Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sketch: In a Room

Netbooks, I say to her, running my bare hand over the swell of her haunch as she turns over on her back. Laptops are getting passe. Young kids like netbooks or smart phones.

What about you? she says.

Well, I say, you know me. I don’t go for the new stuff so much as most kids. I’m not a Facebook kind of guy.

I pass my hand over her belly as she speaks of her grand son in Florida. She wants to retire in Florida. She knows people there. I would imagine I'm only about 5 years older than her grandson. I wonder if she thinks of him when I'm pressed hard against her making her wheeze a little with the insistence of each thrust. What do women think of when men climb onto them and take up that ridiculous humping posture? I don’t have the courage to ask.

There is a world of difference between a girl and a woman. When you’ve had a woman, you can’t go back. Not just a woman, but a beautiful woman at the moment in her life when she's gloriously gone to seed. Her wild verdure and my root sunk deep in the raw of her. Saw grass. Milk weed. Hawthorne. Thistle. Dandelion. Wild violet. Wild strawberries. Wild catnip. Wild oats and wild wheat; gloriously gone to seed.

The room we lie in is her room; quiet and small, lived in and fragrant. But also with a feeling of the best things having already passed away before we showed up. It’s a place where a couple might go to pass the time while waiting for the next act of their lives to begin. This room is at the top of a walk up stairs in a two story house. For me there is always that feeling of anticipation as I climb the cheap wooden planks, hold the wooden railing of white washed two by fours, knock plaintively on the door wondering what she will be wearing, or not, when the chain rattles and it spreads solicitously wide. Its become such that the feeling of wooden planks under my feet and wood under my hands has become enough to arouse me from habit when I’m somewhere else. What we do in these rooms, on this noisy loose jointed bed, becomes a habit over time, like walking the dog, like being fed at a certain time of day. Appetite and answer.

After a year of habit, the habit of walking upstairs, the habit of the opened door, disrobing her is as easy as making a sandwich. Its understood. She keeps nothing on but her white gym socks, which she does for me because it arouses me. She likes to warm the soles of her bare feet against my thighs under the blanket on cold afternoons. With her gym socks on, she’s a schoolgirl. Thick white pure cotton socks with rows of thick cotton ridges with elastic tops with a thin blue band and a tiny hole in the toe, and the taut outline of her toes which she curls tightly when she’s diving deep in her pleasure. When she’s at her final moment, on each foot she lifts up only her big toe; lifting her toes right when I’m bending down on my elbows to take her ear lobe between my lips as I feel the agony of pleasure defeating my will to last an instant longer for her, and her strained cigarette breath against my cheek like a hot bellows as I bear down against her belly, groan her name and let go with a curse. I like her best when she comes back sweat slicked and unshowered from the gym. She waits on the shower for me to join her because I’m strange and gross in that way. I want all of her, even her smells. I'm not like other young men. I’m a strange beast at a time in her life when she longs for the strange things because she has nothing left to lose or be embarrassed about.

There was a time early on, she met me once with her cool damp hair all up in gray plastic curlers held in place by springy brass clips with plastic tips. I was surprised at the intensity of excitement it stirred in me seeing how much in that moment she reminded me of my mother. I manhandled her, stumbled her protesting across the room in pink bunny slippers and a ratty old bath robe of thick soft cotton. I took her on her back with brute selfishness, too urgent to even bother taking my jeans all the way off. All the while the plastic curlers rained off her head like little bombs on the hard wood floor beneath the squealing old bed; plop plop plop. Her head dangled over the edge of the bed, desparately clutching at the rumpled sheet together with my face nuzzled hard behind her ear trying not to tumble off with me on top of her. It was over in a minute. She rolled me off, sat next to me, scolded me, sulked, lectured me perfunctorily about women's rights. But she didn't ask me to leave. I stole one of those curlers which my rapacious vigor had joggled loose. I sleep with it under my pillow at home.

We can’t last. What will remain is the oily smell of the room which will haunt me whenever someone fries up bacon and eggs. The floozy tobacco smell on the cloth of my clothes when I leave. The easy smoke that curls towards the ceiling fan from the rough leafy brown cheroot between those skillful warm hands at rest, which have been provoking and using my conjured firmness to nurse some secret wound in private dignified ecstasy. She’s been lying beside me, looking through me in the late afternoon blues with the corner of a fastidious Kleenex poking up between her reddened old thighs.

