Let’s Not and Say We Did

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Lying on his sofa late at night, Lonnie realized his schedule was killing his love life, so he imagined a scenario for increasing traffic. He devised an advertisement akin to a fantasy and set it free.

Then a woman, or so he thought, answered it.

Off they went, back and forth, first as email and then as phone text, but as it kept going she never actually spoke to him and so because of the uncertainty, he ended it.

The ad:

By my intuition and sensitivity, if you are willing to sit before me, take my commands, never of course asking you to do something you would not want, I am a features journalist, an artist, a reviewer, a curious man. I would like to get at who you are and who you should/will become. It would be my opinion of course, as a writer, who looks at life and synthesizes it. What is your place in it? Perhaps a poem would come, certainly words and feelings, perhaps a friendship.

What will time reveal? What will my truth projected onto you say about me, because it is never about the person being viewed; this is why psychoanalysts seldom say anything that would be an over wash, which is not to say that even the questions are not revealing.

Her reply: “This is a scenario I have pondered more than once! I know everyone has a their story! I have titles for different chapters in my life and often joke I need a good writer! And that I wish I had taken better notes. I don’t want to give too much. But I promise you of nothing more or nothing less. I will tell you things that will intrigue and entertain you!”

“Well, there you are,” Lonny said, “the soaring type. I don’t think you need a good writer because you come across as one, but let’s begin with Chapter 1.”

“Are you free tonight? Or should we turn the page and make for a better time?” Lonny continued.

“Let me hear from you,” Lonny wrote, “I am already intrigued and entertained.”

“Well as you know,” she said, “Trust is key! So, please tell me a little about you and this current project, please.”

And so Lonny answered: “Let’s just say that I am willing to trust that whoever you are, it was meant to be. And as the words come, I would write them down. There is nothing required, nothing demanded, and nothing implied.”

“This project is about intimacy,” Lonny wrote. “I write what I think. I might take your hand or however it may seem. This whole project wasn’t conceived as anything more than the trusting of my feelings and intuition, of being sensitive to you.”

“If you sat in front of me,” Lonny said, “a table perhaps between us, and I wrote what came to mind, I was always worried that I would be negative, because as you know what we think about ourselves projects upon that which is in front.” He continued: “The sitter, for example, does not count in a way. The painter paints, if accurately, a picture that tells the truth, a truth, perhaps is something that he sees.”

Lonny said, “I write honestly or so I think and it worries me. Perhaps, I am being too open, perhaps it is revealing me as to who I really am.”

“But, in that honesty,” Lonny said, “I believe I am writing well and it is communicating in a manner that may touch the heart, because, I believe if I am being honest, it resonates in the other’s heart. Truth is the gateway to the soul.”

“What if I told you exactly what I felt?” Lonny questioned. “Would/could you be comfortable with that? This is the experiment. You could just as easily write what you think of me, if you wanted, but I hope you will allow me the first indulgence. I may not be able to survive an interruption.”

“Sometimes,” Lonny said, “I have to be left alone to grab the thoughts passing through my mind. I believe in first impressions.”

“I am interested in describing who you are,” Lonny said, “whether in words or in some other way that seems appropriate. I will wait to see what happens.”

“I have many talents,” Lonny said.

“Anyway, I don’t want to say more than that,” Lonny said.

“You would meet me in a public place and we would go from there and maybe not,” Lonny said.

“Trust comes in knowing me in person and getting a feel for who I am,” Lonny said. “Hopefully, you are close enough so that it isn’t much of an effort.”

“PS – If you need me to be even more specific,” Lonny ventured, “just let me know. This about a friendship, a telling,” then he added the following:

“Actually, I didn’t read this very well.

“You wanted to know a little bit about me: 6’2,” 172 lbs., black hair, considered handsome and looking like I am in my 30’s. African-American, fairly well educated. Artist, writer, musician, composer, photographer, jogger.”

 “My astrology,” Lonny said, “by the way for this day was: ‘a tantalizing prospect lures away someone who was bearing down on you. Thank goodness that there are other fish in the sea.’”

