Sunday, May 31, 2020

Valerie: There goes the bride

For the past few months I have been thinking about what I would write if I came back to the blog. The world I left off in seems so different and alien, and while changes of lifestyle are nothing new to me, this is the first time everyone else has been along for the ride.

The coffee shop has been kept open for grab-and-go and mobile orders, but business is way down, which means shifts are way down, which means sitting on my butt at home like everyone else. You would think this gave me time to write, but living in an apartment with two other girls doesn't give me a ton of private time to collect my thoughts. I've started this post five times in the last month.

Indulge me for a sec while I go back to the Pre-Pandemic world to explain what things are like now.

The last thing that happened was on February 29. That was the day of Meg's wedding. To say I had mixed feelings about the situation would be putting it lightly. I'm not still in love with her or anything but I can hardly look at her without feeling a really complicated sense of loss, disappointment, resentment and guilt over how things ended between us and never resumed. I've accepted the situation but the feelings stubbornly wouldn't clear. I've been open about them, and she understands, and she wants my friendship, and I wanted hers. So, she said, her wedding wouldn't be complete without me there.

Besides, I thought. Things had fizzled with Rafe, maybe I would meet a guy.

Because I had just had my breast-reduction surgery, I needed a new dress that fit my body better. Most of what I liked from before can be taken in, but I'm definitely enough of a woman now that I will take an opportunity to buy something new and frilly when it pleases me. I brought Ariel along for advice because of the girls, she's the one whose fashion sense I most admire - kind of edgy, kind of modern, but also tuned into classic beauty looks. And I know she would never just tell me what I wanted to hear.

Ariel and I have bonded in a way I didn't with Maddie, who is a sweetheart, or Charli, who was cool. It's definitely because her coming out as bi and having her first female relationship with Charli reminded me, ironically, of transforming into a woman and starting to have relationships with men. In the past, I have told her about my past with Meg, and so she understood how this could be complicated for me, admiring that I was really dedicated to supporting my friend - as long as I wasn't there to start shit. I laughed that I wasn't there to start it, but if need be, I was always ready to finish it.

Somewhere in all this, I asked if Ariel would maybe want to come, since being alone would probably be a good way to do something stupid. I didn't even know how to broach that topic with Meg, but as luck would have it there was a last minute cancellation at the singles table, so as long as she didn't mind being "Frank Leoni" for the night, she was welcome.

We drove up to Vermont and checked into the hotel. I texted Meg to say "I hope this is better than the last time I stayed at a hotel in New England..." and she responded, "Haha, well, it could have been a lot worse." Looking down at myself, I thought yeah, I guess so. (Still hate being short though.)

We changed into our dresses. I was wearing a form-fitting black dress that accentuates my curves in a way I never got to when I had the giant boobs. I was stunned to find I really looked like I had a body. Ariel wore a light blue one that set well against her brown skin, and reminded me that my body is nothing compared to some other peoples.

Ari did my hair. She reflected on how she used to do her cousins' hair, and would be jealous, because they were white and their hair was so easy, and it took her years to not want it to go straight down like Michelle Obama's.

The wedding was tasteful and modern, with lots of quirky touches that I would expect from Meg, which goes right along with having the wedding on Leap Day anyway.

At the Reception, I was seated next to this guy Henry, a friend of Justin's. He was tall, with piercing blue eyes and a strong jaw. Very striking. He was good conversation, since like me he has lived in a lot of different places in the country.

Early in the night, the DJ announced a "Kissing Game" called "Show Them How It's Done" where couples go up to the bride and groom and kiss for them to prompt them to kiss - it's one of those things they do instead of clinking glasses because venues don't want you to do that anymore. It was cute seeing young couples kiss each other sheepishly, while the old couples full-on made out. After a few drinks, I was wanting to get in on the action.

"Hey Henry... feel like going up there?"

He stammered, "Uh... sure!"

I must have really intimidated the poor guy because he only barely gave me a faint peck. When we got back to the table, Ariel rolled her eyes.

Naturally, because it was her wedding day, I didn't get to spend much one-on-one time with Meg, but it was great to see her - bittersweet, but she looked beautiful and joyous, and even Justin cleaned up really nice. I mostly saw her on the dance floor, because as she was fond of telling me, since her knee was healed up, she had years of living to make up for. Which is all well and good but it hasn't taught her a thing because she dances even worse than I do.

When the dancing started, Henry was hard to drag out on the floor and moved stiffly, but was fun. Really, we were having a nice time and I was glad to have someone to forget my troubles with, but he had an early flight and left, giving me his number. I wasn't sure if I saw it going anywhere though..

Once that was over with, I was determined to keep having a good time, and so was Ari. We kicked off our heels and danced up a storm, pausing only for more drinks, photos, and to stuff ourselves all over again at the late night table. As the night went on, we got a little less shy about touching each other, holding each other, twerking on each other (well, she did the twerking, I did... some other awkward white girl move.) I got swept up in the moment and I didn't care.

