Should I walk you to the door

Is he kidding, I thought. No, I said, thanks. Pissed me off though. Should I walk you to the door. It was late, I was tired. I said "good night" and got out of the car. I just wanted to be alone. Home, alone, in an old flannel shirt.

His name was Lee, Mr. Walk-you-to-the-door. He looked like somebody, I couldn’t think who. His car was one of those late seventies models. Yellow, and long, and worn leather seats.

I went to Dairy Queen that night for a shake. Be a minute, they said, they were working on the machine. Lee was there. Girl named Candy was with him. Drinking soda through a straw, blowing bubbles into it.

Dairy Queen shakes have a cherry on top and lots of whipped cream. Me and my mom used to get ‘em all the time. Cold and sweet, she used to say, that’s you in a cup, and she’d pinch my cheek so hard it left marks.

My mom was the first one I called when it happened. Guy  came up behind me. Flashed a knife, put his hand on my mouth. Dragged me into some bushes. I still have the scars.

I called my mom and you know what she said? She said, what did you do. Not, oh you poor thing, what did you do? No, what did you do; what signal did you send. What were you wearing, how were you dressed. These things don’t just happen without your consent.

For months, my dreams were all of a kind. Driving cars off a cliff, jumping out just in time. Red capes and bull fights, cherry bombs burning away in my hand.

We sat at a table. Lee said, you’re pretty. Candy stroked my hair. We drove to a bar Lee said he owned. 

Derek. My cousin. That’s who Lee looked like. Candy looked like a girl named Candy. Their apartment was on the top floor of the club. There were mirrors on the ceiling. Lee was circumcised. Candy was tatted. We spent three and a half hours on a round white bed

If you live through the fire you dance in the flames; I had never laid eyes on either of them before. But I was invincible. Fireproof, resistant. I had scars to prove it. I fucking knew where the fucking door was.

Aunt Darlene, Derek’s mom, made him take dance lessons. I saw him one night on “Have You Got Talent?” He was doing alright, then he slipped and he fell.

His world took a turn, according to Darlene. Drinking, drugs. Brushes with the law. All on account of that fall, she said.

What did you do. What were you wearing, how were you dressed.

I was dressed like a slut. “Hey sailor” I said with my tits in my hands. I was dressed like a whore. “Fuck me”, I said.

Should I walk you to the door.

Do I fucking look lost.

It was late, I was tired. I climbed into bed. I just wanted to be alone with my dreams. The matador’s cape is called a “muleta”. Supposedly red, but we dream black and white and bulls don’t see color. So either we’re dancing or our feet are on fire. I lived, goddammit. That’s what I did.