I don't date much. Pretty much everyone I know who has wound up staying or stuck where the Inn put them seems to put their old life behind them much more practically than I do, including the parts where they go decide their body has different needs or unlocks something they didn't realize was there. Especially that - every once in a while I'll be talking with Jordan and she'll just casually mention the way the guy she was with picked her up and put her against a wall or had her wrap her legs around him and that it's super hot because of how much she used to weigh, and I don't really know how to respond to it. Like, my history since the Inn is avoiding being around other people, getting pregnant from a one-night stand because the guy with my face wouldn't give it back otherwise, pregnancy/new motherhood as an excuse not to, half-assed husband hunting, one guy who dumped me when he found out about Krystle's history, and then a lot of things that didn't take. Well, mostly. I'll get to that.
There has been someone over the past month, though. It started at work, a day where I've got the chance to do more than be eye-candy at the front desk because someone's out sick. He's a guy who comes in alone, about forty or so, not in bad shape at all but probably starting to notice things are getting a little harder. You work in a gym, you get kind of familiar with that sort of guy. Some of them stick with it, a lot don't, either having trouble fitting it into an already busy life or just deciding that, shit, having a bit of a gut is a natural part of hitting middle age, and why pay this much money and that much time to fight nature? Anyway, a thing a lot of them tend to do at first is either think that something is as easy as the people with some experience are making it look or figure they can start at medium difficulty and move down if they have to. Anyway, this fellow is part of that last group, which means he gets halfway up a wall and freaks out. I've got to help him down, and he just won't stay still and let me help, so my breasts are in his face at various points, I'm tightening his harness and pushing at his butt, and, believe me, it's not nearly so sexy as it sounds. It's kind of embarrassing for us both, and he kind of dashes away afterward.
He shows back up a few days later, though, and starts on a beginner's wall, and does okay. He comes by the front desk to apologize afterward, and I say it's no big deal, but he persists and asks if he can buy me dinner. I'm not quite Krystle enough to make a wisecrack about if he always finds out whether or not a girl's breasts are real in advance, but I do say yes, maybe because I've got June already being engaged on my head. Long story short, he's a good-seeming guy, doesn't freak over me having a kid or being more into sports than fashion, and I think I'm pretty level-headed about him being divorced.
We have sex on the third date and it's good. It's been a while for both of us and I kind of know that I'm not nearly as good at this as folks would assume someone with my appearance would be, even if they don't know Krystle's life before me being in it. We start seeing each other once or twice a week, although I don't take him up on his offer to watch the fireworks show on the Fourth from a boat in the river. Moira had been really excited about that and I'm not quite up to including him in family stuff.
So that's all nice and normal, or at least feels that way, but then we zip ahead to this past Thursday. I'm heading into work more dressed-up than usual - blazer, pencil skirt, pantyhose, heels - because I'm coming from a job interview. I like my job, a lot, but this fall will be "my" thirtieth birthday, Moira's bright enough that I really should be saving for college in addition to trying to move out of Momma Kamen's apartment, and jobs that give you raises to keep up with your needs is just a myth boomers tell. I'm not qualified for a lot, on paper maybe, but I've filled in for a lot of roles that aren't technically part of my job description over the past couple years, and while I don't really get what all the low-unemployment statistics mean, everyone tells me that it's a good time to find something that pays a little better and has better health insurance.
Anyway, I look pretty good, although maybe a little deflated because maybe I aimed too high looking at an assistant-manager gig, but the point is, as I'm walking toward the gym, I'm getting looks, and it's a little tougher for me to pick up the pace as someone gets up from the bench he'd been sitting on and walks to me because I'm in four-inch heels. Fortunately, he's not a threat, although it takes me a minute to recognize Gabriel.
I mentioned him once on here, but all we did after that was go to Flour the next day, chat a bit, and then follow each other on Instagram before he went back to New York. We like and comment on each other's photos and stuff, and I consider him a friend in the way I do a lot of people I've only met online. I seemed to recall he'd talked about being in Boston at some point in July, but it never got farther than that. But, apparently, Momma Kamen really likes him and pointed him at where I work.
And I do get kind of excited when I see him - my voice goes up a bit, I talk about how I'm looking to see what's out there. He asks me out for dinner after I get off work, I say sure, he comments that he'll make sure he gets into a suit by then, and I say there's no need, if we're just hanging out. As soon as I get into the changing room, I sent Karla a text asking if she minds Moira staying a bit late, and she says it's fine - as much as we don't always see eye to eye, Moira and her cousins adore each other - and sends me a couple eggplant emojis after saying she expects to stay over. I roll my eyes.
I roll them a little less when Gabriel texts me a shot of himself in a suit, although I kind of grumble about getting back into my interview clothes. He looks even better in person, and he's booked a table at a fancy Korean place near the theater district, and I won't lie, I really enjoy being there and not feeling out of place. We talk way past dessert, and then it turns out we're close to his hotel. We get a drink at the bar, he invites me upstairs...
... and what we do next is motherfucking amazing!
I'm not going to describe it too much, because I still kind of think that's private, but sounds came out of me that I'd never made otherwise, and even after he'd gone limp, there were still waves passing through me. He looks at me with this weird grin on his face, and we're both like "what?" a couple times, and then I start laughing, because he'd never believe me if I actually told him that this was the first time I'd actually had an orgasm.
He falls asleep with his arms around me and I just kind of think about what that means rather than try and get out. I mean, I grew up pretty religious, and while most of my friends sort of got to "well, maybe getting laid won't immediately send you to Hell" at a certain point, that's when I became Krystle and was sure this was some sort of test, and then my first sexual experience was just awful and degrading - Ashlyn tells me I shouldn't even think of it as consensual! - and made it easy for me to think of the whole thing in pretty bad terms afterward. Even when I started dating, I felt kind of weird about enjoying sex - it felt good, but it was something where I felt bad about it feeling that good, if it makes any sense. I was supposed to be a guy, and even if I wasn't, good girls shouldn't be doing this, if only because what can happen (I love Moira more than anything, but I don't have any idea how Karla handles three kids; it would break me).
This feeling, though, was sent from God. Or maybe the Devil, but God's the one who made women able to feel it, right? I don't know; I just kind of felt like I understood something for a moment and felt like maybe living this life wasn't just some sort of responsibility I couldn't shirk because of Moira. It felt pretty good to fall asleep with Gabe's hand cupping my breast.
I wasn't thinking such grandiose things when I woke up in the morning, but I felt a bit lighter than I usually did. I answered one of Karla's texts with a smiley face and let Gabriel treat me to breakfast. I kind of felt like I should feel awful - a terrible mother still wearing yesterday's clothes after leaving my little girl with someone else on short notice - but I didn't. Heck, when my boyfriend saw me kissing Gabe goodbye as we went our separate ways on the T and tried to make me feel terrible for it, I just kind of shrugged it off. I liked him, but this one night had been better than the past month (it was at least almost as good) and he didn't have any sort of claim on me. I felt bad, but also kind of wondered whether I'd just been accepting that my future might be determined by whoever was interested enough to ask me out at a moment when I was single and didn't have any obvious warning signs.
(That's why I haven't bothered to include that guy's name in this post; what's the point?)
I don't think that's just about "wow, I came, and now I know a woman's life can be more!" Still... I dunno, between I feel like having willingly had sex with two guys in the past week and it not entirely being a step toward something else doesn't feel like me.