I thought a lot about the moment when Sonia told me not to apologize. It was assertively kind, forcefully soft, and incredibly sexy. I thought about the way her nose had flared as she said “Stop it,” and the way her cheeks had been kinda flushed like she was excited too.
There was a dusk to her face, I guess I would say. It was exotic smokiness. Maybe one of her parents was an Arab, or an Ashkenazi Jew, or maybe even South American. Her eyes were slightly almond shaped and her casual bob hairstyle was thrown apart, wavy and black. Her eyes were a hazy brown and I could not help but notice the collar of her shirt was a bit undone, displaying a more-than healthy shock of cleavage.
In my life, I’ve found few things as provocative as cleavage. Sonia’s cleavage was what I might’ve called “hot,” like two pillowy-soft pound cakes with a matt finish As I followed her to her house, which she’d assured me was just a few blocks away, I thought about what was happening in an excitedly detached way.
An attractive woman who appeared to be in her late thirties was leading me to her dwelling, where the two of us would “party.” First of all, this was absolutely unprecedented, and I needed to acclimate to this new social landscape immediately. I wondered what the word “party” had meant, and every possibility excited me.
Had she meant to imply that we would have sex? I had had sex before, a couple of times in college and a few times since, but it had been a very long time. It had been so long I didn’t even think about it anymore, or anyway that’s what I told myself. Sexual desire is such an unconscious thing that I have no way of knowing whether I thought about sex all the time or hardly at all. The psychologists say all the time, and they’re probably right.
So I wondered, if I were called upon to perform, would I rise to the challenge? The possibility that I would not be able perform sexually scared me enough that I decided I would not have sex that night, even if it were offered.
I would refuse sex once, however, if sex was offered a second time, I would give it a shot. Imagining Sonia offering me sex not once but twice made a slow smile tickle across my lips. It felt possible.
“You’re not gettin’ any,” Sonia said, making me slightly disappointed, and far more comfortable. Her eyes beamed up at me, and noticed the growing grin on my lips. “Of course, anything’s possible.” She smiled wide, opening her mouth as wide as it would go as she guffawed.
I looked away from her and stared straight forward, thinking that I should say something. I didn’t say anything for what felt like a long time, or anyway long enough that I thought Sonia might feel embarrassed. “Uh, um, uh—“ searching for words and considering the possibilities rendered me mute, like a mumbling idiot.
“Relax, there’s no pressure.” As Sonia said these heavenly words she grinned sweetly and leaned her shoulder against mine, nestling the crook of my elbow against her palm and fingers. “We’re just gonna hang out, and maybe you’ll meet my roommates.”
Roommates? I figured that I probably shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. As I considered what this woman in her late thirties would be doing living with multiple people she called her roommates, I realized that I had one of my own. Oh shit, mom! “As soon as we get to your place, I gotta make a call real quick, if that’s okay.”
“Yeah that’s fine,” as Sonia paused before asking her next question, I realized what it was likely to be, and instantly dreaded it. “Who ya gonna call?”
I knew I had to think fast, so I glanced at the catalog of references in my mind for a way to deflect the question without answering it. I didn’t want to tell her so soon that I lived with my mother. Luckily, I saw my best option instantly. “GhostBUSTERS!”
Sonia laughed for a while in a way that appeared genuine. I figured it probably was, either in a genuine or an ironic way, real laughter. As her laughter began to die down, she wiped her mouth with her forearm and chortled slightly, before returning to her question. “No, seriously, who ya gonna call? Your wife?”
“I don’t have a wife,” I responded instantly. I considered briefly lying to her, saying that I should call my ex-wife to ask about our son or something, anything to avoid admitting to her that I still lived with my mother. Thinking about it, though, I realized that Sonia’s situation seemed odd enough that I wouldn’t expect her to judge. “I live with my mother, and she might get worried about me.”
I watched Sonia nervously out of the sides of my eyes, anticipating spirited chuckling or something, but I couldn’t detect any affect at all in her expression. She just said “Okay,” but I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, and had to clarify Sonia’s understanding of the situation.
“She lives with me, I mean, I mean I look after her, I guess.”
Sonia shot back almost immediately. “It’s cool, there’s no judgements.” We walked up the few steps to her front door she remarked flippantly, as if it meant nothing, “I have a ten-year-old son.”
I was taken aback by this information. I stood behind her, stunned and still, as she unlocked her front door. “Don’t worry,” she said glancing back at me with a devious grin, “The kids don’t usually bite, just don’t make any sudden moves.” She cackled as she slid her key into the lock and turned it.
When I was walking up the stairs behind Sonia and she was looking back at me laughing, my heart started beating a little faster. I mean it must have, because I was breathing much harder. I focused, believing that this moment could become monumental to me in the future, either for good or ill.
This could be the moment I met her, the woman who could change my life. As Sonia unlocked and opened her front door I thought about everything she had told me about her life. There wasn’t really much to consider, I began to realize She told me she had roommates, and that she had a ten year-old son. Was her son being playfully referred to as a “roommate?”
Thinking of it, I wondered whether this decision I was making was a huge mistake. Could I be walking into my own linoleum-sided mausoleum, acting like a new father or older-brother role model for some rugrat miscreants? I thought that Sonia might be a harried single mother angling for domestic support, and if this were the case, It probably wouldn’t be all bad.
