The good, the bad, and the sober, there is nothing more sobering than being a bartender. That, and now Jodi is making her watchful eyes very noticeable. I don’t both she and Benji not talking to me, so this job couldn’t have come at a better time.
Even Benji and I manage to be a bit more comfortable around each other whenever he is in the bar. Maybe because there is a large object between us at all times, or he is being nice for free drinks. Either way, I am excited to be on lukewarm terms with him.
“Hey babe, this is Emily, she was in dance class with me and works a shift or two whenever she is in town.” Jojo introduces me to Emily on my second day of work.
“Jojo says you have some great moves.”
“Thanks! I miss dance classes, but Jojo keeps me loose and limber with nights out in San Francisco.”
“Let’s see what you got?”
“Oh, you’ve never been in Triple Rock when you were a freshman?”
“Val is a bit of a bookworm,” Jojo teases.
“Can you follow if I lead?”
The next thing I know, Mikey is lifting each of us onto the bar as the music cranks up a few notches. I follow along with Emily and Jojo the best I can. Wow! Emily can move. Now, this is a side of bartending I did not expect. I can’t stop smiling. Dancing always makes everything better. Or is that champagne, either work for me.
I glance over to the pool table to catch Benji watching with a grin, and this makes me smile even bigger. Then I get a raised glass from Jodi. I am back in with everyone’s favor, for the night. I’ll take it.
“That was fucking amazing!” I scream at Jojo and Emily.
“Jojo was right, you can move. Now, I never want to step foot in this place and hear that you ladies aren’t passing on my bar dance traditions. Too many science and engineering nerds at this school, we dance major need to claim our spot here too!”
I shake my head at Jojo, didn’t want her to fill Emily in on the fact that I am one of those nerds. Don’t want to burst her bubble or my high right now. Maybe Triple Rock is my cure for shameless nights after all.
Do you hear the loud screeching brakes? Or is that just in my head? How long does and addict last before they need a fix? It takes 21 days to break a habit, so they say. Obviously, my sobriety didn’t last 21 days. There is no better day to fall off the lust wagon, then the reality of being alone on Valentine’s Day.
All my life, this day has just been a big, make fun of my name day as well. So, in one aspect, I have grown a tough skin as it pertains to Valentine’s Day. Thanks to Benji, again, all of a sudden, Valentine’s Day cut through my leather, and the next thing I know, I am putting on lace.
Last Valentine’s Day there was a big party that we all went to, so Benji and I weren’t officially Valentines. This year, not a worry there, I have no Valentine. And for once, Valentina is sad on Valentine’s Day. Boss wouldn’t even let me pick up a shift as a distraction. I settle for a night out with my favorite dance crew.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come out with us tonight?” Jodi asked one last time before she goes.
“Sorry, I don’t want to be a downer for you all, especially Benji. I want his Valentine’s Day to be fun. An ex on Valentine’s Day is not fun.”
“Wait, did you just refer to yourself as his ex?”
“Good-bye Jodi!” I push her out of the door before she is able to analyze my momentary Freudian slip.
Or was it? Is all this time without Benji making me see that he was a great boyfriend? Frustrated that I was such a horrible girlfriend? So bad that I didn’t even consider myself his girlfriend. No time for all of this.
Leather and lace kind of night. I put on a lace one piece and leather pants and ankle boots. In the Bay Area, you never know what the weather holds, so I polish the look off with a vintage biker jacket.
Laughing at myself in the mirror, I look like Sandy, from Grease, in the final scene when she transitions from goody two shoes to va-va-voom. How easy it is to live a double life.
I am so grateful to be partying in the Castro District tonight. It’s all love here, for everyone and no one in particular. It’s bottomless champagne flutes and music. Fabulous people out, enjoying the night. Bodies pressing up against me. Sweet and tender lips kissing me on the dance floor. I may not be interested in going home with any of the women here, but I am allowed to enjoy making out with them. Allowing their desires to erase all the guilt and shame that has crept into my system.
Why can’t it be like this all the time? Maybe I should have been born in the ’60s, imagine the free love that flowed through these doors and onto these dance floors back then. No ownership; titles of boyfriend or girlfriend, just shared passion. passion ran free then. Whether your passion was for rebellion and standing up for something greater than yourself. Or for both men and women, you don’t have to decide. Or for hallucinations and escape; often finding yourself in amazing creative spaces.
