tagIllustratedA Woman's Story of Love Ch. 65

A Woman's Story of Love Ch. 65


A woman's story of love in one hundred episodes

Part 65.

"The Real Thing" (F).

Mitchell entertained our guests with his account of going earlier to buy a cake for the small gathering. He'd realized at the store, after paying, that he'd made a mistake riding his bike there. How would he get the cake back safely?

The worker suggested putting it in a sturdy box Mitchell could tie to the back of the bike. But he worried the box would be crushed or the cake shift inside.

Finally, he saw he'd have to walk the cake and bicycle home. The trip was only five blocks, not far, but would take long, as using both hands, balancing two unwieldy objects, he'd be forced to go slowly, like someone "with a mild disability."

His brother Will's talk of starting to learn my language- "at least some phrases"- led Mitchell to bring up his own efforts (showing off), a proficiency test he'd taken and passed (barely, and it was for beginners).

He then spoke of helping me learn English. We used to review my study lying in bed. I'd read exercises aloud and he'd correct. One phrase he singled out to teach me was "all along." He seemed to feel it was important I knew that, gave an example.

"All along I loved someone else." Was he talking about the end of his involvement with Pam, his former girlfriend?

I asked if there was a way to say it in the negative, using "ever" or "never."

We made a game. If I made an especially bad mistake on an exercise, Mitchell slapped my bottom. I was lying on my stomach flush against the mattress, only risen on my elbows in front to read and speak, so even when Mitchell's slaps landed hard just the flesh of my rear moved; the rest of me stayed sill in that stable pose.

Mitchell recorded the reading so I could hear my pronunciation later and improve it. And he ended up keeping the sound recorder on when the practice finished and I went down on him (I guess this came to my mind because of Brody's talk about "shakuhachi").

He brought the mike close; the sound was enveloping, percussive, of my breath. It started loud and quieted gradually, diminished toward silence, in a sort of cowl, repeating and long, vanishing cascade, or like a lion roar in reverse, breath tapering to its softest. There followed sounds of wet and popping release. I felt Mitchell's hardness.

He said he listened to the recording when I went to Japan, on the phone told me it made him feel we were close together.

I think Mitchell talked about his study of my language and my learning his to rub into Will that he was in a stable relationship with me while his older brother still only approached Saki from a distance. Mitchell gloated some.

Of course Saki was the reason Will had taken up Japanese. "A fool's errand," Mitchell called it. He had used the same word ("fool") about Will's friend Brody, whom I talked with at the party.

Nothing had really happened between Brody and me, and he left early, had things to do, always busy with his music, he said.

For his work friends, Mitchell made a joke of troubles on the job during the week.

"I'd planned the perfect lesson. It came to me in a moment of pure inspiration. Only problem was the class I teach needs something simpler. They wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of the material I had for them. What's more, some of the students would get angry at me for wasting their time- despite my best efforts! Ha ha! What can you do?"

I'd heard this- anyway, reports like it- many times. And it really doesn't have much to do with the daily life I lead, my problems. I'd help if I could, but Mitchell's job is up to him to handle- as I take care of mine: painting, housework. Still, the two coworkers in our apartment, Ray his boss and one other, found his tale of travail amusing. Joe, who holds the same position at the college as Mitchell- wiped away a tear of laughter. Had he suffered similar difficulties on the job? Or did he find Mitchell pathetic, laugh to spare his feelings.

Can you read more about that night, that night?

The coincidence of the phone call, just minutes after Brody left, was worth writing about in a diary. The face to face conversation between us (last pages) came almost as unexpectedly as the disembodied exchange that followed just minutes later. I thought for a moment the caller might be Brody, but he wouldn't do something like that, isn't the type. He's happy, outgoing, not secretive. He has a musician's character- that of a band member; different from Marcel, who played the guitar solo, I think. I spoke in the kitchen looking at the wall, all but unconscious of the phone in my hand, trying to picture the person who went with the voice. I saw an infinitely extendable body, limbs capable of reaching all the way through the space separating us.

And the end? I care about the end, with Mitchell sunk in me as usual while I throbbed on him.

Mitchell talked about his own experience- he'd drunk wine-when we weren't yet together officially, he was still with Pam (comparing this to what Will was facing if he went for my friend?)

