paul one

I feel like telling stories. Confessional of a sin. A reveal of secret, though my past is never meant to be kept in shadow. Laying with you today, into tonight, laying on you & over you & and into you... the mention of hotel rooms... my favorite time of day seducing us... talk of recounting past lovers for money... lead me, hand brushing aside the gauzy curtains, one by one peeled to this perpetual nest of clothes on a floor: aka nostalgia. I treat the memory as love but it was not. I visit not for the want of unhad but simply because I can look back now from the perspective of now, of better days.

There was a man I once knew. He wore wire rimmed glasses and khakis. Nerdy but didn't know enough, nerdy as fashion; I can tell the difference now. Of course then I ate from the spoon. Drank from his cup. His computer impressed me. His books impressed me. His hands pressed me into a shape I found hard to trace and in the moment thought would never be erased. Tall in a barely six feet kind of way. Tall enough for me. Just right now that I have his frame in my mind. Bushy, wavy brown hair, brown eyes. brownish skin but white. A chest of hair. A chest for laying. His legs were what i noticed first.

Should I stop? I am not going to, but I want you to know I thought of it.

I'm 14. I play soccer. I don't understand what lies ahead for my body or my mind. Naive to the war one will declare on the other. How I will almost die to erase the pain of what can't be forgotten. How I will encase almost all of myself just to realize the true fear that comes with being scraped to the bone, to bare the responsibility of filling empty space. Choosing colors. Choosing fates. 

His name was Paul. Someone else's name was Paul. My mother named her first child Michael. Eventually his name became Paul too. Three Pauls and I suppose room for more. He was 38. Father of a friend. My employer. I babysat his younger daughter. Their house was blue with a red door, just like a house my mom, my sister, and I lived in right before my family was once and for all split apart. I am to this day fond of blue houses with red doors, because of our old house on Spring Street, but that is the beginning of an entirely different story.

What happened was my fault. Well, fault implies problem, guilt, negativity of some kind, so fault isn't the right word. I instigated. I sat for them about 4 times a month. The first time was a trial run. The mother went to a neighbors's, Paul to wherever he went at the time. Probably the library or some musty old bookstore. He thought to be a writer, but didn't actually write. I think he was lost, maybe burnt out. Everyday details, mingling in grownup reality outside of sex and other vices rarely peaked my interest. anyway they liked me, I got along well with the kid, I came recommended. Hired. The mom took an aerobics class and had a girls night out kinda thing on Thursdays every week. Paul was 'working.'

The first night I babysat alone he came home an hour before the mom was to be back. I was upstairs in the hallway, cross legged, back to the wall, reading a book, keeping an eye on the kid. "Homecoming" a book I love for its fight, the mirror I feel it holds to my life, the pride I feel when I compare myself to Dicey, and inspiration. My 3rd reading of the book. He asked what I was reading. why I'd read it 3 times in just a school year. Hanging on the words of my mother and foster care and how I wanted to be strong. From then on he treated me as though I were special, like I passed a wisdom test. He stood in front of me for a long time before sitting next to me. In boxers, legs brushed with curly hairs, smelling of a cologne I could never find in a store. A man.

Each time I went back the earlier he'd come home until he hardly left the house while I was there. He gave me this book called Andersonville to read, about the confederate prison. A book I still haven't finished. I told him about being locked in a prison, about youth's tricks, about my mother and her unpracticed parenting. We played soccer together out in the field near his house. I rode my bike past his house almost everyday, sometimes for hours just to catch him outside. My plan was to make him my friend, to find out what I needed to know from him. His eyes invaded my thoughts. I saw his feet once and wanted to squeeze his toes. Weird I guess, but I was infatuated.

We take walks along the creek near the field we play soccer in. We get wet in more ways then one. I'm his daughter at the Best Western out on some highway, farther down then I'd ever been. I'll finish this when my eyes can stay open. When I wake up. Fresh.

I didn't know him for that long.

The people in my life at this time were either people I wanted desperately to escape (i.e. my mother) and couldn't or people that I was attracted to in some way that seemed like open arms to my desperation, seemed to be desirable escapes. He was really the only one, aside from mess, that meant more to me on the inside than I led on to outside. Most of my past was for show in some way.

to be continued...

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