I walked out onto the patio with a glass of wine in my hand. On a bench was a young woman smoking a cigarette. I sat across from her and said hi. We talked for a little bit then she said to me,
“Can you do me a favor?” and I said “Sure.”
She was a lady, after all. If maybe a bit young, unshapely, frizzy hair up in a bun (it was a wet winter)—at least she wasn’t a man.
“Can you get me a glass of wine?” she asked me.
“Oh…Sorry, no. I can’t.”
“Oh…Okay then. It’s just, I started this cigarette, and forgot to get my drink, and–”
“Wait, how old are you?”
“Oh! Okay. I though you were, like, sixteen, and you snuck in, and you were trying to get me to buy some shit, and I’m not going off to jail or anything. Who knows these days…”
“Oh! Haha, no, no, not at all…God, thank you! I didn’t know I looked so young. That makes me happy. I just was smoking and now here I am, and I can’t go inside…”
“Alright, well, you got cash? What do you want?”
“Yeah, uhm,” she fumbled through her bag, “here’s five, get me a glass of the house white—it’s exactly five.”
I went inside, bought her the wine (the bartender smiled at me, remarking how quick I had finished my drink), and went back outside.
She beamed and thanked me. I sat next to her. It was early in the night and no one else was around, so we got to talking.
She told me about her junkie friend—I wasn’t sure why. Maybe it was on her mind. She said, “I’ve been friends with her since we were really young—like nine years old. We’re like sisters, you know? Though, sometimes she gets really fucked up and yells at me over the phone, at 2:30 in the morning, saying I’m a terrible friend, saying I’m this, I’m that. Then, the next day, she’ll go on about all the great times we had in high school, all the memories we shared, and then she’ll ask me if I can lend her money for her car payment or rent or whatever and I’m just thinking ‘Yeah, bitch, alright, sure your car payment‘.
“The first time I realized it was a problem was back in high school. We were hanging out in a park down the street from our house—our usual spot—and she says to me ‘Hey, cover me, make sure the cops don’t come’ and I say okay, that’s alright. I figure, you know, she’s gonna smoke a bowl or down a beer or take a piss or something, no big deal. Then, she pulls out a needle and sticks it between her toes and, while I’m just sitting there, watching all of this happen and freaking out that I might go to jail or something, she passes out flat on the grass.
“I think to myself that this shit is really fucked up. And I’ve done coke and I don’t like it so much—it just makes me feel like I’ve drank way too much coffee and I get really horny—but this is something else. You don’t shoot up like that because you enjoy anything. No. You shoot up because you hate everything, and you hate yourself, and you’d rather not be alive, and being nothing is better than being anything. I couldn’t do that…I couldn’t do that to myself.”
She had a way of hitting her cigarette, then turning to me with her eyes wide—as if expecting a response. I didn’t mind it. I liked her eyes—big and brown and bright. Later, a man would point this out, laughing at her, saying that she was “very intense.” I didn’t like this man. I hope she wasn’t offended.
I don’t remember what else we talked about, or how we got from one point to another, but it was real easy. The conversation was a flowing water wheel about whatever came up other than the surface level, small talk stuff. I liked that.
Eventually, though I don’t remember how—because at this point I was already inebriated from the wine and the other beverages I had had before the wine (at my work, which has beer and wine, which I drank)—we got to talking about sexuality and she asked me,
“So, are you straight? Or gay, or bi or what?”
I said, not without smiling and stroking my beard “I’m straight…No, I couldn’t be gay. I’m too attracted to women.”
“Me too,” she said, “that’s why I have a girlfriend. Though, gosh, I would have taken you for a gay guy.”
“Why is that?”
“You’re too well groomed—too nicely dressed. Most straight guys have to make the decision between fucking Nike flip flops or Addidas flip flops and it’s just like…Neither! Fucking neither. Wear something else!”
“Haha! Okay, right, yeah, yeah, I can see that…So you’re a lesbian, then?”
