I met her while passing through the busy tourist ladened sidewalks of Waikiki. She, with ivory fair skin rubbed with far too much suntan lotion; adorned in a floppy over-sized sunhat and large Breakfast-At-Tiffany's sunglasses that covered her eyes like some sort of rhinestone encrusted insect; strappy stiletto heels; pink and white sundress; shopping bags in one hand-- gelato in the other.
As for me, I'm not much to look at: sun-kissed-punk-rock-warrior-poet, spouting a mangled mix of shaka-pidgin-and-Shakespeare, Tarzan-and-Tennyson, in a mishmash-ed glass menagerie of an English degree doodled on napkins. So when I opened my mouth, an out pouring of my carefully crafted encyclopedic wit and charming disposition culminated with:
And then more words followed, and somehow my stumbling bumbling buffoonery engaged her in conversation. We're standing there in the sun and the heat, talking about shopping and gelato and people are just walking past us, and it isn't until her bags are at her feet' and her dessert is melted to a puddle in her cup that I realize we've been blocking a major thoroughfare without a care for the world around us. She's not making any excuses to walk away, no artificial deadline or destination. No, she's genuinely interested in the words coming out of my mouth for some reason.
"I want to eat that." I point to her empty gelato cup. "Where did you get that?"
- - - -
She was clever. Instead of gelato we got beer, and over a pitcher at a tiki-tourist-bar I became all the more enamored. We spoke about politics and art, and hikes and beaches, we talked about eating animals, and the potential flavors endangered species. And the more we spoke the more, I smiled and the more she twirled her hair. One pitcher became two, and onward to a quaint little bistro by the ocean for food. As the sun was setting across the water, and the masts and sails like a thousand little toothpicks sticking out of the glowing sea. With an equal red glow on her cheeks she whispered:
“You might just be the best thing so far about Hawaii.” To which I replied,
- - - -
We stumbled into her hotel room, my hands exploring the curves of her body, hot unadulterated passion radiating off our meshing flesh. She peeled my shirt off and flung it into a corner of the room. We tripped out-of shoes and heels; our faces and hands unable to separate or even look down for the briefest of moments. I flung her onto the bed, she fumbled at the skull-and-crossbones of my belt buckle.
My thumb and forefinger found the zipper to the back of her pink and white sundress dress. I gave the zipper a tug; The thin metal toggle sang as it rode down the small of her back, each unfettered tooth widening the maw of fabric, and bringing me one step closer to that beautiful moment where our genitals will high-five. I ran my fingernails playfully over her bare skin from her slender shoulders down to her well toned buttocks. I'm on top of her. Our faces-- inseparable.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" She asked me between hot mouthy kisses.
"Of course not." I replied, gasping for air. My hands working their way up the sides of her ribs, opening up the back of her dress ready to pull it off, her soft flesh dancing under my fingertips.
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
- - - -
Doctors call them "door knob questions". The patient goes in, has a routine checkup and says everything is fine. The moment the doctor is about to leave the examining room, with his hand (or her hand, because women can be doctors too) on the door knob the patient spits it out-- the real reason for their visit.
"I've got this growth on my testicle and I think it might be cancer... and I've been coughing up blood all morning..."
- - - -
She had deftly avoided the question all evening, and now right when we were at the cusp of coitus, standing at the doorstep of my ding-dong's-destiny, with her hands at my waist kissing me like she means it...
There's this awkward.
"...I have a boyfriend."
I laugh, because I think she's being cute. It sounded so good coming out of her mouth, it took a second to register in my brain.
"Wait, say that again?"
"He's back in New Zealand. We're on a break."
"Does he know that?" She shrugs.
"I mean, I'm going to break up with him when I get home."
The room gets very cold and quiet. Something in the light changes: I pull my face away from hers, first by inches and then by miles. Something in me shifts. I no longer want to do this. I stand up.
- - - -
I gathered up my clothes. They were flung so casually all over her hotel room in a passionate whirlwind... and now I'm participating in the world's most depressing scavenger hunt, where the prize at the end for collecting it all is a night of self-loathing and solitary contemplation about my life's choices.
Even once I Caught em' All, my clothes instinctively fight me. It's like being a toddler again; all motor-skills flying out the window in my fevered panic to escape. My head wants to go through the arm hole, both feet in one pant leg. I don't even bother to try tying my laces; I just tuck them into the sides of my shoes. She's sitting there, scowling on her hotel room bed, her mouth slightly agape and her eyes narrowed into slits, just watching me stumble into my clothes. The back zipper of her dress is still splayed wide open, the material folded over her shoulders as if she were some life-sized-zip-up-costume just waiting for someone with character to step into her skin.
"Thank you for a wonderful night" I say to her as I exit her hotel room. I wish I had a hat. Like a bowler, fedora, or even a cowboy hat because at that exact moment I would've raised it an inch over my head and tipped it to her. I saunter off, my imaginary spurs jingling with each step.
Out in the long empty corridor, lined with perfectly cloned hotel doors end to end, I paused for a moment uncertain of what to do. "I'm doing the right thing." I said it aloud to myself in the empty hallway. And then again. "I'm doing the right thing." Louder. "I'm doing the right thing."
For some reason, I start running. Running... from a half - naked woman who wants me for purely carnal and superficial reasons, a goal I've spent most of my adult life running towards. Hotel California begins playing in my head as I barrel my way down the empty hallway and through the fire exit and down the stairwell making a mad dash in concentric circles as I descend further and further away from her hotel room to the ground floor. I imagine her giving one final piercing cackle before her room bursts into unholy purple and green flames. Because in Disney Movies, the bad guys always have purple and green flames.
I fling open the doors and spill out onto some discrete side exit flanked by concrete plant potters and shoulder high-hedges. I hear the door lock behind me with a resounding *thud*. It's in that moment I allow myself to slow the perpetual motion of my fleeing body. I turn around and try the handle. Yep, no turning back now. I tie my shoelaces and walk the rest of the way to my car.
I did the right thing.
God damn... I hate the right thing.