21

The uniform I had to wear was ill fitting. Looking in the mirror was looking at a sack of potatoes on it’s way to private school.

I was at an age where I wanted to show off my body and owned a sewing machine and tumble dryer. It only took a few hours to shrink the garments and take in the waists on the cardigans and shirts. The cardigan no longer buttoned. My left and right breasts were rivals, creating stretch marks on the cotton polos. Perfect.

I was the youngest employee and had three suitors. Two of them married and one engaged.

Suitor # 1 (engaged) would stare at me from across the conference room during store meetings and slowly lick his lips. I could only imagine how weary his bones must have been from carrying all of his weight. His size and attraction towards to me gave me a strange sense of relief. He could protect me if needed. In comparison to his stature, I was small enough that he could keep me safe in a dimly lit curio in his dining room; glass doors protecting me from dust.

In a morning meeting he’d send a dozen gazes to my nether regions (even though they were out of view) and would silently mouth hunger laden desires that make me blush even today. This went on every weekend. I don’t know how I kept myself from bursting into laughter and how no one else noticed.

We must’ve had some one on one time that I don’t remember. I recall him telling me how much he loved to eat pussy and how he couldn’t wait to get a taste…that kind of stuff.

A coworker, who was once the coveted beauty, her good looks now barely awake, enlightened me: “He’s about to get married. He’s about to have sex with the same person for the rest of his life and it scares him to death. They’re going to classes at church and he’s trying to get through it. He’s just looking for his last hoorah. He wants to make sure he still has it.”

I wasn’t attracted to the veil of perspiration that was always on his face, I never fantasized about his stressed out heart, but I still let him kiss me in a dark office – maybe storage room – I forget. It was aggressive, animalistic, and wet. I didn’t enjoy it. He pushed me away before I could pull away.

Suitor #2 (married) I barely remember the nuances of his courtship.  I think he was the most open about his attraction and would never discriminate. All women were beautiful and worthy of his come ons. I liked him because he was honest about his old man perviness. He was a student of the gold chain and chest hair movement, never letting inclement weather intimidate the litter of kittens that slept on his pecs. He was also one of the top salespeople. I learned a lot from watching him and would have made him proud a year later if we had stayed connected.

One day, over a bowl of fried ice cream, he asked me if I was a prostitute or if I had ever done any work like that in the past. “You seem like you might have.” I answered. He asked me a second time, reworded. He didn’t believe my answer and tried to get me comfortable enough to tell the truth. It had already been told.

We stopped by the gas station to fill his tank and he leaned in for a kiss before getting out. I tried it. Another aggressive, animalistic, and wet kiss. I left him with my red lips and the taste of Sprite and vanilla.

Ex coveted saw us at the restaurant that evening and took the opportunity the next day to fill me in. “He’s sleeping with his maid. He goes after every new, attractive woman who walks through these doors.”

Suitor #3 (married) EDIT: I was his suitor, he was not mine. This one I loved and still do. I’m reminded of my drunk mouse feelings during those rare times when he leaves a voicemail or sends an e-mail or text. He has grandchildren now.  At thirty years my senior, he was my therapist and father. He was the only one, since moving out of my parents house, who said “no” to me, who asked me to think twice, who watched where my money was going. That would be helpful again today. I have a very difficult time placing boundaries on myself, but then again, I don’t have an interest.

He was not attractive at all, yet I was so attracted to him. He was a bitter and witty old man, half finished, stung by life over and over again, and always able to find a dark and twisted humor in any sad situation. The only reason he was married was because he got his girlfriend pregnant, and marriage was the right thing to do at the time. He rarely talked to his wife. She would collect the mail and not tell him when he had any.

We had a 6 month + affair. I ended it when it was time to move in with the love of my life. He offered me money to keep it going. The new distance would be an inconvenience. He visited me once at my new job and brought a huge bag of oranges from his tree. Everyone loved them. He e-mailed me once, years ago, a picture of his tree, branches sagging from the weight of their fruit.

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