He started by saying Filipinos were like Hispanics in a lot of ways.

"Of course they are," Will said, scoffing at the common knowledge his brother had presented as if it were a discovery in which he took pride.

"The Philippines were a colony of Spain, picked up the culture," Will added.

Pam (Mitchell's former girlfriend) was from the Philippines, so I wasn't the first Asian woman he'd been with, chosen.

He woke up in bed, he said, and thought I was still there, in the living room. Through the open door he called, "I miss you," then, "How was school?" I'd gone to his apartment from the college that afternoon.

Too late he saw it wasn't me but Pam whose figure he'd spotted. She'd come home.

"Midori must have left while I dozed," he told us.

He looked around to see if we appreciated the predicament he described. His slightly challenging expression, eyebrows raised, suggested those few words couldn't do it justice. We shouldn't take his story casually.

"I got up and tried to cover my mistake. 'Yeah, I miss you' and 'How was school?' Pam took a course in those days.

"Deadpan. She let the words go right by. Sadness. Anger. Sadness at the need for anger.

"'She was here, wasn't she? When?'

"I had no choice and owned up, my tone defensive as it had been from the beginning, I guess- that was a giveaway.

"'You feel bad because you're caught,' Pam said, pretty irate in my living room. She had keys. That made things tricky.

"I said, 'I feel bad not because I'm caught but because I can't see the woman I want. You're stopping me.'

"And believe it or not, she and I made up after that. We didn't really break it off with each other until months afterward."

Mitchell laughed, finding the experience funny now that it was safely in the past.

Maybe to spare me embarrassment, one of the guests, Ray, Mitchell's boss, interrupted to ask about my art work.

"Those are yours?" He pointed to canvases on the walls, first one ahead over the bookshelf, then to another on the side, taking uneven light from a table lamp.

Instead of talking about myself, I said, "Why don't you ask which painters I like?"

He did, and I mentioned a Cuban who thought art should serve a social purpose, bring people together to change things. My work wasn't like hers but I liked her originality.

Mitchell went back to his talk, directed it at Will. "So really, be careful before you consider two-timing." (With Saki, he meant). Stay with Josephine, he was advising.

I agreed with his suggestion, but that's off the point.

Mitchell laughed.

I remembered the night he'd spoken about. I'd left his home in anger when I learned Pam might be visiting. "Stay longer. There's no hurry," but I wouldn't. Mitchell implored, laughing then too, as if there was no need to be serious.

I also remember because the next time I came over to his apartment I found Mitchell waiting for me naked in bed, face up with an erection. I guess he thought I couldn't resist that. I could have but didn't. I came on top of him, and he turned us over so I was underneath.

I remember because that was one of the strongest sessions of lovemaking in those early days when we were still just getting to know each other.

Once, much later, after a lot had happened, Mitchell asked if his aggressive sex reminded me of the man who raped me. We'd just finished and he was- he looked, sounded- not apologetic but a little contrite, worried he had gone too hard.

"No," I said. "You're nothing like him. He was mean, liked to control and terrorize women." (When I pleaded, he mocked me, repeated "_____! ____!" imitating my pronunciation). He was different even unto his dark olive complexion.

"So beautiful." Does he have a sensitive soul, appreciation of beauty?

I remembered Mitchell's hands kneading my bottom, oily from exertion and motion. He brought my haunches high. Pam wasn't there, and I called out.

We used to play a game, "smear lips," that Mitchell made up while watching me put on makeup. But that's also off the point. It had to do with kisses and then fingers and blending of lipstick and foundation, leaving trails in the hollows of my cheeks that Mitchell thought aesthetic and drove him aggressive, his penis and loins like a wolf's.

Mitchell teased his brother.

"Saki? Isn't that the stuff you drink from little cups?"

"Not funny."

Rice wine. Sake.

"I'm just saying," Mitchell said. "You see how it sounds."

"Listen. We like each other," Will repeated, reasonably.

"What do you know about her? She paints." Mitchell looked at me to side with him.

"Portraits," I said, trying to bring some balance.

"You're just chasing a dream."

That's what I'd sensed from Brody.

"Maybe she's after a Green Card," Mitchell pushed.

"She's not," I said.

But you've heard this before.

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