Tonight, I am here to enjoy the autonomy, thanks to those who founded San Francisco and grew this city with the inspiration behind Marxism. We move from bar to bar and dance floor to dance floor. And just like every night that starts in the Castro District, we find ourselves at The EndUp.
“Looks like this time you’re dressed perfectly to ride the back of my bike.” Mr. Leather! Now, this is a perfect Valentine’s Day gift.
“I can say the same for you.”
“I was back here a few times looking for you earlier this year.”
“Yeah, I needed a break from you.”
“Me? What did I do?”
“You are the kind of woman that makes a man like me think about an honest life.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want that, would we? So, you over me then?”
“No, but I have proved I can go months without you. So at least I’m not addicted.”
“Good thing darling, because addition sucks!” I would know.
“You sound like you may know a thing or two?”
“You sound like you are talking too much.” I kiss Mr. Leather. Oh how nice he kisses.
Mr. Lether is like that amazing outfit in your closet, you forget it’s there and when you find it and put it on, you remember how good it feels. Or synonymous in addition, like that first sip of really good whiskey. Your body remembers the smoothness, the burn, and the buzz.
Pace yourself, Val, you can enjoy a bottle all night long. Finishing the night satisfied and okay to put the bottle away until next time. I look to see two helmets on the bar in front of him.
“Excited.” As he guides my hand to his crotch. Oh, yes, it’s all coming back to me now.
At least Jodi can’t be upset with me. Mr. Leather is far from a stranger. We know each other VERY well. We wave bye to the crew, who are all busy bumping and grinding with their V-day friends.
The cool air sobers me a bit, I stop to inhale the eucalyptus, reminding me of the first time with Benji. Straddling the bike brings me back to the moment. The feel of the vibration of the motorcycle stirs every cell in my body as Mr. Leather starts the bike.
It hasn’t been 21-days, but it has been way too long. I’ve even been too self-conscious to masturbate when Jodi is home. My juices begin to flow like the Mississippi River in springtime, flooding every inch between my thighs. I grab tightly around his waist and allow my head to rest onto his back, practicing trust. Tonight, a familiar body is exactly what I need. The thought of a stranger tonight felt very dirty. This, feels cozy and warm, like cuddling up to a bonfire at the beach.
Mr. Leather’s place is still as immaculate as I remember, definitely not your typical bachelor’s pad. I remember at times wanting to know more about him. How many men have impeccable taste in interiors as well as an amazing art collection?
Even from the one semester of Art History, I know the rough value of his collection. I also know that there is a lot of art on his walls that I don’t recognize, not saying that I know all artists classic and new, appears to be a personal connection to the artist. Displayed in his bedroom is a series of nudes that have so much passion in their eyes and arousal on their bodies as if he painted them in the moment of orgasm. I want to ask if he is the artist or knows the artist that well. But then I would know him too personally.
We agree that we like the sex without falling into each other side of this. We both admit that we dance on the edge of the cliff because we can’t deny the connection and chemistry, as well as move beyond a one-night-stand, the potential is at our doorstep. We don’t even dare speak in between rounds.
Once in the door, he lifts me and allows me to straddle him as he carries me from the doorway to his bedroom. A flashback of our first night hits me. We didn’t even make it past the doorway at first. Even a few times after, we always started in the common space versus his bedroom. We ended there but never started there. Now, he easily shares his place with me. Taking me straight to the bedroom.
Lying me on the bed, he kisses me, starting with my forehead. Making sure he doesn’t miss an inch. Will I become one of his paintings now? My eyebrows, eyelids, cheekbones, nose, lips, and chin. Taking his time. I keep my hands pinned down so I can not respond, giving fully into the moment.
He smells crisp and clean with a trace of the city on his skin from our ride here, which only encourages my flow. I am so wet, the scent of me rests in my nostrils. But his lips, so full, so soft and completely worth the wait. My pussy remembers the talent of his tongue and although she is pulsing eagerly, she is patient for her turn. For her chance to come.
He savors this moment as he moves down me. Every kiss feels like a drag of a cigarette, the inhalation of a joint, the burn of whiskey going down. The excitement of champagne tickling the back of my throat with a million bubbles. The freshness of the air after a stormy night. Some addicts go for the high that takes them to the escape. I go for the breath, the life that my drug gives me. I inhale deeply into the crevices of my desire.
