Coasting – Part Two
Von stood with his eyes closed, head down, and his palms flat on either side of the shower head. He let the hot water pour around his neck and pitter-patter on the floor, relishing in the freedom of Saturday morning. He had no idea what time it was. He hadn’t had a grasp of time since she came over last night. Perfect. He opened his eyes and looked towards his feet. The chemicals told him it was time to jerk off.
Clambering back into bed with a fresh set of undergarments, he breathed in the new day. The impressions left on the bed brought back flashes of skin. He’d wash the sheets later.
Although this was new for him, it was something he had wanted in his life and came naturally. Even if his parents were still married, he believed he wouldn’t classify the traditional engagements as applicable to his life. He liked this. It was effortless at times, and at others it took all the effort he could muster, but then it regressed. He thought about her throughout the day, but only slightly more often than other women.
They worked in the same building complex, but she must have been from floor one or two, judging by her wardrobe and often frustrated disposition. He had wanted to ask her out before, noticing how she once or twice gave in to the temptation of Friday afternoon and applied her makeup and eyeliner with care. She looked beautiful those days. Otherwise she looked intriguing, fascinating. He didn’t know which version of her was more attractive, but the fact that her beauty still shone through her resentment of it was even more endearing to him. He paced the issue mentally for some time before approaching her. He was honest. After introducing himself, he told her that he was strongly attracted to her and he wished for them to be sexually involved. She looked him up and down with a hawk’s eye, settling on his face. She traversed each corner in eye-sparkling assessment before she spoke. To his surprise, she simply offered her number. Three days later, it began. There was minimal talk, just some mention about keeping it sub rosa and a boyfriend back east somewhere, concrete rivers, steel. Michigan or Madison or something. He never asked about him, but he wondered how he might think about her. If the sex was as good. He didn’t even know if he existed or if it was part of her character in this. No matter. He didn’t need to figure her out, or even try. It was both impossible and tangible at the same time.
He took out his phone and, after laughing at social media ploys for a few minutes, decided to give Darren a call. He wouldn’t call him a friend, since they had not really spent much time together. But he was the first choice that came to mind when thinking of a companion for a cup of coffee downtown. He was a candid and interesting person, and it was difficult for Von to say that about anyone, let alone another guy. He looked forward to spending more time with him and wondered how differently his friend group would be five years from now.
Milly: “Tall mocha, please.”
Barista: “Whip cream with that?”
Milly: “Yeah, extra.”
Barista: “Okay, that’ll be two seventy-nine.”
Milly handed over the money and sat down, watching the street through the glass. She rubbed her eyes and removed her hair tie. Flopping her face towards her lap, she pressed her hand tightly against the sides of her head and stretched her hair into a tight, confidently wagging ponytail. She fluttered her fingers free of the stragglers, and scurried away a few short, unique black hairs from her jeans. She chuckled at the small inconvenience. Von was like a puppy, impervious to his own wake. A flash of her grabbing his hair and squeezing. Such thick hair.
Barista: “Tall mocha?”
She wiped her hands on her jacket.
Milly: “Thank you.”
Two loudly dressed men, her age, walked in and established that they were comfortable in this space before scanning the chalk drawn menu above the counter. She felt bad for the barista, who would surely have to endure the wrath of forced flirtation from both of them. She’ll be alright, she thought. Has to be one of those girls, a scant flirt in return for the tips. She could never do that. She never faked anything, not worth it. A raucous but slightly diffident laugh filled the cafe, followed by a high-pitched reaction in between the tongs and clinks of the espresso machine. The low grumblings from the schmucks provided the baritone section.
This continued for three or four minutes too long and she realized she hadn’t yet taken a sip of her coffee. She placed it to her lips just as the lads opened the door to leave, resuming their banter as they strode out. She watched them bulldoze down the sidewalk and cursed their good looks. They didn’t deserve such bestowments. A flash of Von effortlessly turning her over in bed. Be in control, she snapped at herself. You have to get back somehow. She turned back to the barista and saw her cleaning off the spouts of the machine. With a final wipe, she tossed the towel to the side and wiped her forehead with the back of her palm. She scooped a superfluous amount of cash from the counter, tallied it, and placed it in her pocket. The atmosphere changed and once Milly was sure she had felt it, she turned back towards the street. As she felt the warmth of the tall mocha course through her, a tall idea blossomed. She pushed in her chair and walked back towards the counter.
next: COASTING – PART THREE
previous: COASTING – PART ONE
all chapters: Coasting
more by SANDY DODGE
photograph by Hello Goodbye