“Mhm. Though I wasn’t always…”
“No…I had to go through a lot of guys and worthless fucking before I realized I was attracted to women. Guys just…They don’t care! They don’t care like women do. Let me tell you—though this is a random thought, it doesn’t really have to do with why I’m a lesbian—regardless of the girl you’re with, or what she’s like, you gotta make some sound. You gotta get into it. You gotta grunt or groan or something. Being quiet? That doesn’t cut it. Girls…You know how girls moan and sigh and squeal? We’re just making that shit up! We do it for you. So, you can do it for us, too. It’s really hot. It’s fine if you don’t really mean it!
“Though, I believe sexuality is fluid. Right now I’m a lesbian, sure, I like girls. But who knows. Maybe I’ll want a guy—it doesn’t really matter.”
“Remind me to tell you about that some time…This girl I was with, who called herself a lesbian,” I said
She laughed and said “Okay.”
We kept talking and eventually got each others’ names—her name was Taylor. I found myself growing more attracted to her. Physically, she was still the same as when I had said hi not more than a half hour ago—but I found that she was easy going. I like a good conversationalist; a person who says whatever’s on their mind without the slightest worry of offending the other person. She didn’t have boobs and—though I couldn’t see it due to her sitting down the whole time—judging from her legs, she didn’t have much of an ass, either. Yet, thankfully, she wasn’t your bulldog, short-haired, deep-voiced butch-ass lesbian—she was still womanly. I found myself inching toward her as the night grew older and the drinks fell deeper—she didn’t seem to mind. She stayed in place and kept her warmth and drank her wine and smoked her cigarettes.
We got to talking about religion. Maybe it was on my mind. I said,
“I do appreciate the Christian worldview, though…Especially the Catholics. How they feel about suffering, love, etc.”
“So do I—but that’s because I’m Catholic.”
“Oh, really? And you’re a lesbian?”
“My…We’ll have to get into that later. I do have to ask, though: Do you believe that me, as an atheist, that I’m going to hell?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well, why not?”
“Because Catholics…They don’t believe that. They don’t believe they can judge the soul of another—that’s for God to decide.”
“Then how come—and this is what I get really hung up on—how come Protestants don’t believe that? You all follow the same book, don’t you? You’re all reading the word of God. Why is it that one bunch of Christians can believe one thing, and the other bunch can believe another? Especially with a concept so weighty as going to hell just…What happened? Why? Because with every Catholic girl I’ve met—and they seem to be popping up in my life now, more recently–”
“There are literally dozens of us,” she joked.
“—with all of them, they do seem to agree that it doesn’t matter if you believe—as long as you’re a good person. So, just…What the hell is going on?”
She didn’t seem to have an answer. Her general explanation was that Protestants don’t know what they’re talking about—typical—that’s fine. I’m inclined to agree with her. But there must be a better answer somewhere.
I got up to use the bathroom, grab me a beer, and grab her a glass of wine. When I came back she was talking to another man whom she had asked to buy her a pack of cigarettes. She thanked him, acting kind and sweet; her voice rose in pitch, her eyes opened up and her words were drawn out. I saw his face—he was white and plain looking. His jaw was clenched. His neck was stiff. His expression was a mixture of hope, disappointment, pride, hollow stoicism and veiled resentment. Him and I glanced at each other without saying anything. He took a seat near her, facing away from us, and smoked his cigarette. I knew what was going on—she did, too. But just to be sure I asked her,
“So that’s how you do it, huh? You’re a girl, and you ask men for things, and that’s it? You get what you want?”
“Yeah, pretty much. It’s easy. Especially if you’re pretty like me.”
Alright sweetheart don’t flatter yourself, I thought.
“You know what he wanted, right?” I asked. “You know he wanted your pussy?”
“Yeah, of course but like…I didn’t give any indication he could have it. I just asked him to buy me some cigarettes.”
“So you were just using him?”
“Sure, I guess so. It’s easy. Then again, other times it’s harder. Like when a dude cat calls you. Or when a guy gets really mad at you for being a lesbian—like aggressively mad at you—and starts calling you names and harassing you and shit. It’s weird. Kinda scary, too. Cause, like, girls don’t do that shit. If a girl finds out a guy is gay, she’s not gonna get mad at him for being gay or anything, she’ll just go about her life.”
