Frank felt relieved. She opened a door to further their communication. The fact that she was taking a course on character development was a coincidence. She “Swiped right to do something spontaneous.” At least she was up for an interesting interaction, but she qualified her engagement: “I have a boyfriend, I am not looking for a romantic partner.”
Frank thought about this. Was he looking for a partner or someone to have sex with? He did not think beyond that simple, single transaction — the satisfaction of his baser needs, not realizing that his needs might go on given the possibility of this opportunity and mutual attraction.
Nicole added innocently, “It’s fun to talk to different people sometimes.”
In this Frank thought that yes it was fun to talk to different people, but in doing so, there was also the question of underlying motivation. He was taking chances in communicating with someone he would otherwise be afraid to engage in person. The potential was a sandwich of rejection. He already knew that society would not support his interests. His unmet needs were defined as sex, but his attraction required someone beautiful. He couldn’t help this. Even with his beautiful past partners, he was not able to get satisfaction. This correlated to his sense of accomplishment in life, to the fact of his small dick, how she smelled, how he smelled, if he had a loss for words when they conversed. All of his lovers eventually left him. He could not hold on to them. He didn’t know what to say. He had no friends and he obsessed over his past lovers as if they were the works in a gallery, a series of lines connected to his longing. They were shapes, sounds, and ideas that he looked at and listened to and thought about. All of his relationships seemed like the affirmation of an agreement to allow obsession, which would eventually turn creepy. None of them were in his life at this time.
Frank went for years until he would eventually reel one in. These innocent birds looking for freedom, you might think, eventually he went for it. Cheating girlfriends, angry spouses who wanted out, even someone needing a green card, all seemed damaged in some way, but he had never thought about it. As he got older, these affairs grew less and less, and the last time he made love to someone he was interested in and thus not sickened by, was about 13 years ago. His reaching Nicole and continuing their conversation, without of course meeting, seemed hopeful. That’s where he was in his pathetic life. Yes, there was other evidence of a disinclination—the facts were strewn about the landscape of their discussion and he had even changed the conversation to one involving writing a short story together.
Frank worked on that part of it promising to get back to her so that she might grant him the response he wanted. He worked carefully and the days went by as he crafted the piece. He looked out of his sliding glass door onto the apartment complex approximately 50 yards from his balcony, which looked out over a pool. He had a cold. He was dressed in a gray top and bottom sweat suit with a hood. It was loose-fitting. He wore slippers. They were black Crocs-like in design with a soft black fur lining that came over the edges. Underneath the sweatsuit top were layers of black long-sleeved shirts, one of which was a female long john that he’d bought at REI on sale. Although it was a ladies large, it was tight on him and the cuffs never went all the way to his wrists. He had to pull at them. The shirt had helped him during the winters in California when he was never quite warm enough and would always get sick, sometimes four times a year. He used to think that it was because he was allergic to wheat, but even when he wasn’t eating it, he still got a cold or a flu. He would submit easily and lay in bed for days. When he couldn’t, he was miserable. This embarrassed him. He wasn’t a man’s man. He took his body seriously, like a woman might, listening to every emotional nuance.