Tearing Down The Stripper Pole

As you may have noticed, I’ve been super bothered lately by what I’ve been calling “crazy talk” – literally, the insane rantings of my friends and strangers, all focused about how somewhere, sometime, I’m totally in distress.

I’ve discounted these tales of me-woe because they’re stupid, and clearly some kind of practical joke.  However, they’ve been very sly about it, even throwing in some secret truth to keep me interested.  For example, my Mom was in a band, totally! I did a bad deed, and dug around the house until I found an old cardboard box of memorabilia, like half-dead t-shirts and zine interviews.  I didn’t get too much from my quick peek, before she got back home from Fred Meyer, but I was hooked! Parent as teenage hellraiser is such the catnip, and I know exactly how I can take advantage when it comes time to be rebellious – “But Mom, when YOU were my age…”

Yeah, I’m going to talk to her soon, asking probing questions designed to not look that suspicious – like I don’t even care that we’re going to my surprise party, you know?

Until then….. well, the plan today was to go to school, decide if I wanted to become a ZOOTEEN (seriously!), and then think about how crazy Aurora was.  That wasn’t hard to do for a few periods, and then my mind slowly shifted to pondering how cute she was, and how I wanted to run my fingers through her long hair…. you know, the sort of aimless crush-inspired daydreams that really help when you’re called on by the teacher.

I admit it – I’m an equal opportunity liker of cuteness.  Boy cute was big in elementary school, and when puberty hit, I branched out to the better sex – not that it did me any good. I considered myself most certainly unlikable – too awkwardly shy for the boys, and too awkwardly tomboyish for the girls.  I never got into the whole maybe-queer guilt, but at the same time I’ve never even had a reason to be out – don’t you have to hold hands or kiss in public to make that worthwhile?

Even now, I don’t have a carefully measured definition of my like engine – it just purrs away and goes off where it wants to. Last year, it was the boy who shall remain nameless. This year, today, right now….

Did I mention that Aurora was waiting for me after school, by the #9 bus stop?

Did I mention that she was perhaps as cute as a really, tall, blond, Becky? Or like a sunset poking through the trees?

Oh, I’m so aware I’m going to catch shit for this once people at school start reading this blog, but fuck them – if you had a punk angel hanging off of your every word, for the first time outside of a dream, wouldn’t you take advantage to the fullest?

Maybe I would, but I didn’t know how.  Popular culture, even with tolerance-chic, doesn’t tell you how you’re supposed to act when Aurora’s waiting for you, holding a fucking Oreimo fold out fan.  Sparkly stars were crashing down out of the heavens and blasting into my face like from a shower head.  I felt scared to life.

Despite myself, I walked over to her, and before I could say anything, she was all “No crazy talk – promise.”

I didn’t have a fire axe behind glass that I could scramble for, break in case of doki-doki, so all I could manage was “Do you want to go bowling?”

She looked at me – smiled at me – but her head was all tilted to the side like she didn’t know what the fuck I was getting at.

There’s a bowling alley up the street, just past McDonalds and Wendy’s, and I found courage, grabbed her hand for a moment, and lead her up the hill, past my fellow students who really started to take notes.  “Isn’t that?” “But she…”

Didn’t care.  It was raining, and cold, but I was determined. Up the hill, past the second bus stop, past the gaggles of people I didn’t care about, but still cared if they knew who I was.  Past ACME Donuts, and Vino Vixens, and we weren’t even talking, just holding hands like a parent does with an aimless child.  Was I the aimless child?  The parent? I didn’t know, all I cared about was the cute hand touching mine.

But yes – the bowling alley.  All red and blue with angled roof, and before I could even grab for the door Aurora finally pulled back.  “You know,” she smiled, “I’m not that into bowling.  However,” she looked across the street, “I would love to hang out in front of the strip club.”

Seriously – the Safari. I always joked that it was a perfect fall back for drop out girls who couldn’t hack it at Wendy’s – just walk a block up the street, “Live Dancers/Auditions Daily/$6 Ribeye”.

