I woke up when sunlight penetrated the blinds, putting bright stripes along the walls and gradually filling the room with a soft yellow light. We were tucked between white sheets, surrounded by undecorated white walls. After moving several times since my teen years, hanging up the same posters that I had up in my previous apartments seemed like a sad act of premature nostalgia, and so I'd left the walls of my new bedroom blank. I hadn't given much thought to what this blank white space this might say to a girl waking up in the bedroom.
Megan, it may be obvious to say, would soon be waking up in my bedroom. I woke facing away from her, but I remembered her immediately. I lay still and listened until I heard her breathing behind me. She was still asleep.
I rolled onto my back and turned to look at her. She looked very soft and tranquil lying there on her back with her lips softly parted. Early December still hadn't brought snow, but the morning was cold and she had the blankets snuggled up to her chin. I could feel her warmth.
She'd gone to sleep naked, and I thought about reaching for her under the covers, but I figured that might break some trust-line of propriety. Is sleeping naked in a guy's bed an expression of trust that he won't perv-grab you, or is it a way to say you're open to being perv-grabbed? I decided to err on the side of caution and not risk a bad scene for the trouble of a random boobie-grab under the covers.
There was no hope of going back to sleep. I was going to have to lie there, perfectly still, to let her sleep in as late as she wanted. It was the gentlemanly thing to do. Or was it infantile, like waiting for Mommy to wake up and make breakfast? Better to get up and silently cook her an amazing breakfast of steak and eggs and home-style hash browns with fresh-ground Arabian dark roast coffee. That would be the Alpha Male way. That would be what a way better looking guy with a really great career and an amazing apartment would do.
I wasn't that guy, and I didn't have any of that stuff. I could get her some cereal and instant coffee whenever she woke up. I was there, with this beautiful but almost unknown girl, that I'd just had really above average sex with (what is gained in the joy of exploration is lost in the lack of coordination), and I had no idea what to do with her.
Hell, what was she even doing here? I had no idea what her motivations were, and I had no idea what she was expecting from me. I would have to keep my concerns to myself. It's vital to play it cool in a situation like this. I had no idea what she wanted from me. Trouble is, I also had no idea what I wanted from her.
She came; that was a big factor in my favor, no matter how things played out. Whether this was something that we decided to pursue, or if it was a one-off, never to be repeated thing, it was key that I be able to walk out with my head held high, knowing I had no trouble pleasuring a very, very desirable woman. A ton of foreplay helped, but eventually things came down to rhythm, size, and stamina. I felt a soaring sense of self-cred.
But I still didn't know what to do with her. If she did want to date me, did I really want to date her? She was more than a little hostile. I could see her dominating the situation, and I didn't know if I wanted that in a relationship.
And there was also the fact that during the first twenty minutes of our makeout session on the coach I was having a weird conflict thing about Carrie Anne, who was the girl I was usually thinking about, no matter what else is going on.
Carrie Anne had been in mind when I launched this doomed project of becoming a rock journalist. She and I had been together in university, when a guy is still able to trade on potential. Having dumped me based on that, there was no way I'd be able to win her back without accomplishing something first. That's why I was busting my ass so hard to break through as a writer, writing heaps of reviews, interviewing anybody holding a guitar, all in hopes of somehow proving myself and becoming... something.
Carrie Anne had dominated my world view ever since we broke up in university, and I began to realize what I had when I had her: a sexually voracious art freak who was smart and practical and who loved me despite my personal issues with adulthood and responsibility.
Carrie Anne was usually my final thought before I coming, and most of my thoughts when I was on my way. I even admit to thinking about Carrie Anne while I was with the two girls who agreed to go to bed with me during my two years back home in Winnipeg. I would describe each experience as a 'target of opportunity,' and neither is worth great eleboration. Suffice it to say a great deal of alcohol was consumed by all parties.
And Carrie Anne was in mind when Megan slid on top of me on the couch, and we began to kiss, and she slid down next to me and we kind of did that slithery-snake thing against each other while making out. I kept thinking, this is Carrie Anne's friend, she will report all of this back to Carrie Anne, I have to be awesome at this just in case she talks to Carrie Anne about it, we want it to be a good report, be a gentleman, be a good guy, be a good kisser but don't be too eager, play it cool, yeah, play it cool...
Carrie Anne finally slipped out of my mind when Megan began to slip out of her dress.