I give freely, every nerve, every cell, for him to stimulate and fill. I give up all control. The need for this to be the best high. He can have full control of me. I want to just be here in the pleasure of it all. To feel without a conversation as to what I may be feeling. To taste without the need to know if it’s sweet or savory. To allow without having to know the consequences. I want to be the feather that flows easily in the wind as it falls. For some reason, with this man, this pseudo stranger, I can fall completely in trust.
We passionately explore one another all night, again and again. Rolling from one position to the next. Some we have done before, a few new ones this time around. No word exploration between rounds, just breathing. Like we both are the exhalation the other needed today, at this moment. And before either of us could drift to sleep, we are once again ready for our fix: another syringe to the veins, another inhalation of powder in the nose, another empty shot glass, another drag of everything.
We both need this dose equally. At times I draw energy from the paintings around us, tap into the passion they hold, allowing them to ignite my fire. I imagine if our bodies were paintbrushes and his sheets a canvas, what would our portraits look like right now? Would we be a series of thunderous skies and tsunami size waves? Or raging California wildfires? Would we look like lovers at play? Or strangers moving through dark alleys? Each vision in my mind feeds my curiosities which only makes me want more of him. Until finally, as his breath turns to a snore, I get up and call my cab.
I don’t care what Jodi thinks, I don’t care if she is awake or asleep. I walk into the room, grab my robe and cabbie, and head to the showers. Washing away every kiss, every inch his lips touched. Cleansing away any pleasure I have allowed and enjoyed. Squeaky clean and ready for bed. Too bad you can’t scrub the brain. The memory. The trigger. The addiction.
Triple Rock did curb my impulses. But what happens when you starve any animal? It becomes more vicious in its search to cure the famine. For weeks I am on great behavior, even back to my old self, focused on my grades and being the best student I can be. Then the wagon tips over, and what a spill.
Mr. Leather and I manage to stay pretty consistent. As I said, this helps with my guilt and shame. I know I don’t have to explain myself to Jodi, but I do tell her when I a heading out to see Mr. Leather so that she feels better about it all. It still disturbs her that I refuse to know his name. But at least she feels that I am being more responsible during my binges.
Jojo and Emily, of course, drag me out whenever I allow them. I prefer to use the focus I have after every fix towards school. It's getting to the end of my Sophomore year here. I need to think about internships and of course, my classes are getting a lot harder each semester. At least when I feel like I am being a bad student, I for whatever reason am more motivated to prove myself the perfect student.
With the job at Triple Rock, I decided to take some classes and stay on campus this summer. I can get a bit ahead and ease my load a bit for Senior year as well as make great money for my move to New York City, once I land my dream job there.
Maybe that’s what I will do tonight; drive down to see mom and Stella, have a Working Girl movie night with them. Working Girl always gets me in line; more focused, ambitious, and centered on my goals. And at home, I am always a good daughter, my addictions don’t touch me there, my primal instinct is to please my parents is greater than any need to feed my body.
Summer classes are easier than other terms, shorter and more condensed. The classes are so small you get great attention from the teacher. I am able to work every night after class and go home on the weekends. At first, I feel bad about staying up here for the summer, but then I realize how much everyone down there works, at least on the weekends we do get good family time.
Dad and I find our groove in the kitchen in the mornings, making fanciful breakfasts. Stella and I fall easily into our routine of me taking care of her and she resenting it but secretly loving it. With me to help Dad with the bar on Saturdays and Sundays, Mom starts performing those nights. She actually gets the band back together, not everyone ages, as well as she, has though. Still, I can see how happy she is when she is up on stage.
The summer flies by, it is easier to not miss Benji when he isn’t on campus and in my face every day. I keep up with how everyone is doing through Instagram. I don’t post anything myself, I just follow my friends and live vicariously through their social media life.
Even though I am quite the techy, I can not seem to get into social media myself. I can definitely tell you how to build your profile and create a more interesting life than your real one. Manipulate how you make “friends” and your social value. Build your blogs or websites, but don’t ask me to share any part of me on line. I actually avoid my iPhone at all cost and try not to spend my non-academic hours away from my laptop.
And here is an example of why. I see that Benji is posting a lot of photos with the same girl. Now I find myself cyberstalking him. So best that I leave all gadgets at my dorm and try my hardest to be in the real world every day versus the virtual world. But as much as I try to avoid it, I can’t help it, Benji has a girl and she ain’t me.