She was on her twelfth roll of toilet paper for the day and it was only 3 pm. Not unusual, but not desirable. Thorough wiping was required these days, and with what she thought was a protruding anus, although not confirmed, she alleviated her fears by doing a thorough job, even if she bled, just a little, and couldn’t walk well for a couple of hours.
The doorbell rang, and she had to decide whether to stay put, continue wiping, her usual response, or open it, just to see. She decided to go see, job not nearly done, hands unwashed, no time, door guy might leave, she opened the front door carefully, not touching it, or anything, she didn’t have to. She used paper towel.
Mail guy, package, his hand was extended to, with the sign thing. Couldn’t be helped, she’d have to touch it, at least, but possibly could avoid him, why should he suffer just because he touched people’s hands indiscriminately.
Neatly done, avoid say, E. coli, listeriosis, salmonella, who knew what else was next, package kicked into the doorway. Although weird look from guy, as she maneuvered with sock foot, without touching the package. He looked at her, paper towel too.
She pretended to be drying her hands with it.
“Thank you,” she said.
“Have a nice day,” he answered, as he hoisted his stuff and made down the driveway, skidding a little as he went. Fresh snow. Well something should be.
She returned to the washroom, continued wiping, then washed, 2 times, since she’d missed once before. The she washed the taps, the light switch, the front door knob, just in case, and followed with a generous spray of fresh scented vanilla. Then she washed her hands from holding the vanilla spray can–you never knew when she’d held it last.
Ok that done, she entered her kitchen, and began to chop things for diner, onions, garlic, mushrooms, 4 kinds, oyster, shiitake, Portobello, and a real treat, fresh chanterelles, but they seemed slimy and not quite—fresh. She hacked most of them away into the compost and washed her hands again, 2 times, just to be sure.
Then she fired up the frying pan, adding non-hydrogenated salt-free margarine, a wooden spoon for control, and flapped and stirred, raucously everything that went into the pot.
Her cat Bob Dylan, heaved himself sideways into her legs, let out a rumble, and fell to the kitchen wood floor. She stooped to pet him, rubbed his cheek, his belly, watched his long lean stretch, and put some food in his dish, just in case, it was already full, but the sound called his fellow friend, Janis Joplin, from her sleep, straight to her food dish.
Dylan, or Bob, to the window, windows, and his daily patrol of foreign winged, and bushy tailed beast.
Another knock and her lover stood at the door.
Tall, thin, dressed all in white, his hair wispy, his voice high and almost brittle, until it warmed in her house,–all of 64 degrees F.
He was here for diner, what else, they hadn’t actually done it, or really anything in years. Just kept company, ate, talked together, watched some video or other, exchanged loneliness, and went to bed, an extra long bed, bought just for him. She was tiny, petite, only four feet eleven inches. Dark hair, wavy, steely unwavering eyes, a slight spattering of freckles on pale white skin. Very soft, very luminous. She only weighed 80 pounds. So did he likely, but then he was about 6 feet 3 inches. A vegan like her, but on the scary thin side, and he always wore layers to keep out the cold, the warmth, the prying eyes that couldn’t figure out where most of him had gone. Eyes warm rich brown, warm red cheeks, honey blondish hair.
Almost total opposites. Dark, cold steel, short petite, vs. tall, honey blond, warm brown, warm red. Thinness kept them together. Years, 15 of them, ideas, both vegan and committed, both outsiders, he a loner, she not knowing she was, but thinking she was artistic, solitary for her art, an oil painter.
He a grower, a provider for the needy, the anxious, the wandering traveler. He grew organic pot. Just enough, to keep him alive, and a select few stoned, able to tolerate their daily existences.
She grew too, more lonely, more isolated with each passing year. Maybe it was all the washing, the eliminating from her life.
But she still had him. Still had her two cats. Still had her unsold paintings. Damn the recession, the depression, it had lapsed into in her anyway.
So she cooked. Great wonderful meals. And froze them, neatly dated and labeled.
Two people that thin would need help to go through that deep freeze of hers.