It was true—I nodded.
The patio was more lively now. Barflies were floating around us, some meeting each other for the first time, some talking to familiar faces. There was a blue haired woman with an unbelievable figure. I pointed her out to Taylor and she agreed—incredible figure. The off-color hair is always nice, too. I asked her if I could bum a cigarette, she obliged, then asked me
“What was it you were going to say? About some experience with a lesbian?”
“Hm? Oh, yes, right. Well, okay, there was this girl at my work—real good body, half black, half hispanic. A bit thick, which I kinda like on a girl—though I guess it depends on the girl—but…I had no emotional attraction to her whatsoever. None. Great boobs, wide hips, big ol’ ass, pretty face—good looking girl, for sure…But we didn’t see eye to eye. I didn’t like talking to her, I didn’t like her jokes, I didn’t care about the shit she said or did…There was just nothing. Nothing there. For either of us.
“Yet, we still got all touchy feely, all physical. I came over to her place one time, we had some wine, some dinner, some TV, began massaging, that sort of stuff—eventually got into it.
“We didn’t completely go at it—cause I didn’t have a condom, and I didn’t know what the hell kinda thing she had going on and, plus, getting her pregnant is the last thing I want. But you know I still licked her pussy and she sucked me off and all of those sorts of things…
“Anyway, it was after this that I realized I didn’t like it. I didn’t like any of it…I didn’t want to be with her. It’s not that I regretted it—especially now given what I’ve learned—it’s just that it didn’t feel right. It felt…”
“Unsatisfying?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah, for sure. That’s the word I’d use. Completely unsatisfying, unfulfilling…A little gross.
“Anyway, she always claimed to be a lesbian—dated girls and stuff. I think she just likes the physical attention. She likes what feels good.
“That’s when I decided that none of that stuff really matters. Right after that I fell in love with this really great woman but she told me she was Catholic and I wouldn’t get any action and I told her I didn’t care! She laughed, she thought I was lying, but I meant it. I really didn’t care…I just wanted her, and her personality, and those sorts of things. I didn’t care about the sex part of it, because I just wanted what she wanted. I hope she got that, I think she got that…”
Taylor was smiling and she quickly turned her head, faced toward the door, away from me, then said,
“Well, shit, I’d bang you.”
I laughed and said, “What?”
“I’m serious! Yeah dude, I don’t beat around the bush, I’d bang you. You’re a good looking guy, I don’t care–”
“But you’re a lesbian! And you have a girlfriend!”
“Yeah but all that sexuality stuff is fluid, you know? That’s what I believe, anyway. I bet it’s that way for you and you don’t even know it. One day I like girls, maybe the next I’ll like boys, I don’t know, fuck it.
“And…I sort of have a girlfriend. We’ve seen each other for a month, it’s not really serious and even still it’s…whatever.”
This serial monogamist, Catholic lesbian was turning out to be none of those things. I still wonder, especially more so after meeting this woman, what being a “Christian” means. I’d say she was a good person, which is the baseline of all good Christians, but where does the Christianity come in? Where does her sin begin? She must know that, according to the Bible, she’s essentially cheated on her past lovers with other lovers. Does she feel guilt? Does she confess for those sins? Or is she a radical interpreter who makes up her own rules of sin and virtue? In the end, God probably doesn’t care. Or, rather, that’s what I believe—for now.
“Well, listen,” I said, blushing, “I’m flattered that you find me attractive, but I’m not really interested. It’s a nice offer, though. Maybe you can come over sometime…We can keep talking and drinking.”
She agreed it’d be nice. Her and I—naturally, with social curiosity—got to talking to the other floaters, drifters and drinkers.
The night ended sometime later when, sitting on top of a roof of a random jackass’s apartment, looking out onto the city, I got up to use the bathroom and didn’t come back. On my way out, she said to me “I hope you come back” and I pretended like I didn’t hear her.