She renews her chatter about her grandson graduating high school next month and wondering what she should get him. What would be a good netbook?

My hand passes over her lolling breast, then down passing along the hard knobby ridge of her caesarian scar and she lifts up a little to give my roaming hand access to her. My hand wanders down between her loose thighs which have the beginnings of wrinkles, and take away the wet Kleenex.

The hair between her thighs is mixed with gray. It can’t be colored, or at least no one does. Gay boys always want to know if the drapes match the carpet. Well, hers don't. The gray down below is like opening an inner sanctum, an expression of trust, a confession of hidden truth. This is who I really am, say the hairs. The hair is shamelessly unbarbered, thick and wiry. I love the rough, long strands like the rough edged weeds of her seedy meadow. I love to run my fingers through that hair between her thighs and linger there, take a curly salt and peppered hair and gently draw it to its length and look. This languidness, looseness, this pliant longing mixed with a bit of stiffness in the joints, makes my lover so easy to seduce. I offer her a massage, a foot rub, anything will do, and her clothes melt away with an unctuous eagerness contrived to make me feel masterly over her.

I don’t know, I say. Anything by Sony is always good. Acer is cheap but I hear they don’t last long. Radio Shack used to make good products out of Texas. Now it’s all the same cheap junk from China.

China is where Japan was when I was a girl, she says. Her hand travels down between my naked thighs and makes me jump. She smiles, feeling the unspoken shift of power from me to her.

Her fingers wander over my junk, affectionately more than sensually. What do you mean, I say.

Japan used to make all this cheap tin shit you’d get in dime stores like Woolworth's. You've never heard of Woolworth’s have you? After WWII Japan was bombed into the ground and just rebuilding. All their stuff was so cheap -

Ah! Whoa!

- do you like that? Anyway. So if it said 'Made in Japan' on the bottom, well that was a big joke. It meant junk. Made in Japan, that’s what you’d say about something weak.

Now Japan is the best.

Time changes everything, she whispers. Have you been to New York?

No I say, feeling myself surrender to her down there.

I grew up in New York.

Yes, I say. To what I don’t know. I’ve stopped listening.

The chinelle bed spread we lay on is a kind of thin, tightly woven cotton cloth, died red with a couple of drying stains in the middle. Two so far, but the afternoon isn't over. The cloth is very soft and thick like a baby blanket. It has crisscrossed rows of cotton tufts like little caterpillars you can feel when you’re moving over them, when your face is being shoved down into them, or your ass being rubbed rhythmically against them with warm meaty weight pressing on top of you.

Daring menial, she says.

What's that?

You look like an elevator boy, she says.

What's an elevator boy?

Sometimes you still see them in big hotels in foreign cities. They open and close the doors for the people in the elevator. He brings them to their floor.

It sounds boring.

It is. Except that in an age without service, all the rich women imagine what it would be like to take a handsome menial servant to their room, someone so much lower than themselves. And then fuck the daylights out of him. And then send him back to his dark little elevator alone.

If I were an elevator boy, would you bring me to your room?

Oh yes.

And her hand is still down there.

I should have stayed in New York, she says.

Why didn’t you?

I was going to marry this man who worked on Broadway, writing plays. He's a big shot now. But you wouldn't have heard of him.

She mentions his name and she's right, I've never heard of him.

Why didn’t you marry him?

He was a Jew. My parents wouldn’t let me marry him.

Because he was a Jew?


That's crazy.

Time changes everything, she says again. She takes her hand away and I feel some of the shine go out of me.

She rolls over on her other side, giving her back to me. Thinking. After a very long time she speaks and her voice is cracked and old - what are you good for? she says.

C. Sanchez-Garcia


  1. incredible; vivid writing; I need a bath; truly excellent

  2. Hi Wyeth!

    Thanks for coming by and reading my stuff!


  3. Genuine affection lifts off these words like a fragrance. Thank you. Nice way to start the day.
    WIsh it did not end quite where it did.