Her cat, Bob Dylan was also lanky, thin, and wispy, and had a particular fondness for coloured balls, perhaps because his had been removed. They were the right size, unlikely the right color, but maybe they looked like that in longing. All the colours of the rainbow, etc.
Her cat, Janis Joplin, liked food and that was pretty much it. One name, perhaps, not quite accurate. Oh, and laps, when she was interested.
Tonight, she decided, would be different. Diner, they didn’t eat, ok, that didn’t really matter. Too much food was weighing anyway. Video, ok, opposite ends of the comfortable couch, 10:05 and bed. Cold sheets, cold house, but not she, waiting in her newest acquisition. A red teddy from 14 years ago. Still fit, actually she could grow into it some more. She was in bed first, on his side, having changed his pillowcase so as not to feel offended. She waited. He came, slightly damp, and disheveled. He found her there on his side, and at first he rather didn’t get it. Had she fallen asleep there. Unlikely, he always fell asleep before her, ok what then?
He turned off the light, better not see whatever it was, it could hide his confusion too. He pulled back his covers.
Pale white skin encased in a red, rather see through, teddy. Nipples, ass, belly, all there. All still quite . . . wonderful.
He climbed in. He’d just brushed his teeth, just washed, sanitized himself, he was ready. Up it woke, hard and eager. The wandering traveler, laid low from years of weeded sleep. He felt relaxed, strangely, as if this was what he’d always expected.
And so the routine. A few kisses. He kissed her, she him. No wait.
She wasn’t kissing him at all. She was on top of him, nibbling and biting, growling in his ear. Licking him actually. She dislodged him from his overwhelming clothing. Took hold and inserted.
He gasped. Did his best.
She purred and let loose a string of little moans, moved, astride him, urging, climbing, climaxing, in one long exquisite throatal moan. He squirted, like a juicy fruit.
“Baby night,” she called, sinking into him, sliding herself round for one more, deep delicious lunge.
“Baby night,” she whispered in his ear, tucked up into him, like two twisted pretzels. All salty now and dry.
What was the proper man call to her cries, her moans, her announcement. He lay bewildered, sweating against her and the new pillow. He held her. Whispered to her, unsure of his male clumsiness.
“I love you,” he said. “And I always will.”
Baby night, she was 45, and he well, so was he.
Baby night . . . well, you never actually knew, did you? He’d been feeling, lonely too lately, the last of his pride, having survived parental deaths. Well . . . why not. He thought of the back room, her studio, wall to wall in drying oils, drying faces, limbs, and life . . . well why not, a nursery could fit in there, amongst all the color, all the texture, all the emotional landscapes. Babies liked color, at some point . . . didn’t they? Well why not?
She tugged at his ear, bit it, and pulled.
“Some night, huh,” she said.
“Some night,” he agreed. “One, maybe, we’ll always . . . remember?”
But she was already on her side, up and rearranging blankets, pillows, her ordered world, folding and tucking around the cold, around suffocating in too many layers, too many lives. A cold back faced him, a red see-through slit, to her spine, to her crack, a glimpse of what lay beneath that order.
Tomorrow he’d search for olives, avocados, essential oils, perhaps increase his chances. Increase the lives. Meanwhile he shuffled over, wrapped his arms around her, and held on. His chin bristling on her shoulders.
She began to talk; she always did at night, a total insomniac. “What did you think of diner? Did you like the new recipe I made? What did you think of Andrea and her new boyfriend? Did you get that book I asked for? Diedra called today, said she was not going to do it anymore. Can you imagine, after all these years. Light needs fixing again in the basement. Are you going to return those videos, or am I?”
He fell asleep in her chatter, comfortable in her words, in her life.
And her words fell to silent verse, pages she would scribble in tomorrow. Useless, emotional images, captured in black and white on long afternoons, alone, at home. Just she and her thoughts . . . the thoughts of everyman and woman. Put perhaps just a little nicer, neater, more beautifully then some . . . after all she was a poet, capturing, resurrecting, deeply rooting the images of everyman’s life.