“You’ve got my attention,” she said, “such a turn on a well written / spoken man. Disclaimer- if grammar is your thing. You will find me in contempt before the night is through. I am self proclaimed puncutionally dyslexic.  I tend to write like I speak and adding voice dictation to our technology has not served me well. But If I stop and analyze and critique and correct I get to be a bit too OCD. I’ve chosen to not let it be one of my battles. I was on a symposium last year: and there were grammar Nazis and just plain mean girls. At first they made me self-conscious until I kindly point it out to them that somehow I managed to obtain two degrees and probably at the time made more money than any of them.  So it was their problem not mine.”

“I am not worried about your grammar,” Lonnie said, “but I have noticed your mistakes (I am sure I have made mine). They are inconsequential to what I am thinking. I am flattered that you, and I sense an accomplished woman, would engage me,” he continued. “The point is, I think the communication simply demands an honesty at every point. I don’t plan to be mean, but I would be interested in anything that comes because this is about me and this is about you. I would love to hear more about the symposium. I am proud of you.”

 “Thank you,” she said. “Although part of that is just my defenses going up. I do know and realize the importanace of grammar and puncuation in the English Language. And that when someone is reading my work it is a representation of me. I also having two young girls in grade school, of course I do take my time with their work.”

“When is your birthday?” Lonny asked.

“I think your grammatical hesitancy,” Lonny added, “is tied only to a second glance of your work. Or perhaps it is a third glance. It is no more complicated than that.”

“I am taking note,” Lonny said, “that you have two young girls in grade school and for that reason, I can understand your need for trust.”

“Not really into Astrology,” she said, “but in the past year have seen or recoginized patterns. Especially became intrigued with Numerology. But the whole everything happens for a reason or how it is suppose to is scary.
23 is more than just a # of chance in my life,” and then she followed that closely with: “I think that the trust I was referring to has little to do with my girls. I keep them completely separate from any kind of new relationship, friendships or interactions such as this,” she said. “My previous boyfriends. Were slowly introduced and only as friends. And unfortunately even sheltering them from that still caused heartache. But that is Ch 22. Lets not put that poor dumb donkey in front of the cart.”

 “I know the trust issue revolves around them,” Lonny answered. “I also sense that you can’t meet me tonight for that reason. I say, it is what it is and that is apart of this. Friendship brews from mutual respect. Having said that I still think we can engage this project. I also want to know what you hope to garner, what you imagined?” There is always a give and take,” he continued. “I am sweeter knowing you are a good mother. We are related to each other in the big scheme of things and your friends and loved ones would demand that I take care of you. These are gentle communications,” he said, “respectful of your interests, but let us not diminish the intrigue. That’s what makes this interesting. In the meantime, I sense that I can put my laundry in the washer and perhaps prepare for a night run. I am also getting hungry.”

“Ah! An evening run,” she said. “I am impressed. How about tomorrow evening for drinks a bite to eat and I’m sure what will be a interesting conversation… I’m going to also step away get some things done and grab a bite to eat and I will answer the questions of your last email before my head hit the pillow.”

“Ok. I thought for a second you had mentioned Midland,” Lonny said, “and you did, but yes, you don’t have to be in Midland tonight. It just would have been a lot easier.”

 “Still, my clothes are in the dryer now,” Lonny said, “and I am actually getting tired. I need to eat something, a steak with onions, perhaps.”

“I am going to have to take a rain check,” Lonny continued. “The idea of you being in a hotel room alone reminds me of a story my cousin told me about my father. He was going to see a prostitute as a sailor, but his cousin saw a shadow of a man holding a bat and he kept my father from entering.”

“Oh wow. 
No bat handling shadow of a man here,” she said, 
”You are old school. I like that. 
Good Night. Looking forward to our journey… Ok. Neverminded. Sorry if I over stepped. 
But I just realized we hadnt exchanged pictures. Here is Me. Two good pictures in combo. 
They describe me well! Well my take on me anyway.”

“P.S. – 
I love grilled onions on my steak! 
L but on the pink side,” she said.

“Then maybe we should have that for dinner,” Lonny said. “Are you still going to have that hotel room?”

“I just got your e-mail,” she said. “My phone has been dead all day. I forgot my charger and time got away from me. I have no idea how it got to be 10:15PM. I can chat in 15 minutes. I am finished moving some things.”

“Fine, call when u have the time,” Lonny texted.

“I am sorry I flaked,” she said. “I am completely exhausted and I would not make a very good impression tonight. Are you going to be around in the afternoon tomorrow?”

 “Early afternoon should work,” Lonny said. “I am tired also. Talk to u when it is convenient for both of us.”

