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“Hey you!”

A feminine voice I didn’t recognize just greeted me as though we were old friends.  It was a very pretty voice with no hint of an accent, at least not the regional tones I’d grown up with.  I blinked in confusion and double-checked the number displayed on my cell phone.  I didn’t recognize it, despite being damn good with numbers.  Even the area code wasn’t right for my town.

Play it cool.  You’ll figure this out.

“Hey, what’s up?”  I didn’t think I sounded as confused as I was, just genuinely surprised that Pretty Feminine Voice decided to call me today.

“I just wanted to call and wish you a happy late birthday!”

Hmm.  Alright.  Pretty Feminine Voice and I were close enough for her to know that my I had recently had a birthday.  That narrowed the selection pool substantially.

Then again, I had recently become addicted to social networking, so she could have seen my birthday on any one of a number of different websites.  Damnation.  It was time for a calculated response, one that might help me discern the identity of Pretty Feminine Voice.

“Thank you, I didn’t realize anyone outside my family had noticed!”  Smooth.  Very smooth.

“Well, you’re not the easiest guy to track down,” she replied with a quick laugh that struck a chord in my memory.  A chord in an eager, excited key.  The D-major of triumph, of former conquest.  Her laugh rekindled a vague memory of flirting on a swingset near my university, of sweet-talking my way past her friends and into her undergarments, of a night of drunken debauchery leading to an incredibly awkward “good morning” for both of us.  I’d slept with Pretty Feminine Voice.  But damned if I could remember who she was.

I was stuck.  I had no idea who I was talking to.  But the D-major key of my life’s soundtrack demanded I find out, pursue Pretty Feminine Voice and relive what was, presumably, an exciting evening.  She obviously didn’t feel as negatively about it as my bleary recollection might suggest.  Perhaps we could revisit our previous interaction, given the proper application of saccharine and ethanol.  But I couldn’t place her name, and I had no clever means to discover it.  Time for the honesty card.

“I’m sorry, but I got a new phone and lost all of my numbers.  Who is this?”  Okay, not entirely honest, but at least I admitted I didn’t know who she was.

“Jennifer!”  She said it as though it should have been entirely obvious.

“Jennifer who?”

There was a brief pause, and I knew I had fucked up even before I heard the feint click of Pretty Feminine Voice, a.k.a. Jennifer, hitting the End Call button.  It didn’t have the immediate effect of slamming down an old landline phone, but the accompanying silence carried the same finality.  She wouldn’t call me back.

As I put my phone back in my pocket, I briefly remembered a “second date” with Pretty Feminine Voice, months earlier.  Walking through our university’s more picturesque southern campus, talking about careers and extracurricular activities and the future, and thinking about how badly I wanted to get away from her.  She was nice, very sweet in fact, with the adorable plumpness of a formerly skinny girl working on her Freshman Fifteen, but naive, and a bit too silly for a serious investment of my time and effort beyond a quick and easy fuck.  But I had felt obligated, so I had taken her out for a more traditional romantic encounter, and I had put my best foot forward.  I could be quite convincing, and I assured her that I was very interested in seeing her again, even though I was actually in a committed relationship with Kelly.  At the end of the day, we promised to see each other again soon, shared a quick, chaste kiss, and went our separate ways.  We had never spoken since.

The key of my life shifted into D-sharp-minor, carrying with it a gloomy, brooding sensation.  I briefly sensed that I had done something horrible to Pretty Feminine Voice.   A guy she had slept with, who had been kind to her and shown interest in pursuing her beyond the purely physical demands of our nether-regions, didn’t care enough to even remember her name.  I had led her on with that second date, but not out of malice.  I was trying to spare her feelings, to make her think she had hope, that her decision to sleep with me hadn’t been poor judgement, that her virtue was relatively unscathed.  Presumably it had worked for a while; if not, why should she have called me.  But that backfired the moment I asked for her name.  Surely she was humiliated, ashamed of herself for ever trusting me.  A long night of drinking, crying, and vowing to never trust men again would surely ensue, and her friends, who knew nothing about me, would curse me for a liar, a charlatan of the worst sort.  And they wouldn’t be wrong.

But that quickly passed when I realized I wouldn’t be fucking her tonight.

“Jennifer who,” I muttered incredulously.  “God damn it.”

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4 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Only Partly Erotic and commented:

    This was the first My Life As Fiction entry I wrote on this blog. I recently reread it as I was reviewing my 40+ entries in light of a recent comment that my writing style seems to have evolved in the two months that I’ve maintained this blog. I thought I would repost it for my newfound readers to scrutinize.

  2. I just love the way you write. I’ve read your whole blog, I think, but had completely forgotten about this one… I love it and it made me laugh, even the second time around… xoxoxo

  3. This is the first time I’m reading this as I haven’t made it completely through your backlist yet. I can tell you immediately what the difference in your writing is … in this post, you’ve set the scene and you are guiding us to a particular reaction regarding you … Bi is a charlatan, a bad guy, see what I did, I couldn’t even remember her name … whereas in your later writing, you are simply presenting your facts and truth and we, the reader, get to determine how we perceive you.

    We will make our own judgments no matter what scene you set, anyone who can’t see the compassion underlying the “charlatan” you’ve described above simply isn’t paying attention.

    All the best … Gillian

  4. Gillian has hit then ail on the head. Not only do you not direct us these days, you’re also more open about the other feelings you have in general.


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