I lay on the bed next to the boy from the writing class.
It was a water bed. I’d never been on a water bed before, but I did not tell him this.
We were in his apartment -- one room really, at the end of a corridor on the third floor in an old building.
He had invited me over for dinner. When he had asked me the week before what I liked to eat I did not know what to say.
It was as if I were finally in the movie I’d been hoping to get into, but I did not know the lines and I did not want to improvise because I wanted to stay in the movie.
“How about Eggplant Parmigian?” I had asked. We were in a parking lot. I had heard of Eggplant Parmigian because my friend Ruth had mentioned it once. She was the first friend I’d had in many years and had introduced me to many things I hadn’t know about before: bagels, discount clothing, Maxwell Parrish, modern dance and making curtains out of colorful sheets. Also, colorful sheets.
I liked the shelf of plants in Geoffrey’s apartment and the long purple tube lit up and suspended above them. My mother had houseplants, but they were geraniums and African violets that sat on window sills. This boy had plants on a back wall above an old couch covered in clothes and notebooks. I liked the unexpected green of the plants and this purple light, something new to me, something I would have been able to set up myself.
None of this could I have had in my own life, this independent home complete with waterbed, telephone with a long long cord so he could talk in the bathroom, or the kitchen, or even out in the hall if he felt like it. And the long row of beat-up records housed in old red milk cartons, and the dumpy armchair by the window with a green plant hanging from a hook with long long trails of small green leaves, a gorgeous plant that looked so perfect here.
He acts like all of this is nothing, very ordinary, and I feel like I must keep myself perfectly disguised here, not let one drop of truth emerge. I must never be found out or he will stop liking me immediately.
I want him so much to touch me, to start kissing me and I don’t know why he does not. We are lying so close, inches apart.
He has his own TV too, just for himself, propped up right by the bed. And it’s a double bed.
Isn't this the part where he kisses me?