Well, it was Tuesday and I had every curl in place. My dress
was tasteful and form fitting. I looked good. I thought, this
is it folks, I am betting it all on a thrift store dress,
a home perm, blow dry and curl and the last conversation we
Honestly hon, I was going for the gold with this one because
mid-thirties with five kids has slimmed the pickings down
to shady, alcoholic or married men, except for this one. This
one smells good and wears shirts with french cuff sleeves.
He's the one I wrote about in my Dear God this is the kind
of man I want letter. The one I revise every New Year's Eve
after the kids have gone to bed ever since that time I forgot
He's my best friend's boss. He is a busy important man. We've
talked a few times when I stop by their work. The last time
I saw him I said hello in my best, I'm not a desperate dame
voice. And he said, what did you say your name was again.
I told him and he said it was a nice name,a very nice name.
That was Tuesday the week before last. My friend said he asked
about me on Friday.
I spent the weekend going back and forth with my shadow.
Who wants you, nobody but those kids, said shadow. I have
a feeling about this and I know I have something to offer
so shut up. I thought I was thinking until one of the kids
hollered out defensively, but I didn't say nothing. That's
when I knew Tuesday was going to be the day. I was going
down there and do the self test.
I am a feeling and sign kinda girl so when I got off the
bus smoothed my dress and fluffed my curls I had a feeling
this was it. Either he likes me or doesn't.
I walked into the building and there he was, heading up the
stairs. As I stood in the foyer watching his back my shaking
leg caused my high heel to wobble but it was okay, he hadn't
even seen me. He seemed rushed as if he were running late
for a meeting, he had papers in his hand, important papers
With my heart racing and butterflies flapping like crazy
I moved into the center of the foyer, cleared my throat, took
a deep breath and said, hello. Time stopped. Then he stopped.
He stopped turned around and looked at me. Then he looked
down at his watch. When he looked up he was smiling as he
said hello Beverly. Then he tucked those papers under his
arm, walked back down the stairs and over to where I was standing.
We married a few years later.
The engine of the Saturn surged as he put it into park,
as if the last thing it wanted to do was stop in the dim
lot of the amusement park. He'd never had sex before but
he could tell he was going to. The girl beside him had been
rubbing her legs together the whole ride from the pool hall,
and her red skirt had worked its way up past her thighs.
They sat for a moment in silence as the engine ticked and
fell asleep. He wanted to say something about the moon,
but it wasn't visible. The only light came from the security
lamps that hissed beyond the chainlink that hugged the miniature
rides that made up the park.The discrete lot was the only
thing that interested the teenagers..
"Dad used to take me here-" He said, but the
click of her seatbelt unfastening stopped him. Her nails
grazed his chest as she took a fist full of his t-shirt.
A number of things inside him tightened.
"I remember it being bigger." He said. He kissed
her neck, felt her through the poly-blend of her dress.
His eyes could not leave the orange of the E on the gas
She guided him as a patient teacher would. The windows
fogged. The world myopic.
He took his hands off of her ass and wrapped them around
"Do you want to feel amazing?" He breathed the
words more than spoke them.
Her eyes bulged and, with a yelp like a small dog that
had been stepped on, she pushed him off and hustled her
skirt back down below her knees.
"Take me home." She said, as he struggled to
get into his pants.
"I'm sorry." He said. "I'm so sorry."
They saw each other in passing after this, but never spoke
until a similar night, a dozen years later.
The car guided him back to the lot. It had a hole in the
muffler making the old Saturn sound powerful and the power
steering was broken, making him feel weak.
He didn't remember how she had gotten into the car. Her
skirt was denim and the zipper was halfway undone. Her hand
was between his legs before he brought the car to a stop.
It was hard to park that way.
The amusement park was gone now, the fence protecting nothing
but piles of rubble. One of the heaps was crowned by a candy
striped pole that seemed to point North.
She had his jeans unbuttoned.
Things went much as they had before. There were cracks
in the derelict lot. The overhead lights still screamed
down on tufts of sickly grass that had taken root. He wondered
who paid for the electricity. Who changed the bulbs.
Just as he felt her reaching climax, he made his move.
He didn't ask permission this time. He could feel her pulse
under his thumbs, arteries writhing like worms. His grip
was too tight for her to say anything. But her eyes-
He could feel the pulse under his thumbs. Arteries writhing
like worms. His grip was too tight for her to say anything,
but her eyes were screaming. Elated.
She was enjoying it.
At the last possible moment, just as her eyes lost focus,
he released her neck and she finished explosively.
It's still wrong. He thought as he dismounted her.
"Thank you." She moaned, after she'd caught her
He adjusted the rear-view so that he could watch the plum
bruises bloom on her neck as he drove. One of the headlights
came loose on the Saturn, and when he flipped them on it
illuminated the candy striped pole at the top of the rubble.
It seemed to have changed direction.
She tried to make plans for another date, but he said he
was busy for the foreseeable future.
He had everything figured out this time, but he still felt
like crying. The Saturn sounded a hundred years old.
She was dressed in black and filled the little car with
the smell of cloves and sweat. She kissed the passenger
window, leaving a crimson smirch.
"The world is getting smaller." she said.
He thought of the length of cord in the back seat, and
the knot he'd tied in it.
The lot had been paved over with fresh tar that was darker
than the sky. The rubble, cleared away, replaced with a
superstore. He felt like he was lost at sea.
"Thank you." He said, sliding the seat back.
"Shut up." She said, and was on top of him.
He tried to hold his breath as long as possible while she
raised and lowered herself. She was breathing heavy. The
air was thick in the car as the fog was outside, like it
was bleeding in.
His body was tightening up with shame.
She closed her eyes, didn't see him reach behind the seat
and pluck up the knotted cord.
"You've changed so much." He said.
"You ruined me."
His hand rose slowly, thumbing down the knot, enlarging
the loop. She opened her eyes, and they grew wider when
she saw the cord. He grabbed her tightly and she let out
He brought the noose up and let it swing between their
faces. Slowly, he pressed his head through the loop.
"Please." He said.
She understood and took the end of the rope in her fist.
She pulled it tighter. He croaked. "Don't let go until
She obliged and the veins under the constriction grew fat
and stood away from his neck.
The world began to fog for him. He was watching her, up
and down, up and down, through a deepening tunnel. Her scream
was a strange muffled echo now that he was so far down the
tunnel. A kaleidoscope of fireworks exploded silently on
all sides. The explosion was within him,
when it had for so long been out of reach.
He was happy for a moment.
Then he wasn't.
Chapter 13: One Day in February
I reached down and grabbed his hand. I lifted his ring
finger and gently slid the small gold band on. "I do"
I replied and looked into his eyes. Tears were streaming
down his cheeks and before I knew it, I too was in tears.
Never had we thought that one day, we, this queer couple
from Logan Square, would be able to get legally married.
And here we were in San Francisco, under the dome of their
city hall, being legally married by a city official.
The date: February 5, 2004. The moment: surreal.
After we said our "I Do's" and were pronounced
"spouses for life" all I can remember is collapsing
into each others arms, both of us sobbing, arms locked around
each other, staying in that moment, not wanting to let go
of each other.
Wiping tears from my eyes, I turned to John, lifted my
now ringed ring finger, smiled and gushed "Look Pa!,
I's married now" and we were.
Indeed we were!
I lost John last year to cancer and not a day goes by where
I dont miss him; his smile, his goofy faces, his hearty
laugh, his warm "make you feel secure" hugs, his
mad computer skills, and above all his hand holding mine.
Marrying John was definitely my decisive moment.