the tricks

July 19, 2014 Posted by the writer

the tricks

It was the magic tricks that might have won me over.

You have to work and so I meet him at Bethesda fountain. You’ve only known me a month and aren’t sure why I keep going out with strangers that I meet online.

You don’t understand, I should never be left alone for too long. It’s why I live in midtown.

He’s paranoid from the start, so I know he’s cheating on someone already.

“No, sorry, no phone numbers. Yeah, my picture. Sorry. It’s edited. You understand. I can’t show my face, my hair’s shorter now.”

I send two snapshots. One face. One body. He says I’m “pretty” and have a “nice butt”.

I roll my eyes, then breathlessly laugh. I immediately tell you what’s happening. “Wish me luck!”

“You’ll be fine.”

Since the stranger won’t tell me his name or give me a number, I get to the fountain and check my email, rolling my eyes again. There’s a message in my spam folder.

“Is that you? In the giraffe print dress? With the big sunglasses?”

“Of course it is.”

Ten minutes later we’re on a rock behind the boat house drinking chablis while tourists take photos of the lake.

He keeps telling me how he has to be so extra very private that I finally break and ask why. Even though I was having a better time drinking his wine and thinking of how you kissed off my lipstick in a cab on the Bowery last Wednesday night.

No one has ever kissed me that way. They never leaned in so quickly to wrap my lips and taste my tongue. Hands and fingers everywhere, hooking and grabbing.

“Someone tried to ruin my life,” the stranger reveals. “They took my picture and said they would send it to people. It’s why I’m so cautious now. People might like, know who I am.”

I tell him that I think Internet-privacy is an oxymoron and that my photos are already all over the shop. “Who cares?”

We reach the bottom of the bottle and he’s told me about his seven year marriage, southern roots and apparent breast play obsession.

“It’s just this thing I’ve always had.”

He looks down like he said something wrong and picks up a flat stone. It’s placed in the center of his left hand when he asks me, “Have you seen this before?” before wrapping his fingers  to reopen with no stone. He opens his right hand to reveal it. My stomach drops, I’m a sucker for magic.

For a good 90 seconds he puts it in his sleeve and pulls it from behind my ear; tight in his fist to inside the pocket of my dress; on top of his hand to under my foot. And no matter how sternly I sneered at his slightest gesture, I was amazed every time.

Yet it wasn’t as impressive as your artist fingers digging into my hip, zooming back uptown.

I thank him for his time citing that I also have an elsewhere love interest I must be getting back to. While it’s debatable, it’s enough to get me quickly off the rock and lost in the summer crowd.

It’s not even eight o’clock yet, I can probably meet another three people tonight.

 

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gretchen's brain is preoccupied with words.

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