I had made the acquaintance of an ebullient half-Phillipina, half-German goddess in a gallery class at P.C.C. She was quite the scenester, and knew everyone. She knew all the bands, all the bouncers at all the clubs---which was a good thing because neither of us were yet 21.
On this particular night, she was feeling ambitious and ready to go out and party. And how were we to accomplish this?
With a practiced hand, she grabbed my I.D., a bottle of pearlescent white nail polish, white-out, and a fine-point pen and set to work. An hour later we boldly wandered into a N.W. dive where she knew the bartender.
"Before I get you anything, ladies, may I see your I.D's?"
The moment of truth.
With some trepidation I handed it over. He looked at it, stifled a snort, and handed it back to me, smiling.
I was so busted.
"What can I get you?"
Really? I thought to myself in disbelief. I placed my order, trying to sound casual.
A couple of drinks and a couple of hours later, we made our way downtown to Satyricon.
"Egan!" my companion exclaimed excitedly as she saw the bouncer. "Egan, this is my friend Juliana!" she added as he motioned for our I.D.s.
She hugged him and pressed herself against him as he cast a cursory glance at the cards and waved us in.
My bubbly friend is one of those drunk bi-sexuals, as I would later find out. As in, she doesn't really like girls, but will make out with them if she's drunk. Over the course of the class, I'd developed a crush on her, and that night, with the help of several Bud Lights (because she was on a diet), she suddenly found me interesting as well. I was overjoyed. We started making out to the not-so-soothing sounds of The Jimmies.
Things were moving along smoothly. I had talked her into coming back to my place, and then...he showed up.
She introduced us. He was polite, but pretty much ignored me as he told her about his recently completed art-school project, which he wanted to show her. She thought it would be a fabulous idea to see it right then.
"What about me?" I asked, feeling slighted.
She cajoled me into coming along. Neither he nor I were too pleased with the arrangement, as we both seemed to have ideas for how the evening should end---with her. We were both somewhat placated by her vague insinuations of a threesome, and fell into step on either side of her. We threw each other the occasional glance, sizing each other up all the way to his place in Northwest.
Now things were getting interesting!
As soon as we arrived at his place, we headed to the bedroom. She mumbled something about how she didn't do threesomes, and promptly passed out on the bed.
There I was, with this stranger, who didn't really want me there in the first place, and my own plans for the night were in a shambles. I wandered around, taking stock of my surroundings.
It was one of those typical Northwest apartments. It had been a large home once, randomly partitioned into studios and one-bedroom apartments for rent. It was fairly tidy, with a couple of base guitars in one corner...of course. And a couple of half-finished art projects in others...of course.
This stranger followed a few steps behind me as I wandered his apartment. We barely said a word to each other, save for the odd rueful comment about how we'd both been duped.
The bathroom held a beautiful, large claw-foot tub.
"I want to take a bath in that tub," I told him.
He looked at me uncertainly for a moment, then sprang into action. He quickly scrubbed and rinsed it, then ran a bath for us. I had a moment of uncertainty, myself, but figured it was a lovely tub, so why waste it?
I undressed and stepped in and he soon followed suit. We alternated between long moments of silence and idle chit-chat. What could I really have to say to the man who had muscled in on my date?
When the water and the conversation had cooled, we got out of the tub and I wandered his apartment again. I spotted a whip in a corner. Hmmm...possibilities. The night needn't be a complete waste.
It didn't take much to convince him to submit to a whipping. No, it didn't take much at all, though he admitted that he'd never experienced anything like it. I beat on him for a good hour before we were both so turned on, we progressed onto other games. The earlier awkwardness was forgotten, as we tumbled onto the bed next to our comatose friend. After a few hours of bedroom play, we heard birds chirping and other sounds that told us the world was stirring outside.
We made our way to the kitchen for a much needed glass of water. His kitchen faced the back of the building and opened onto a great balcony, which was overhung with branches from a nearby tree.