  4. What a powerful and moving vignette. I really enjoyed this one. Too many in our society view older women as disposable trash, especially young men who have been conditioned to think of only preternaturally-thin young women as being sexy. My boys are in their twenties and they despise bony women. I hope someday their more normally-shaped future wives thank me.
    And how enlightened, almost "European" of you, to depict a sexual relationship that exists only for the good sex. Sometimes that is enough.

  5. This contains so much, Garce - the sights, smells, sounds, touch, feel, the culture gap between genders and generations, and the intense pleasure despite the obstacles. This should definitely get published somewhere.

  6. Renee! Renee! Renee!

    Oh - i haven't heard from you in ages. I'm at the end of my day, but what a nice way to end my day. Say hi to me.


  7. Hi Fiona!

    I've often thought, and occasionally said, that I was born thirty years too early. Things have changed a lot. When i was a young man, if an older experienced woman - i can think of one in particular - had hit on me, I think I would have jumped on it. But it was such a forbidden thing then. It still is a little bit, though things are changing.

    I don;t know if the woman's frustration shows through at the end the way i meant it to. I don;t know where that came from, but the ending is supposed to be kind of sad. Like she's looking at herself and wondering what she's doing with this young man and thinking about the past and what could have been. Kind of a downer I guess.


  8. Hi Jean!

    I'm not sure who would publish such a thing. I wrote it as a kind of writing exercise. I think I just wanted to find a way to use the word "unctuous". But that's very encouraging, what you say. Maybe i'll keep my eye out.


  9. I didn't think of the ending as a downer, as much as an acknowledgment that she realizes this relationship is ephemeral...but then, any relationship with the long-ago Jew guy would probably not have ended well, so there you are. Times change and so do people. She has lived to have great sex again, and now with a younger man! Back in her day she never would have had sex just for fun...and now she is here, doing just that. I thought her asking him what he is good for, was a way for him to interject himself into her thoughts and let her know exactly what he does so well.

    And good use of the word "unctuous": smug, ingratiating and false earnestness. I really like being able to use words that no one has ever heard of!

  10. Absolutely gorgeous, Garce! Richly sensual and emotionally complex. And yes, I think it is eminently publishable.

    How can you doubt yourself when you can write like this?

    I love the elevator boy conversation, and I wonder where that came from. It _is_ the sort of fantasy a woman would harbor. Did someone confess this to you once, long ago?


  11. Hi Fiona

    That's an interesting observation, that if she had married the man it might have gone any kind of way. MAybe all relationships are like that, because we all change so much.


  12. Hi Lisabet!

    I always doubt myself. I think most writer's are like that to a degree. We're all probably lucky here we don;t try to do this for a living, imagine what the preassure would be like then. I just want to write better and I never write on the level I want to write. Sometimes it makes me gloomy. I think the reason I haven;t coughed up that Nixie story is because I'm too serious about making it good, the very best possible, and I can;t expect that on the first draft. It blocks me up.

    Its an interesting fantasy isn;t it, the elevator boy? It seems like something women would fantasize about because it represents a kind of power, or a reversal of power. Its a common male fantasy to have a subordinate woman who can;t refuse you such as a slave or harem girl. Or to be the white knight who rescues some impoverished abused woman from the gutter who ever after lavishes him with grateful passion. So I would imagine women would have some power fantasy, having some young man of low status and enjoying him that way too. I don't see this often in books but I'm sure its out there, and in the cable TV sword and sandal series "Spartacus" rich Roman women regularly compelled the male gladiator slaves to pleasure them. So I have to figure its out there.


  13. Women don't usually have power trips in their fantasies. For me, at least, sex is not about power. It's about carnal pleasure. The allure of someone of a lower class would be that they would presumably be less "civilized", less apt to treat you like a lady. More apt to be totally down and dirty, and make you enjoy it, while you have never been able to enjoy it with your upper class husband...think poor Lady Diana, with that horse-faced twerp lusting to be a tampon in that other horse-faced female, then dutifully "performing the deed" with Diana "for God and England". I'd have expected her to be doing half of the castle staff, in her frustration!
    Besides, the nature of the act is such that the man almost HAS to be a willing partner, or his parts don't work. Females can be forced to submit even when they don't want to, and nature will usually make sure they are not torn apart. They still won't like it, but the power-mad male won't care.


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