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Turning 46 Gets Weird: Part 1: Z

June 30, 2015

I laid in his bed on his dark sheets, splayed out freely with one arm above my head, my eyes closed. His body was touching mine and he was running his fingers slowly and gently along my arms, my stomach, my neck and my face and through my hair. He caressed my face over and over again as he whispered things in my ear. Telling me I was beautiful. Wondering at the circumstances that had to occur to lead us to that moment when we were together in his bed, holding each other. I turned towards him and put my arms around him and swung my leg over his hip. I put my hand on his face and stroked his short, course beard and I fell asleep.

That was the early morning of Sunday, the 28th, my birthday. That’s how my day of celebration ended. It began with my arms around someone entirely different.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My brother Paul came in Friday night for my silly, meet-me-at-Pamplona party on Saturday. We decided to stay in and opened up a bottle of wine from a gift basket my sister sent me. The gift had arrived at work, a sweet gesture from a once-estranged sister. I was touched. And there was some good shit in there. Two bottles of expensive wine, smoked salmon, chocolates. Paul and I snacked like royalty. We were catching up and laughing when I told him I had a sneaking feeling that Z might show up.

“I  really don’t think he will,” I said. “But it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. It would be just like him.”

On the coffee table was a gift he had sent. He made me promise not to open it until the flowers he sent me arrived the next morning. There was something about the way he had been talking to me, sweet and attentive. Telling me he loved me. And he had subtly asked about my love life. “I was sort of seeing someone,” I said. “But he wants to see other people so I told him I couldn’t see him anymore. Now we’re friends,” I texted.

Saturday morning I was up early, waiting for my flower delivery. I decided to get a walk in before it got too hot. As I was slathering on sunscreen, Z texted me, urging me to wait for the flowers before I left. “Paul will be here, ” I assured him. “The flowers ain’t for Paul,” he replied. I was finishing my first lap at the park when Paul texted, “Z is here.”

“Seriously?” I replied.

“Yes.”

“Don’t move.” I texted Z. Paul told me later that he was sitting on the steps smoking when he pulled up. “She knew you were coming,” he had told him.

I rushed back to my apartment, peeling into the parking lot. He was standing at the open door. Paul was still sitting on the steps, smoking.

“Where’s my flowers?” I shouted out as I rushed up the steps.

“You bastard!” I said and threw my arms around him. We walked inside and he closed the door a bit. I held him tight and we kissed as easily and naturally and tenderly as we ever had. “I can’t believe you’re here,” I said.

“I’m not here for you,” he teased. “I just came for my papers.” He had some business school applications sent to my apartment. “Oh, really?” I teased back. I grabbed the envelope in a basket by the door and said, “Well, here they are. You can go now.” He laughed and kissed me.

He was fat. Not fat, really but pretty chubby. Z was never fit or skinny but he was definitely on the heavier side, now. Paul came inside and I opened my gift. It was a Virgin Mary statue, a Buddha, a memo pad and a box of #2 Ticonderoga pencils. Let me explain. I published a silly but practical wish list on facebook that began with a smile, and ended with a trip to Jerusalem, with goofy, weird, incrementally expensive items along the way.

“You read the list!” I said.

I held my Virgin Mary and Buddha in my hand and looked up at him, standing there in my apartment where he had been so many times before and I couldn’t believe this was happening. He had come to surprise me. Flew in to Dallas and driven all night just to be there that morning.

Paul and his kids were going out for breakfast so I asked Z to chill out while I jumped in the shower. I was drying my hair, trying to look good for him, when he opened the door, startling me and said, “That’s enough! Come out.”

I laughed and feebly attempted to put a little make-up on. At least some concealer under my eyes and lip gloss. I walked out of the bathroom. “Am I allowed to put some clothes on?” I yelled out.

“Yes, just hurry up,” he said from the kitchen.

I walked out in his favorite pink skirt and a blue lace bra.

“Liz called,” he said. “I answered.”

“You did?” I laughed. “Good. She knows I’m occupied.”

He grabbed my waist and we did our little dance. Our familiar, wonderful, passionate little routine. And our clothes lay scattered on the kitchen floor as we moved into the bedroom. He did things to me that I’m not sure he had ever done before, or not quite like that. And when it was over we lay in my bed in the bright morning sunlight and talked. And talked and talked and talked. He said California women are nuts. They’re either drug addicts or alcoholics or too skinny. I laughed at his descriptions. He said the girls he met were too sad for him. They were dragging him down. I told him that I had been sad sometimes when he was here, but that he always lifted my spirits and made me feel happy.

He told me about a girl in his tennis group that he thought was out of his league. I encouraged him to ask her out. “She would be lucky to date you,” I assured him. He said he started reading Aziz Ansari’s new book, Modern Romance after picking it up in the airport. We talked about dating and texting and all the weird experiences we had had.

He told me he was thinking about moving back to India. That he was beginning to feel like family was more important than money.

“But if I do, I will come back to Lafayette first and get my M.B.A.”

“Oh, no Z,” I said. “You cannot come back to Lafayette.” He laughed. “You can’t do that to me. I’ll end up putting my life on hold another 2 years. It would like if The Persian (that’s what I call Mr. Moon outside the blog) came back, still married.”

“Yeah, but if I come back I won’t be married,” he said pulling me close and kissing me.

His pudgy body was so familiar to me. “God, I missed you,” I said. “I tell you what. You move back to India and I’ll come live nearby and be your mistress.” He laughed.

“If I start a family it might be in the states. You can be my mistress here, too.”

“No,” I exclaimed. “Not here. That’s just weird. In India, it would be more…..exotic.” He laughed at the oft-used, western description of his home. “Exotic,” he scoffed.

When he was checking his phone, he mentioned all the rainbow profiles. “Why is everybody doing that?” he asked.

“It’s a big deal,” I said. “It’s an important step in social justice and equality.”

“Yeah, but all these Indian guys are putting rainbows on their pics. They don’t even know why. They’re just doing what everybody else is doing.” I laughed. I had honestly wondered the same thing.

He wanted to spend the day with me, but I had appointments and my brother would be back eventually.

“Cancel them,” he said.

“No!” I teased. “If you had told me you were coming ahead of time…..you and your surprises!”

He didn’t know anyone in Lafayette anymore but he had a large group of friends in Baton Rouge. He wasn’t going to go to the Pamplona party. I knew that without asking.

“Go to Baton Rouge,” I said. “Have fun with your friends and if you change your mind, I’ll drive over and we can get a hotel room.”

“These bastards won’t let me leave,” he said.

“Not even for a woman?” I asked.

“No, especially not for a woman.”

We held onto each other until it was time for my spa appointment. As I hugged him goodbye I said, “You know I love you and I always will.” I looked him in the eyes. “Thank you so much for coming. I’ll never forget it.”

As we both walked to our cars I called back to him, “Hey, you owe me some flowers!”

As I drove the short distance to my appointment, I started to cry. I don’t why, exactly. I was overcome with emotions. He had come to see again. He really did love me, in his own way……. a weird kind of love, maybe.

And only hours after the high of his surprise, I was once again, saying goodbye to my Z. And once again wondering if I would ever see him again.

 

 

 

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