“Ok,” she said, “Will touch base with you tomorrow. Truly sorry about today. I knew I had lots to do. But wow…”

“There is no need for an apology,” Lonny said. “We remain in the adventure.”

“What we want is always harnessed by the facts,” Lonny said. “The air today is cooler, refreshing, and awakening. And so the first call by her is going to be a doosey. One’s first words say so much about the possibilities. We appear drunk to each other at the height of our idea, a free reign love affair, where reality had slipped for a moment, but now the awkwardness of something so powerful as sex has taken hold; she keeps delaying the inevitable. Perhaps, her lie is greater than mine, with two young girls at home, she is not free,” he said.

“And what is my problem?” Lonny asked. “What excuse did I have, except that my dick hangs low at the prospects, a wicked adventure it would like, a dirty passing stranger to insert, to lick, to view against the backdrop of what is actually true. The world is wholly conservative,” he said, “staid, careful with things of the heart, reminding always of two young girls as metaphors of bad relationships or good ones. But responsibility rears its ugly head when we so want complete abandonment.”

“I just want to lay next to Tricia,” Lonny said, “and devour her with my nose and mouth. But then what? What sexual favors does she grant, where she and I are apparently in the same place?”

 “No, the cold breeze,” Lonny recanted, “is a reminder that wishes, can be granted, but the truth is warm and sober. I might take her as I said in the low-lying bed, close to the floor and whispering, the smell of her head, her small shoulders, the afternoon or night of full disclosure, every inch of her body explored only to find that like me our ancient sweat, our mouths having been around for so long cannot hide the humanity, the base animalian scents and dirtiness that seems to never end.”

“No, the first thing I will do,” Lonny said, “is bury my nose in her hair then with my hands on her shoulder. I will travel down to her legs.”

“But that is what I want,” Lonnie said, “the most truthful destiny then round about her, having smelled everything, her feet, her hands, her ears, her lips, and nothing can stop this passion.”

 “I undress her,” Lonny imagines. “Pealing layers, kissing naked skin. Pulling her limbs apart, kissing her head. I have no responsibility, or so I allow, as feelings of desire turn into a kind of love,” he said.

“I stop for a second,” Lonnie said, “and we lie against each other spooning and breathing harder than better judgment can dissuade. I whisper sweet nothings. We men will say anything, and she knows this, and so she smiles. It is about free abandonment and then reality, things like this never last because so much hope has been put upon them, that the truth is just that, life is dotted here and there by these moments that later live with us as soft, pure memories that make us smile or regret.”

“The tryst is a quiet affirmation,” Lonny said, “of two lovers under a blanket. The turmoil of lust spins and twists, and the body leaks the secretions of love, and then it’s over, an awakening, as a series of emotions, of attempts to pick up where we left off.”

“And so by now,” Lonny said, “we know each other, every fantasy explained, there is no intimacy greater and we make decisions to go forward as we let it drift as men do.”

“The true responsibility,” Lonny said, “is vast. Symbols of our love for example are like spiritual or actual children,” Lonny said.”

“So I pull her arm close,” Lonny said, “and I make one last kiss before we wake, back again to spooning, and we fall asleep,” and he said this as if it actually happened.

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One comment

  1. I like how this story is written because I think it has great psychological insight. As a reader this is what I made out of it the first time I read it:

    The title immediately suggests something has not really happened. As in story 25: Conversations, also from the same book, This Way To The End, the kind of feelings and thoughts we human beings do not usually reveal to others are made explicit. These thoughts and feelings are partly conscious and unconscious and we do not usually reveal them for fear of the other person being scared and running away from us. I think this type of language appears in Lonny’s fantasy ad, how the woman reacts to it or how he imagines she would react, and in his thinking of the possibility to have a relationship with that woman, something he decides to end “because of the uncertainty.”

    To me the whole story seems to be the human dilemma of showing who you really are to the other person but being afraid of it at the same time. As Lonny declares “perhaps I am being too open, perhaps it is revealing me as who I really am.” This is important for him because he believes one’s own honesty “resonates in the other’s heart. Truth is the gateway to the soul.” I like that. In fact, a dialogue seems to appear to take place between Lonny and what looks like an imaginary talk with a woman, probably a relationship he imagines but doesn’t take place, or at least remains unfulfilled in the end.


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