I was overjoyed at the sight and the possibilities the balcony offered, and stepped outside, ignoring my current state of undress. I felt him step up behind me. His hands reached up to cup my breasts and his lips made shiver-inducing nibbles on the back of my neck. I turned to face him and kiss him full on the lips. It was too perfect---the fresh air, the fairly public vantage point, a sexy stranger...
As he kissed his way down, I leaned my head back and I remember seeing a rainbow colored mobile hanging above my head before I got lost in the sensations of his kisses and his touch.
Some time later, we went back inside, as much for privacy, as to make sure that our friend was still breathing. With daylight now streaming through the windows, I noticed details that had escaped me before. I saw books. I always look at the books.
Oooh, Nietzsche, prominently displayed. Not far from this tome, an icon depicting Apollo and The Muses and another depicting Dionysus flanked the entrance to his room. I put two and two...and two, together. I made a reference to The Birth of Tragedy, thinking how great it was to meet somebody who was well-read.
He responded with a blank look.
"You know...Apollonian principles, Dionysian...Nietzsche...no...?" his look of bewilderment made me self-conscious.
"I just assumed..." I said lamely. "I saw your book...and the icons...and..."
"Oh...uh...well I borrowed the book...I haven't got around to really reading it yet..." he admitted sheepishly.
To a twenty-year-old who took everything much too seriously, particularly literature, this was an admission worthy of the utmost derision and scorn. I was offended to the very core of my easily-offended being.
I decided at that moment that he was unworthy of any more of my time and quickly dressed and prepared to leave. I made my stealthy escape while he went into the bedroom to wake our sleeping beauty.
I had made it several blocks on my walk of shame when I saw an old volvo pull up alongside me.
"Juli!...why'd you take off? Why don't you get in the car and he'll give us a ride home?" my girl friend coaxed.
He leaned over her and added "Come on! Let me take you out to breakfast and I'll then I'll give you guys a ride home!"
"No. I'm fine. I'll take the bus" I insisted, still walking. he continued driving slowly down the street, keeping pace with me, both of them trying to convince me to get in the car. I relented, more from embarrassment at the spectacle we were causing than anything else. After a tensely quiet breakfast at The Stepping Stone, they dropped me off at home.
A little over a year later, I was at a bar with some friends and ended up, quite by chance, sitting next to Volvo Guy. He kept sneaking sideways glances, so I finally turned to him and greeted him by name.
The look of recognition in his eyes was unmistakable, but he continued the game.
"Oh, yeah...uhm...you're...uh...Juliana...right?" He even pronounced it correctly.
"You know perfectly well who I am," I replied archly.
"Yeah, I know...but..you know..."
"Trying to play it cool?" I finished for him.
"Well...yeah. I mean, you were so weird after that time we hung out..."
We chatted for a bit and had a good laugh about it all. We had exchanged numbers by the end of the night.
The next time we went out, we ended up back at his place again. The sex had been really good, so...why not?. As we lay, basking in the post-coital bliss, chatting, he mentioned he was a bit disappointed.
"Well, last time, you just beat the crap out of me all night. I just expected you to be...well, bitchier...like last time. It was kind of cool. You're really nice, though. I like this too, I just...didn't expect it." he admitted.
That was the beginning an affair that lasted several years. We never really dated, just became friends and had the occasional tryst. I never did "beat the crap out of him" again, though.
I lost track of him about five years ago. He fell in love with another foreigner and traveled to the other side of the globe to try to win her love and the respect of her father. It was all very tragic and romantic. The last I heard he was living on one of the sail boats he renovated for a living, and was planning to sail around for the next several years.
Although most of our encounters were pretty memorable, my fondest memory is of that first encounter. I did manage to get past my youthful indignation.
Whenever I think of him I remember the sounds of dawn. I remember the birds chirping and the slight spring breeze that shook the still-bare branches of the tree and twirled those rainbow colored shapes that hung outside his kitchen. He seemed to cherish that memory too. He would often tell me the one iconic image he had of me, was of looking up at me and seeing my nipples, pert and pink, my head tilted back, and then looking just past me and seeing the buds just beginning to sprout on the branches of that tree rising above me.