By: Tim Stevens
Song: Trip on Love
Artist: Abra Moore
Album: No Fear
(Picture taken from http://www.inmagine.com/)
AMANDA sits casually on the front steps of a row house. She is rolling a cup of coffee between her hands. She shakes her head smiling, let’s go of a small giggle, and begins to speak to the audience as if they were in mind conversation.
…that’s good, that’s good. I’ll give you that. My weird one, though...
She pauses, mulling it over. After a moment, she smirks, bites her lip, and begins to talk again.
So, I was seeing this guy like…wow…two or three years ago now. Time flies.
Anyway, we’ve been dating six or so months and I really like him. I’m not thinking marriage, but I am thinking, I don’t know, maybe share an apartment, doing the holidays together, and…ok…a little I’m thinking engagement ring. A LITTLE! Not much!
So, I know this, but I feel like we don’t know each other as well as I’d like before I start introducing the idea of taking these more serious steps on.
Pauses. A flicker of recognition that the audience is not on the same page as her flickers across her face before she starts again.
To be clear here, I mean sexually. We had had sex and it was good, but it was still in the “here are our three moves, learn them well” stage. Before I get serious, I think it’s important to move into the “So, those three moves are nice, but what I really like is this” stage.
This is on my mind one night as we lay in bed so I broach the subject. I roll over, I cuddle with him a bit, nuzzle his neck…just generally be the adorable person that is Amanda Wellington. And then I say, “So tell me about one of your fantasies.”
And he says, “Which one?”
That should’ve been a clue to me, right away. “Which one?” is not a typical response to the question. Especially that quick. Maybe you offer up a fairly benign one or try to obfuscate but, “which one?” is…a little intense.
But, I go with it. I tell him whichever, but make it a good one. Make it one of the ones that reoccurs a lot for you.
He gets quiet for a second and I start to panic. I think that I’ve done it, I’ve become the media’s conception of a 20-something year old woman in a relationship. I’m pushing too hard for serious. I’m forcing him to commit more than he’s ready for. I. Am. A. Stereotype!
Just as I am ready to call the whole thing off, he starts. And he starts this way.
“So it involves my ex-girlfriends…”
AMANDA gives the audience a “Can you believe that look” before continuing
This is sign #2, but again, I don’t stop him. Instead I prompt him forward. “Uh-huh,” I say.
“Well,” he continues, “This is an old one…like back in high school I think it started. I was a different guy back then, you understand?”
She stands and walks to the garbage can, tossing her coffee cup in, still talking.
“Oh boy,” I’m thinking to myself, “What weird shit did I just get myself into.” Because, really, anyone who starts to tell you a fantasy they used to have and throws in the disclaimer, “I was a different guy back then, you understand?” is about to lay some pretty heinous info on you. What I was expecting to initially be something like, “It’d be really hot if you dressed as a cheerleader,” and then modified to, “An all ex-lesbian orgy that I got to watch,” has taken a serious left turn. I was buckling down for something involving bodily fluids or some kind of apparatus that involved spikes.
But I do not stop this train, I just nod in the dark.
Thus, he continues, “I used to imagine all my exes getting together like, I don’t know, once a month, and talking about me. Comparing notes. Talking about my relationship with them and what I was up to now. That sort of thing.”
She shakes her head, puffs out her cheeks, and runs her hands through her hair.
Somehow, the poor bastard missed that fantasies meant, “sex stuff you’d like to try” and ended up at “random daydreams you used to have.”
A sensible choice at this juncture would’ve been to clarify the intention of the question, but this man o’ mine was on a roll and I could not get the words together fast enough to keep him from continuing on.
“And they’d all have the same kinds of things to say. That I was kind. That they missed me. That they hoped I was happy but I seemed so dark inside. That I was hard to know. That there was a coldness to me. That it seemed like I had wounds I was trying to hide.”
I had to stop him. “Wait…what?” I asked. And he knew, right then, that he had screwed up. He shut down. “Nothing,” he mumbled and then offered up some half baked, “sex in a car in a park in the afternoon” nonsense.
Needless to say,our relationship never recovered.
But had it…I don’t know. What the heck do I do with that? How should you respond to the news that there once was a time your boyfriend wished his exes to speak about him in hushed reverent tones as they compared notes on what a cold, wounded bastard he was? Did he see himself like that or was it, I don’t know, some kind of goal to shoot for? I get wanting exes to still think about you, but to do so in a way that makes them sound like they are less in love with you and more worried about what you say over there in the jungles of Vietnam? Why? Just…why?
If he had said, “I want to wear a diaper and have you treat me like a baby all day,” it would’ve been easier for me to wrap my mind around.
She “steps” out of telling her story for a moment to explain the baby thing.
Because, you know, there’s a power differential thing in play there. Also there is the taboo of a man reducing himself to infant status. Oh, and the diaper. You just know that’s part of it.
Returning to story.
Like I said, that was it for us. We dated for three more months, had sex for five, but that was our Waterloo. And I could kind of tell, when we broke up for good, when it was really over…I could just tell...
He wanted to know when the next meeting of The Ex Girlfriends was. And he wanted to know what I was going to say.
Tim Stevens is the creator of this contest and The January Project. His writing can be found all over the web including Marvel Comics website, The Living Room Times, and New Paris Press. He can be found on Twitter @UnGajje where he talks about Val Kilmer, Nic Cage, comics, movies, TV, politics, and his family just the right amount.