sounded desperate. Not easy-breezy. A serious idiot. A woman who could not get a man to even look at her shoes.
“Oh, yeah, right uh… You are Ginger, the girl with…the girl from the evening meetings?” he said.
I could tell he was thinking Ginger with the limp.
There was a very pretty girl who showed up nearly every meeting. She had a limp, but I was Ginger and she was Ginny. Or something.
“Yes, I do have a slight limp from a childhood skiing accident,” I lied.
“It’s hardly noticeable, Ginger,” he said.
It didn’t seem to matter that I was not the skier. We had dinner, talked about stupid things, went to his place—and had amazing sex. Ex-drinkers really were something else, especially young ones.
Now I was staring at the clock on his wall. I needed to be jogging, or shopping, or eating the right forms of protein, or calling my mother to check in. It was nearly noon.
“Don’t pay any attention to that clock there.”
“I won’t!” I said. I knew I had eye makeup smeared all over, in zig-zaggy shapes beneath my eyes. I hoped it might appear Goth or ocean-swept or something. It was morning, nearly noon, and Hubert’s hard-on was so fierce I gulped.
“Something is… oh… wide awake!” he grinned. He pawed at my right hand as though it were a baby bunny. He stroked each of my fingers, slowly gliding them, like a Ouija board, toward his erection.
“Goodness! Where are your manners! Before coffee?” I removed my hand. How much younger was he? Ten, eleven years? More? No way. Not more.
“And someone needs to brush his teeth!” A caffeine withdrawal headache would kick in very soon.
“Well, I can run to the market and get some coffee, but I don’t have any here,” he said. I wondered if my eyes were red. Hubert was clearly a health-food nut.
“Oh, would you? That would be very sweet!” He threw on jeans, a sweat shirt and flip-flops and skittered out the door.
In his bathroom, naked, I stood there, looking at what he had. Roll-on deodorant, hand soap, two small towels, a razor. Stacks of magazines. This was a man with no smile lines. A man with puppy breath. If I had the money, I would buy him a villa.
Copyright 2019 Meg Pokrass