I could pal around with a little kid, I bet it would be fun. And if a youngster came to look up to me, or rely on me for emotional support, it could conceivably be emotionally transformative.
But as soon as I entered Sonia’s front door, a puff of smoke floated into view above the couch opposite the TV. On the couch were two young adults, whom I guessed were college students, and I could smell that they were smoking weed.
I detected the odor of marijuana as I followed Sonia into the house and it took me back to my college days. I’d smoked a fair amount of what the adults used to call “dope,” but it had never really been my thing. Seeing the smoke, she said, casually, “Oh goddamnit, guys, already?”
The one on the left giggled a bit, “Already.” They simultaneously erupted into cackles of a kind I remembered from discussions of John Cale and The National Lampoon.
“These are my roommates,” Sonia said, walking past me into the house and opening a side door. “Jacob and Jason, I call them the J’s.”
Jacob and Jason erupted into giggles when Sonia called them the J’s, which I suppose had been her plan, because as they giggled she tried to whisk me up to her room as fast as she could. It wasn’t fast enough, as after us I heard her young “roommates hoot and holler, with one of them yelling “you go girl” at the top of his lungs.
Sonia was beat red, and she almost seemed as though she was having a breakdown. I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but the effect that this set-upon, untamed world seemed to be having on her was very alluring. I imagined her as I saw her, all wide eyes and gasping, clutching at shining moist collar, her lips open slightly pushing the air out softly but as hard as she could.
“Kids, ya know?” She said as she closed the door and turned into her front entrance way. Sonia’s apartment seemed full and fully-appointed. The couch and the chairs around the dining room table seemed lived in, as though they were often moved and sat upon.
I was waiting for her to tell me who the young adults smoking weed downstairs were, but she was just concerned with entertaining. “Take a seat, I’ll get us a couple drinks, vodka-tonics good?”
“—Oh, uh, okay, thanks.”
Sonia turned and confidently stalked into the kitchen, allowing the door to swing closed behind her. I sat on the couch, and having seen the cable remote on the coffee table adjacent, I reached for it.
It was a familiar remote to the one I had at home, so I turned the TV on and leaned back, staring into it. I heard the familiar opening tones of The People’s Court’s theme song burst from the television’s speakers. This reminded me that my mother was waiting for the cereal I’d said I would get a while ago, as well as any surprise liquor she might have assumed I would get for her.
This concern was was swept aside the moment Sonia burst back into the room holding two tall glasses of clear liquid, each filled with ice and holding a lime wedge on its rim. “Here is yours and here is mine,” she said before sipping from her glass and holding my glass out for me. “So, I saw you in the bar last night, why didn’t you just come over, I wanted you to.”
I sipped my drink and was caught by her eyes again. She wanted me too? I never would have guessed that. I reminded myself to keep steady, and not to show her how exciting all this was to me. “Oh well, I don’t know, I guess I was tired, musta been drunk.”
“Nah,” Sonia began, chuckling as she did. “you weren’t drunk, you just left. Sorry I insulted you.”
That Sonia remembered the insult she’d paid me and felt some regret meant a great deal to me, but I could never let her know. Immediately, I said “It’s all right,” bringing the matter to a close, and allowing me space to change the topic of conversation. “So what’s with those kids downstairs?”
She hung her head and sighed in an agonized fashion. “Just some kids from DePaul renting the downstairs.” She said this, and without any emotive aspect to her speech, she took another long sip. “They rented it out during school for the last two years, then they graduated, now they just live here.”
“Oh,” I said, taking a deep pull from what I was beginning to realize was a very strong gin & tonic. “So, um, what else do you do?”
Sonia seemed vaguely offended. “What, what kind of question is that?”
“I don’t know, one of the normal-type questions ya ask people, I guess.” I thought that my answer seemed satisfactory, and that she would understand, but Sonia seemed to be railing against social convention itself.
“Normal questions, I’m so sick of normal questions.”
I thought that maybe she was sick of questions about herself and her life because she didn’t like the answers she would give. I could understand, having himself been familiar with this type of dark dissatisfaction. “Alright then, how ‘bout you ask a question.”
“When did you lose your virginity?”
“What!?” I was surprised to the point of jolting my head back like I was dodging something. The question seemed to come at me like a blow, but considering that Sonia seemed to be playing a different game from the one I thought myself familiar with. I knew than that I had simply to let go, and a wide grin broke across my lips. “Leela Heathcoat, freshman year of college.”
Sonia rocked back in her seat, rolling with laughter. She slapped her thigh as she spoke, “Okay, now ask me a question.”
I dropped into my own mind, considering what my question would be. For a moment I considered asking something general like “What is your favorite color?” Then I considered briefly making a Monty Pyrhon reference, “What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” In the end I came up with a question I’d been dying to know the answer to. “Why did you bring me here?”
She smirked shyly. “I don’t know, I’ve been noticing you around, and I saw you at Harvest Time and . . .” She trailed off as she lowered her chin to her chest as she beamed up at me with Kilowatt eyes. “I kind of wanted to have sex with you, I guess.”