This time, Aurora dragged me across the street, not even concerned about the traffic, and we settled in under the big tree.  It was muddy, but she took a big towel out of her backpack, and we sat.

Without the walking, I suddenly became ultra shy, and let go of her hand.  She just smiled at me for seconds that seemed like hours – I was so smitten, and for no good reason I could think of, except that she. paid. attention.

She took a little plastic lunch container out of her bag (looked like it was Army Surplus), and set it down on the towel between us.  It had little baby carrots, and apple slices, and strawberries, and a few pieces of fancy, unwrapped chocolates.  She made a hand gesture that I was supposed to go first, and I did, all wrapped up in the carrots – my favorite.

“If I had my way,” she said while working on a chocolate, “I’d break into the Safari over there, at night, after the last sweaty 20 was put into a purse, and tear down all the stripper poles by force.  I’d use power tools if my bare hands weren’t enough.  I’d destroy everything.”

She really said something like that – I didn’t see her as so aggro. “Well, I’d break into the bowling alley, take out all the balls, and roll them down the street at passing cars.”

Again, with the smile and sideways head. “Dear, I was trying to make a point. I’m willing to utterly destroy what offends me, but at the same time, I could see myself up on that stage, in another life, wiggling and strutting and causing desire to run wild.”

“I’d like to see that!” I said with way too much enthusiasm – oh man, my like engine was gunning for the red line just about then.

“Maybe you will,” she smirked, “and not just in another life.”  She reached out for my hand again, and I didn’t shy away, but I didn’t move towards, either.  I just sat there, still and cold and wondering what, what, what next?

“I’m sorry.”  She hesitated, almost exactly like she did when I approached her the first time, before she dropped the box and ran away.  “I’m looking at things from a different direction than you are.  I have to remember that this is the first time.”

Both hands reached out for mine.  She pulled me towards her chest – I stumbled over the strawberries, staring into her eyes.

“No one forced me to come to be here with you.” Her hair, damp and tangled, hung inbetween our clasped hands.  I was close enough to smell her breathing – sweet. “I’m breaking every rule I’ve ever learned, but I don’t care.”

“So I was right,” I said to our hands – looking at her was too intense just then.  “You do have the hots for me.”  My attempt at a joke, which I swallowed as she brought our hands to her mouth.  She kissed my fingers, briefly.

“Miranda.”  The cars hissed by, but they sounded like a concert hall full of strings and cymbals, all aiming for that perfect moment of union.  “As long as I’ve been alive, I’ve known you.  You can’t understand what I’m trying to say, you can’t see where you’re headed, but I had to drop everything to be here with you.”

Oh, the tears, I wished for raindrops to hide them.  She was so smooth, so crazy – what was she even talking about?

“I only have 4 more days to spend here.  I want to spend them with you, if you’ll have me.” She let go of my hands, then wiped the hair away from my face.

“Why me?” I reached for her face this time.  I wanted to know her, always, even though we’d barely met.  “You can’t possible know me like you say you do.”

“I’ve known you forever,” and she kissed my cheek! “I don’t know you yet,” and her lips met mine.

The cars. The rain. Her hair… it was beyond everything.

It lasted for moments, for hours, and my heart collapsed and exploded like a new star.

I can’t say more, not here and now. My fingers are still running through her hair, I can still taste her confidence, her power, and she wanted me.  For the first time, I knew what it meant to want.  When the rain ended, and she walked away, I wanted more than I could even comprehend.

“I only have 4 days left,” she sighed, as we sat huddled together, under the Motel 6 sign looming large behind us. “I’m yours until then. And after, and as far as I can see.”

“You’re mine.  Now.” This time, I grabbed her hands with assurance. “I don’t care about the future, just make this now between us last forever.”

She didn’t promise.  She almost cried. She left the towel, and the food, and got up and walked away.

I thought that she wouldn’t look back, that it was all hoax just like everything else.  I wanted her too much to run after her.

Then she stopped, and turned, and waived at me.  She smiled like babies do at a blurry world – trusting and open.

“Tomorrow we bowl!” She yelled. “Bowl right in the street!”

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