I didn't know where my head was now. Carrie Anne was still out there... begging me to steal her away from that asshole Charlie, whom she claimed to love. That whole thing was sticky. Now things were sticky on my end too. It wouldn't be easy to chase my ex-girlfriend while dating her friend, open relationship or not.
I was getting restless. I wanted to get up, but to do what? Sit by the window and read Finnegans Wake? Do abdominal crunches? Write in a notebook, like some kind of paper poet? Checking the email and news was my usual morning thing, but I didn't want Megan to think I was a computer junkie. Besides, I ususally have terrible posture when I sit at my laptop. It's not a good look for a girl to wake up to.
Megan stirred when I tried to roll into a sitting position. "Oh?"
she said. She rolled and saw me, sitting on the edge of the bed with my back to her. "Oh,"
she said. "Hello."
I said. "How's it going?"
she said. "I had that one-second thing where you're not quite sure where you are."
I said. "Always fun waking up somewhere you've never gone to sleep before."
"Are you getting up?"
I looked over my shoulder at her, and then rolled back down on the bed. "I have no pressing appointments,"
"What time is it?"
My watch was on the night stand. "Ten after nine."
"Oh, that's not bad,"
she said. She sat up, hugging the blankets to her body. "See my dress anywhere around?"
"In the living room. I'll grab it,"
I said, and got up again. I was wearing a pair of boxers that I'd slipped on after the sex. I found her dress next to the couch and her panties on the floor next to the bed. She reached a discreet hand out to take the clothes, and I headed for the kitchen to make coffee.
She came out a moment later, dressed in last night's purple dress. "I get to make the walk of shame,"
"Heading home in last night's clothes,"
"No big deal,"
I said. "You do that all the time in university."
"Sure, no big deal if I'm wearing jeans. It's a little more obvious if I'm wearing a gown."
I offered a cup of instant, but she decided it would be better to get coffee out, since she would need to head home anyway. I pulled on a t-shirt and jeans, threw on my jacket, and out we went. She didn't seem interested in hanging out in my apartment anymore.
"So what now?"
I asked as we stepped out and started walking toward Spadina. "Where are we now?"
"What do you mean, like, you and me?"
she asked. "I don't know. We're wherever you want us to be. We're a random if you want. There's no pressure or anything."
"We should probably exchange phone numbers,"
she said. "We should get together for something."
"Yeah, because it's kind of like, we haven't even really--"
"Yeah, we haven't really talked that much, have we?"
she finished. "Look, Nate,"
she said, pushing open the door of the corner coffee shop, "I don't want to get too heavy or anything, okay? Like, you're a cool guy, and you're nice, but I'm not sure if we're at the same place now, do you know what I mean?"
"No, I'm not sure."
"I don't know,"
she said. "Let's just see where it goes, okay? I'm not looking to get into a big emotional quagmire here."
"Okay, that sounds good."
We took our places in line at the counter. "Everything was very unexpected, you know?"
"Yeah, and I didn't plan that, okay?"
she said. "Going to see your little art show gig seemed like a laugh, and it just played out the way it did. You've got kind of a cocky but clueless thing about you that can be a bit charming. You're definitely passionate about all this stuff that you're into, but I'm not sure if you've got your life figured out yet. You know what I mean?"
I said. "Yeah. I think I know what you mean."
"I don't mean to shit on you or anything like that,"
I said. "I know what you mean. I'm still trading on potential. I think about these things."
Translation: I am still a boy, not yet a man.
We ordered our coffee. She paid with cash. I used my bank card. "But let's get together sometime,"
she said. "I'd still like to hang out."
I said, although I was already thinking past her. Megan's insight and honesty about my present state was a cold wake-up call: as hard as I was trying to play the grown-up by acting like I was developing a real career, I really looked like an overgrown kid playing with his toys.
It was time for me to figure out how to take things to the next level.
We exchanged numbers and parted ways. I hurried to get home. I felt like I needed to tear apart my whole life and figure out what was working and what wasn't. I needed to figure shit out, and I needed to start today.
|This is chapter 20 of 30. "I Sing When You Shut Up" is the fourth novel Nolan Whyte has written for Ultimate-Guitar.com. Receive updates about his work on twitter at @nolanwhyte, and get in touch with strange at endcity.blogspot.ca.|