Take me somewhere, I said on the phone to Gullet. Where do you want to go, sweetie?
Anywhere. Everywhere you go is good.
I drove over to his house and he met me at the door with a joint, smiling down at me, he's immense. There were lots of people there I didn't know, which sometimes makes me nervous, smoking with strangers, I'm always afraid I will do something extra dumb, but that's kind of what I was in the mood for anyway. I hoped the pot wasn't going to make me sleepy though because I wanted to be up for hours having experiences. There were a couple of joints going around the room and right before I took my third hit I thought, with surprise, Two was enough. This was stronger stuff than I was used to but it was in my hand already so I took another hit and someone else had to take the joint away from me, laughing, I'd been sitting absolutely still for how long, none of us knew. I lay down on my back enjoying the smooth tight weave of the carpet. Someone put the joint between my lips again and I did not protest even though it was going to be too much, I drew deep, trying not to laugh too soon, trying to make the smoke count. It made the back of my throat minty and clean, this was excellent.
It was someone's idea to go to a club and we all crammed into the car. I rode in Gullet's back seat, a massive green grandma sedan that stunk of vinyl. It was stinky but very clean and Gullet kept warning us not to leave any of our shit in it. There was no smoking in the green sedan, which I found charming. There must have been six of us in the back seat and I was sitting cramped up between this beautiful dark shy girl and a guy I instinctively didn't like, he had the look of someone who would be fun for a while but would turn out to have some horrible lurking characteristic, like maybe he could dance really great but he hated Jews. Maybe he was just too young for me and my brain was protecting my heart with impromptu creativity, choosing to see danger instead of inaccessibility.
I wanted to talk to the girl, she was small and dark and quiet and I just knew I was crushing her with the half of my ass that was resting on her thigh. You're fine, she said. She kept apologizing for her elbow which kept jabbing me in the back every time the car bounced. So we sort of bonded over the pain we were causing each other. We didn't know each other's names.
Gullet couldn't see out the back window and kept yelling for us to keep our heads down. It should have been a drinking game, to take a drink every time Gullet yelled for us to do something or stop doing something, but there was no drinking in the car either.
I kept getting sucked into this stupid music conversation with the dangerous boy but my mind wasn't in it, I was tuning out my own words and Gullet's hollering and the vinyl stink and only concentrating on the shy girl who was looking out the window the whole way there. I was making up this monologue for her in my head, what she was thinking about what she saw flashing past in the dark. I wished everyone else would just shut up and I would turn to her and say Go on, shy girl, what are you looking at? and she would tell us about telephone wires hanging dead and a cat running along a fence and two girls drinking on a porch swing. And about a ratty little house she had seen that looked sad until she saw the lilies in the front yard, they reminded her of her mom. There would be a quick pause while we all thought, or pretended to think about, our own mothers. My mind was crystalline and loud in its socket, I knew all about everyone's mom and the complicated terrible things they were thinking.
The club was everything clubs are. It was good to be out of the car though, and inside stretching I realized I did feel like moving around, not dancing but just moving my body, a gift from someone to me, all the ways I could make it move. It was like prayer, but louder and bigger and more fun. I did that with Gullet for a while and confessed to him in a shout that I thought the shy girl was very cute and what was her name? He beamed and shouted back a name I couldn't catch. Didn't matter, there she was, dancing, grinning at me like a different girl. She wanted to dance with me and I wanted to let her. She was wearing this tiny little shirt and camouflage pants and sandals. She was prettier than I usually like. She had breasts. She was waving her arms around and not looking at me a whole lot, caught in her own private thing, but wanting to be near me I guess, because she kept coming closer. She was very bendy. She moved around me like air or cloth or music, all flow, everywhere at once. The flashing lights were all around us making my sense of perception a little sketchy and I was still very high, so I knew where she had come from, I knew she was only an agent of good forces and that I could trust her.
She was right up against me now, growling things in my ear, breath hot and moist. I didn't know what she was saying and I hadn't thought she was the type to growl, but ok. Her knee was angled in between my legs and had been for I don't know how long, we weren't really dancing so much as rocking together, getting closer and tighter. My crotch was pressed hard against her thigh and the thick seam down the front of her camouflage pants fit me nicely. I pressed harder and her moving arms encircled me loosely, never settling, hardly touching me. What is your name, I said roughly in her ear, and she said Eleanor. Not "Ellen." She gave me the whole thing and that was almost enough to make me come, it would have been, but she was done with me, she chose that moment to be done with me and she stepped back and looked at me, legs apart and panting, and to her credit she did not laugh, but she did walk away. I didn't think about it till later but she never asked my name.
I drove home through the empty city just getting light and was ravenous turning the key in the lock, just knowing I was getting close to familiar food made my whole stomach shudder, listing the possibilities to itself. I went in the kitchen and dumped the black stinky bloated bananas in the trash. Why does my mother keep bringing me bananas and why do I keep them until they are ruined. I have not eaten a banana since I was about three.
I turned on the tv and it was like in a movie where a character turns on the tv and some catastrophic event has just happened, a newsbreak with perfect timing tells you exactly what has gone wrong in the world. My tv was talking about a senator who had just died, and I felt kind of bad because yesterday they were talking about him, he had had a brain attack, a tumor or an explosion, and I felt bad for not caring more about the story before I knew he was going to die. I don't know who this guy was really, but on the news people were crying, his wife, his colleagues, big sweaty Southern men with suits on who looked really genuinely upset that their colleague was gone. Maybe he was just another bastard but maybe he was a really nice old man, and either way, I had missed it. I watched the whole news even when they stopped talking about the old man. At the commercial I boiled up two corns on the cobs and sat on the floor in front of the bad news to eat it
I have become a corn on the cob junkie. Yesterday I went to the grocery store just to buy butter. I never used to put butter on corn, I watched other people doing it and it was so gross, butter smooshing all over everything, but then I tried it and I found out that that's what makes it so good. I wish I had one of those butter-smearer things, I always made fun of them before. So stupid to invent an entire utensil and let it take up valuable kitchen real estate, all for the sake of putting butter on corn. But now I know it's the best way. I don't have one, so I had to smear the hard pats of butter on with my fingers, cool butter, steamy corn, I felt both in my fingertips as I wiped long golden melty stripes up and down the ear. I ate my corn on the cob slowly and chewed each bite for a long time and strained the salt out of the mash with my tongue. Here I had a pleasure I knew I was really enjoying.