After our first kiss, I fled to a bar, feeling a vertiginous, not unpleasant, slippage. Kate was to have been for me the amelioration of a lifetime of loss. She was also terrifically sexy, small-boned, with a dancer’s body and a flatness and throatiness in her voice which drove me wild, which seemed both strange and homely. She had beautiful auburn hair. I still regret that we did not get to know each other, because she also had a fine mind. We spent the summer having sex, leaving sweat-stains on my sheets, moving the futon close to the bay windows to catch the dusty summer breezes that smelled of car exhaust, and some days, the harbor’s distant ocean smell. At each step it became clearer that she would never love me, and I became more manipulative and desperate, until I couldn’t untangle myself from the web of rage and longing and self-deceit that I had created.
“The Burning Bed,” Ninth Letter, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring / Summer 2013).