They were at Brite Spot. His first date since he knew for sure the thing with the girl was over. Everything was fine and then the speakers played John Waite’s “Missing You.” 80’s night. After that, Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues.” He’d been told to pray when it hurt. Dear Lord, why not just have the clouds spell my name and form a middle finger. His date had the kale salad. Yeah, I went to a couple Sex Addicts meetings once, she said. Dear Lord, forget I complained.
He fingerfucked her against a tree by Echo Park Lake. They went to her house. Her pussy felt the same as the girl’s and he thought he was cured.
He was going to text the girl if the date didn’t pan out. what are you doing. All lower case no punctuation. Taking the capital “W” off “what” required more work then just letting the phone autocorrect, but gave the appearance of nonchalance. what are you doing. He’d been her fuckbuddy after all. That’s what he was for. She said he was built like a Ken doll. Meant as a compliment. She had black hair. He had a long haired black cat. At night he would wake up and see black on his pillow and think: thank God, she isn’t gone. He reached out to touch her. An asshole appeared by her ponytail.
What are you doing, why did you leave me, did you even leave me, are you with him right now. The tall guy with the drawl, she said I didn’t like him at all at first but you know four glasses of rosé; you and me shouldn’t have sex anymore, she said, and every time he’d ever heard that he’d got the best ass of his life after. This time was no different. She was hung over and they laid in bed all day talking. She told him a story. For a second he saw part of her she didn’t share. Like riding in a car in winter, passing a house with a window lit up at night.
He woke up with the new girl naked against him. That felt the same too. Sickness passing and in its place emptiness. I’ll take it, he thought.
The night of Fourth of July her dog went crazy and when he parked three blocks away he heard her barking. When he got to the house the girl was in a towel and the dog was soaking wet and shaking. Distant booms rattled the windows. She jumped in the shower with me, she said. She’s never done that before. Never barked like that before either; it’s weird. I think she knew it was you.
Yeah, she smelled me.
He sat down and the dog sat with him and she wasn’t shaking anymore. She knows I’m the man of the house, he thought. Knows I’ll protect her. The booms kept coming and the dog wasn’t scared. Thank God she didn’t think I’d stop the noise. I’d really look like a douche.
They were going to go out but they stayed in and did crosswords. He picked her up and bent her over and lifted her poufy white rich girl towel and fucked her with her wet black hair sticking to her back. He could see her face in the dark glass of the door. Her eyes were closed. She was perfect.
The next day they went to the beach. Waves so big they’d knock you over. They were laying down finishing the crossword and the dog sat on his back. She asked: when can I meet your friends.
They all hate you, he said. I told them you’re breaking my heart.
Because I won’t be your girlfriend?
I was honest.
I know. They think you’re using me. I do tell them good things about you.
… like what?
You look 14 and suck a mean dick, he said. And she laughed.
He’d told them he liked her a lot. That he could see himself with her. That she was pretty and easy to talk to and had her shit together but not in a drink the Kool Aid careerist way that made you sick to hear about. How rare she was. How he hadn’t felt like this in a long time. Hadn’t thought it could happen.
On the last day, laying in bed, he asked what the tall guy thought of the dog. He hates her, she said. He’s insulted that I let her in the room.
Well he has a point, he said. She’d grind her cunt on my knee when we fucked and stick her face in trying to lick my balls. It’s distracting. And watching her eat my cum off the sheets. It bugged me too, he said. Thinking: when a girl brings up another guy, defend him. Do the opposite of what you feel. The game was over but his instincts had been beaten into him.
You were cool about her though.
She did bother me at first, he said. Barking her head off. Licking my face with that fucking garbage mouth. Now I love her though. I’m gonna miss her more than I’ll miss you.
It was true.
By the end it hurt him to think about her. She took him to her boss’ vacation house in Palm Springs. Her friends came out. It was the weekend after her birthday. She’d had a party too but he opted not to go when she told him to act like they weren’t dating. Her boss was rich and famous and his house had a movie theater. All weekend they sat by the pool and when another guy would touch her shoulder it was like a cigarette burning the back of his neck. Someone brought a book by Ernest Hemingway. He read A Very Short Story and thought: I need to go get gonorrhea. But when they fucked he was back in it again. She got on top and when she was about to cum she made a concerned face like a baby about to burp.
The morning after the new girl he said goodbye and put his pants on and walked out onto Alvarado Street. There was a wildfire somewhere and the light looked like the apocalypse. His phone vibrated. His heart stopped for a second. What if it was her.
It was a friend. A guy. It said This girl is driving me nuts. Men would text him their woman problems. He told them go fuck another girl. They thought he was a genius.
Why are we made this way, he thought. You like them and it makes them not like you. Find someone good and she ends up hurting you more. No free lunch in this world. But why do you get stuck with the bill when you’re still eating the fuckin meal.
He sighed. dude let it go, he texted. find someone else. pussy’s pussy