My text message said, "I'm stranded, can I crash at your place?"
The trains had stop running; the commuter rail had shut down for the night. My ride home, gone. I had no car, no bike, no transportation back to the comfort of my bed at Wellesley. Stranded on a bench at South Station.
I contacted Paul, the one who lived in Belmont, and who would provide me with a warm bed. I could have called someone else, or a cab, but tonight I wanted to see him.
He frustrated me; everything about him disgusted me, from his smug looks, to his cliché interests in hipster music and faux religion (recreational Zen Buddhism), to the way he would suddenly grab my thighs and slide his fingers further up when I least expected it, or the way he pressed my hips against the rough bark of a tree. His sparkling blue eyes, his warm hands… It wasn't anything serious, he said. It was hurtful to hear, every time; he had too much influence over me.
When we met in Porter Square, I saw his face frozen in seriousness, those lightning blue eyes, arms crossed. The usual self-satisfied look was gone, replaced by tiredness. He was annoyed and exhausted.
"I'm really sorry," I mumbled, flustered, "I shouldn't have missed the last train. I'm so sorry for bothering you."
He shrugged. "Well, I'm your friend, right? That's what friends are for." But he still sounded irritable.
We drove home, rain pitter-pattering on the windshield, sitting in stifling silence, intermittent with a stunted joke or two, then uncomfortable laughter.
When we arrived, the house was completely silent. "Do you want a b-e-e-r?" he asked, finally smiling. I stared at him, confused, unresponsive. I wasn't entirely sure why was he asking me to drink with him. Did it mean anything, or was he simply being friendly? Reading him was nearly impossible.
"A beer, do you want a beer?" he said, as if I hadn't understood the question, "Are you okay? Are you stoned or something?" he joked.
"What, do I seem like it?"
"Yeah," he answered, a little more seriously than I'd expected, "you seem really out of it."
I said that I was just tired. He walked me downstairs, pointed to a nearly empty room with a large white bed, told me I could sleep there, and walked away.
All I could think about was the girl, the girl, the one he had chosen. Pacing around the room, I stared at the crisp white sheets, the phone, the white blank walls, the pillows. I shuddered; the room was so very lonely and empty. And all I could think of were the white white walls, the white sheets, and the girl that he took seriously. The blinding white, the suffocating white. I could hardly breathe.
I walked back upstairs. "Hey, couldn't sleep after all." He shrugged indifferently, and mumbled, like a frustrated parent trying to calm his sleepless child,
"Okay, I guess you can hang out here for a while." He was lying on the bed, staring at his laptop, paying little attention to me. We spoke, and I talked not to say anything in particular, but just to speak with him, to be near him. Nonchalantly, I began stroking the soles of his feet with my fingertips. Conversation faded. His eyes lit up, bright blue. I kept stroking his soles, his toes, his ankles rhythmically.
"Hey, do you want to give each other foot massages?" he suddenly asked.
I lay out on the bed, put my foot on his lap, and he placed his near my chest. I rubbed his feet, his soles, his toes, pressing his skin closer and closer to the crevice between my breasts, and my toes slowly but deliberately between his thighs. And the entire time, those eyes stared, stared right through me. I caught him, for a second, glancing up my skirt. That gaze, so overwhelming and serious. He was no longer massaging my feet; his hands somehow traveled all the way up to my calves, my knees.
I stood up, unexpectedly, abruptly, sat on his lap, and kissed him clumsily. Pulling off my blouse, I asked:
"Are you allowed to be doing this?"
"No," he answered quietly.
"Do you want to stop?"
"No," he said, his voice colored slightly by sadness, as though he wanted to say yes, but couldn't. As though he had no choice. And as I slipped off my blouse, I thought of how much he disgusted me. He was scum, after all. He was spineless, he was weak. He was a traitor. A liar. And I felt powerful when I slipped off my skirt. He had proven himself worthless, and I was joyful, very joyful, that he had chosen her and not me.