More and more drinks were consumed and we got tired of indulging guys who wanted to cut in. We probably took it a little too far and made a spectacle of ourselves. It's not like we fell to the floor or anything, but our hands were all over each other, our eyes locked. Maybe it was just the liquor and the setting, but I was feeling things, things that I haven't felt in a very long time - not merely attraction, or interest in another person, but real hunger for them. Lust. Fire.

Eventually I just whispered in her ear "Hotel." And she nodded. We were already all over each other in the cab, tongues flecking in and out of each others' mouths, hands furiously finding breasts and hips and legs. I didn't have time to think how strange or different it all was, how unexpected - I was caught up in the moment, and I badly wanted to be.

We fumbled only a moment on the bed as we had to help each other out of our dresses, but as soon as we were it was the quickest acceleration I have felt in a very long time. We explored each other's naked bodies - which I was too excited to feel insecure about my still un-faded scars, and luckily the tenderness in my breasts was subsiding, because she really seemed to relish playing with them.

"I'm sorry they're not big anymore..." I muttered self-effacingly.

"Honey, they're perfect," Ari said to me. Then added, "And they're still bigger than mine."

It was... different, passionate, energetic. It was exciting to know we could go at a pace that women are comfortable with and not worry about the man's needs. After a bit, she said to me, "I brought something... just in case. I didn't think it would be you though."

"Show me," I said.

She went to her duffel and pulled it out. It was a... shall we say, wearable appendage. I welcomed it, let her use it on me for a while, before I decided it was my turn.


Do you know how gratifying it is to have a woman say in the throes of passion "Wow, you really know how to use that thing!" And know she means it?

It was a little clumsy, and honestly, I'm not entirely sure I liked using it better than being on the other side, but it was an amazing, exciting night that left me abuzz. We fell into each other's arms.

Then in the morning we just kind of looked at each other in shock. The spell had somewhat worn off and I was really just embarrassed, although I couldn't explain to her why. She said she was starting to feel guilty about using me for a rebound after Charli left, and maybe taking advantage of my feelings at the wedding. I told her I had a part to play too, but my frustration was with myself. After all this time getting used to the idea of dating and making love to men - and actively enjoying it - why did sleeping with a woman feel like a failure, even thought it was an amazing night?

For over a year, I had been having these thoughts, that maybe I'm not 100% straight, ever since I met Maddie, but I pushed them aside as just surface thoughts, residual inklings of who I was and misplaced appreciation for other women. But what I felt that night sure as hell was real, at least for the moment.

We decided it looked like an awkward one-time-only thing, that we could forgive ourselves and move on. Given that we were roommates now, it might be for the best if we don't pursue. I was both relieved and disappointed - relieved because I was not sure I was up to dating women again, and disappointed because I really like Ariel, especially now, and was starting to feel like maybe we would actually be good together.

And then... in the midst of trying to put that behind us and get through all of it and live our lives... Covid hit New York City. Hard. And suddenly we were locked in together.

I'll tell you more about that later.

Love and kisses,


Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Jonah/Krystle: Not Essential

I've been thinking I maybe should write something about the whole stay-at-home thing for the last month and a half, but it's been hard to get started.  It seems like I've got nothing but time now, but that's not the case.

As you might guess, I'm unemployed right now.  I'm technically "furloughed", which I guess means I've got a job waiting for me when the restaurant is back up to something closer to capacity, but that's not any kind of given itself.   To the extent that is still operating, it's because Ashlyn and Moira are working in the kitchen and making deliveries themselves without drawing a salary.   There ain't enough seats to have a bartender and two waitresses working I'd they open up at half capacity, so it'shard to put to much hope in that.

So I've been home, and on the one hand, Little Moira loves that.  We have a great time playing together, and reading.   She's only three, so she can't read yet, but she's got a lot of her favorites memorized, which is kind of amazing itself.  Momma Kamen and my folks say that neither of us were that into books at that age, but we were never locked down or anything like that.  It kind of males me worried that there's some of the man who knocked me up in her, but nobody who knows thinks it works that way.

She misses her cousins, though, and her friends from the park, and it's hard to explain to her that we can only talk to them on the laptop, especially since Momma Kamen still goes to work, if not for quote so many shifts.  It seems backward to me, because she's in her fifties and probably had more that makes her vulnerable than I do, but the MBTA obviously can't just let me take her job.  It means she does all the errands before and after work, so there's really not much reason for me to go out at all.

And I'm lucky in that way, I guess.  Karla is calling to check in on her mother fairly often, and her kids are sad about not being able to see their grandmother, plus all the drama that comes with their fathers in a time like this.  My own folks are keeping in touch a little more often, but the question of going to stay with them is something we kind of dance around.  There aren't any cases in their town, and someone coming from the big city to visit would be an issue.

And I guess I'm lucky, in a way, that I've accepted this as my life.  Hotels aren't opening in Maine until June at least, and there are some people who probably thought they were getting their lives back this weekend.

Anyway, just wanted anyone I haven't been keeping in touch with off the blog to know I'm okay.