“Is my ass too big?”
She looked at me with her strained, tired eyes. She had come from Florida to visit a boy she liked, but for some reason she was staying at my place. At first, it was only for a couple of nights. Then I learned that she meant to stay for an entire week. My apartment soon smelled of lotion and perfume.
“Stop, look at me,” she said. The tone was sharp, like a mother’s to a misbehaving child. “Look at my ass. Is it too big?”
She turned it toward me. Then she dropped her pants. This was not exciting; this was a drag. This had been going on for days.
“No, it’s not too big. It looks good.”
“Really? Are you lying? Tell me the truth.”
“Your ass looks good, it looks great.”
“I just think it might be too fat at the bottom part.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, you’re not sure, or no it isn’t too fat at the bottom?”
“It’s not fat.”
“Do you think he’ll think so?”
“How should I know?”
“Well, maybe you like fat asses. Do you like fat asses?”
“I don’t know. I don’t like fat asses. I like a booty, though.”
“A booty? What does that mean? Are you saying I have a booty?”
“You have a booty. It’s good to have a booty.”
“What does that mean, huh? Huh, David? What do you mean?”
“You have an ass. But it’s not fat. It’s a booty. It’s good. Men like booties.”
“But will he like it?”
“I don’t know! Leave me alone!”
“Whatever, David. I just need a friend right now to boost my ego and you’re not being very good at it.”
How had it come to this? Last year around this time we had gone on a date, three dates total. It hadn’t led to anything. She was a divorce lawyer. Then she went to Florida. She texted me constantly. She wanted to stay friends; she thought we connected — “Wonder Twins power, activate!” she wrote in one message. What she wanted was a girlfriend. And somehow, that is what I had become. She had appeared at my door with two comically huge suitcases on wheels, one filled with silk scarves and lingerie and the other with beauty products and DVDs of her favorite show, Dallas.
She asked about her ass when it wasn’t about her breasts, or her hair.
“Can I go into your room and air dry for a bit before I put on the tanning cream?”
She had been preparing for her date for three hours now. She had come out of the steamed bathroom wrapped in a towel.
“What’s tanning cream?”
“What do you think? What do you think tanning cream is?”
“Makes your skin look tan?”
“Of course that’s what it is. Couldn’t you tell before?”
“I don’t know, you just came from Florida.”
“Well, guys like it. Right? Don’t guys like it?”
“I don’t know. I never knew the stuff existed. I don’t think most guys really care as much as you think they do. And plus, that can’t be very good for you, putting that stuff on your skin.”
“No, they care. Do you think he cares?”
“I don’t know! How could I possibly know what he thinks?”
“But you’re a guy.”
“We’re not all the same. Your boyfriend likes crazy women.”
She stormed into my bedroom to air dry. Then it was back into the bathroom for another hour.
“My god,” I yelled. “You’ve been in there forever.”
She poked her head out.
“I just want you to know that I spent just as much time preparing for you when we had our date.”
Our date. On our date, she bossed me around and complained about my manners.
As the week inched along, her clothes and products and accessories had spread across the floors, tables, and counters of my apartment like weeds. I had started to smoke again, which, counter-intuitively, calmed the heart palpitations that began whenever we talked about the boy. The problem was that he seemed happy to have sex with her, but didn’t act as though he wanted a girlfriend.
“Maybe I moved too fast, huh? Should I have not slept with him? David, I shouldn’t have had sex with him right? What do you think?”
Once I just had to escape my apartment to walk around the block. I had left her worriedly eating a bag of potato chips
Toward the end of the week it became clear that the boy was only interested in — to put it politely — a casual relationship.
There were tears, there was consoling. I began to feel guilty about how short I had been with her, especially after she had shown me some compassion for my awful medical problems. For a while she had texted me every time she farted.
Somehow she got all her scarves and boots and products back into her suitcases. She flew back to Florida. My apartment felt twice as big as it did before she had come to stay. The smell of lotion took a few days to disappear.
All I had wanted was my quiet little life back. Naturally, I now missed the storm.