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The Weekend (Mr. Houston Part I)

March 22, 2016

“I got cold feet” he texted.

I was sitting in my car as my son got his bike out of the back. A rainstorm had just passed through, so I had given him a ride home. I had a hat on, covering my dirty hair. I wasn’t going to shower and primp until I knew he was close. He had toyed with the idea of flying in, but by the time he tried to book the flight, the price had sky-rocketed. I-10 was closed and people were scrambling to find ways between Texas and Louisiana. Though I gave him several opportunities to reschedule and warned him that he could be on the road all night, he seemed determined to get here. I had texted him hours ago, “any traffic yet,” and the message didn’t go through.

And then I read that text in the driveway of my son’s house. My heart sank. I put the phone aside, unsure of how to react. Anger, sadness and a bitter disappointment was brewing in my gut and rising to my heart. He texted a couple more things. Something about expectations and pressure. I was trying to decide how to respond when he texted, “cause I’ll be there in less than an hour.”

Oh My God, I said to myself. “Mother Fucker,” I texted him. “You’re going to pay for that.” Liz called just at that moment. “Guess what this mother fucker just did to me.” I told her.

“You got Z’d” she said. “You’re in so much trouble.”

“Yeah, I am.” I laughed.

I rushed home to bathe and get dressed. I wore the pale blue shirt dress that matched my eyes. I found some heels that were comfortable enough to walk in and headed to the sushi place downtown where we agreed to meet. It took me forever to walk the 5 or 6 blocks from my apartment. He arrived first and grabbed a seat at the bar, as per my instructions. I was surprisingly un-nervous. I usually feel like I’m going to throw up at this point when I’m meeting someone I’m excited about.

I walked in and there he was. He wore a black jacket and stripped button down shirt with dark jeans. He was more handsome than his pictures and his smile was nice. I don’t really like the way he wears his facial hair and I had suggested he forgo shaving. I liked the 5 o’clock shadow. We hugged. I sat down and ordered wine. I stared at him. I didn’t think I was staring but he said I was. It was like meeting someone I already knew. It was like, Oh, yeah, that’s Mr. Houston.

We ordered a little food and he touched me often. He put his hand on my shoulder and held my hand. He asked me lots of questions and touched my leg. We kissed. He’s not a great kisser, but it was ok. After an hour or so, I suggested we relocate to Pamplona. He was parked nearby, so I advised moving his car. We walked toward two cars. One was an older, maroon Acura. The other was a silver Nissan Z350. I was relieved when he approached the older car. It was messy and the seat was torn up a little. Yeah, this is my kinda guy, I thought.

We walked into an almost empty Pamplona and ordered wine. A small crowd trickled in, spill over from an event around the corner. I said hi to a few people and we sat and flirted with each other a bit more.

He drove the two blocks to my apartment and we sat on the sofa and made out, moving to bedroom after a while. The sex was……..not bad. Better than the Iraqi but not great. Our connection wasn’t the same as the one I had with Z. It was different. It was more cerebral, though there was physical chemistry. Where Z brought magic…..an ephemeral, romantic magic, Mr. Houston brought potential. He was real. He was a man, a complete, real man with a past, obstacles overcome, dreams, a future here in the United States and a plan. And he had driven three and a half hours to meet me.

“Lafayette,” he kept saying with sarcastic disdain. “I can’t believe I’m in Lafayette,” he laughed.

We were lying in bed. I was giving him a pitch in favor of Lafayette when the Blue Moon came up. “Let’s go,” he said.

“Ok,” I replied. I liked his spontaneity. We threw on clothes and walked down to the Moon. I talked our way past Will, the bouncer and we went around the back. The band was packing up. We got a couple of beers and sat on the back bench. I tried to paint a picture for him of what it was like there on busy nights.

He told me he smoked when he drank sometimes. There was a group of people to the right of us, smoking. He asked me if I would borrow a cigarette from one of them. I knew one of the French girls, a teacher who had been here several years now but whose name, for the life of me I couldn’t remember. I went over to her and bummed a cigarette. I didn’t want to take her lighter, so I asked her to help me light it. She laughed at me because I didn’t know how and I coughed when I took in air to get it going.

I brought it over to Mr. H. We hung out, talked and watched people. I liked being with him. I was completely at ease. It was like I knew him already. I didn’t have that giddy, head over heels crush feeling I’ve had with others. Z, The Persian, even Tennis Bashir, at the beginning. This was different.

We walked around the hostel that serves as the original impetus for the porch, stage and bar that is the Blue Moon. We sat on the edge of the front porch and made out. A young woman with a lot of make up on came up to us with a camera and asked if she could take our picture. We obliged. “You should kiss,” she said. We humored her and kissed as she took a snapshot. She was asking us questions as she held the camera in front of her, looking down at the screen.

“She’s filming us, you know.” I said.

“When did you guys meet?” she asked.

“A few hours ago,” Mr. H said with a laugh.

“What do you like about her,” she asked him. I don’t remember what he said exactly. Something about being genuine and caring.

I pulled out my business card and gave it to her, hoping she might remember to send me the photo.

It was about 1am. We walked back home, sat up and talked a while and fell asleep intertwined into each other, our first date over.

 

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