buy your own candygirl

OK, so yeah, my post was something of a tease…let's see if I can drag it out even further...

It was our last weekend at the Hamptons’ house. The weather was so beautiful that I couldn’t sleep. I dreamed of whirling carnivals and towering glass apartment complexes in such high definition intensity that I kept waking up with a pounding heart, staring incomprehensibly at the green pastel walls until I remembered where I was. By first light I’d had enough. I got up and headed for the beach.

There was a candle glowing on the porch of the big house.

The big house is down the drive from the house TRUE, Fitz and I stay at—the former servant’s quarters. Our friend P., the old queen who set us up with this sweet ass deal, stays there. He had houseguests over, as was the case on many weekends. Only these weren’t the usual overly-cologned, yuppie fag couples.

This was a forty year old single mother and her three children, visiting from Austria.

I was into her from the second we met. She pumped my hand awkwardly and pulled me to her to give me a kiss. Before I could ask, “Is it one or two in Austria?” she moved quickly and kissed me on the opposite cheek. She smelled like a lollipop. I liked the way she held my hand for a second in order to openly stare at the prosthetics.

She had harsh lines on her face and a tight, wiry build. She had an exotic name I couldn’t pronounce, and a nickname that I found slightly ridiculous. I had a hard time looking her in the eye when I spoke. I played wiffle ball and grilled burgers with her kids, but tried my best to avoid her.

I’ll call her Kim, after another scary, sexy mom.

When I came out that morning she was sitting on the front porch, smoking a cigarette and pretending that she hadn’t watched me walk the length of the gravel drive.

“You’re up early,” I said, staring at the warped beams of wood on the porch floor, wondering why I hadn’t snuck around back to get the sunscreen from the bathroom.

“Morning’s are for me,” she said, exhaling slowly. I noticed that she had a pad and pen on her lap.

“It’s the only time that’s mine.”

“Yeah, I imagine so.”

“You don’t have that problem. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want.”

“I don’t know if I’d say that.”

“I would.”

She came with me to the beach. It was her idea that we take two of the old racing bikes from the garage. My feet didn’t touch the ground and it was all I could do not to kill myself.

“You Americans are too used to your cars,” she shouted back at me as I concentrated on keeping my grip on the handlebars.

A thin band of mist floated above the tree-lined street. Tall hedges covered the sleeping mansions on either side of us.

I felt out of place and on the run, like an international crook wanted the world over.

A sprinkler rattled to life as I passed and nearly gave me a heart attack.

The beach was empty. As we unrolled the towel that we were to share, I felt the same claustrophobia as when I sit on the edge of a girl’s bed, trying to act like I don’t care while I wait with knots in my stomach for whatever’s going to happen next.

Kim peeled off her clothes, revealing a plain black bikini. Her body was made up of thick cords of muscle, like a racehorse. There wasn’t an ounce of fat anywhere.

I wasn’t even sure if I was attracted to it, but I couldn’t stop staring.

“Want to go for a swim?” she said.

“Sorry, I can’t swim,” I lied.

“What? Even when it is like this? There are no waves.”

She was right; I’d never seen a tide so low.

“Doesn’t matter—I can’t.”

“No bike riding, no swimming…” she frowned and put her hands on her hips.

“Lame, I know.”

She kept staring at me. Maybe she didn’t know what ‘lame’ meant in that context.

“So what can you do?” she asked.

“Nothing, really.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“It’s true. I have a shitty job. I only speak one language; I’m too short for sports…”

“What about that?” she said, pointing to my hand.

“This?” I held out my palm and wiggled the fake fingers.

“This is nothing.”

“Nothing. There’s that word again.” She walked over and stood in front of me. I smelled lollipops. I wondered if her children smelled it too. Maybe she smelled that way on purpose, for them. A cold breeze blew from the ocean, freeing long strands of her hair from the metal clip she’d fastened to the back of her head.

“Does it hurt?” she asked.

“No,” I said, shaking.

“What if I touch it?”

“Go ahead.”

She ran a finger over the plastic, down to where the stub of what used to be my ring finger joined the prosthetic.

“Hey,” I said, softly.

“It hurts?” She took her hand away.

“No, it’s just that…no one ever touches me there.”

She smiled. Wrinkles expanded from the corners of her mouth like rings in a pond. The loose strands of her hair blew against my cheeks.

“It tickles a bit,” I said, not sure of what I was referring to.

“Tickles, oh yeah?” she encircled the pinky stub with her thumb and pointer finger.

“I think that’s good. I think ‘tickles’ is good.”

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