“A weed is no more than a flower in disguise, Which is seen through at once, if love give a man eyes.” – James Russell Lowell
It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon, and I head over to Mr. Wolf’s house. “I’m hungry,” I tell him. Between last night and not completely wanting to be here, I’m being a little abrasive. I want to eat now. “We can grab a bite before the movie,” he says. We’re going to see Red Riding Hood. Oh, the irony. Wolf says he has to watch it for “research.” If he didn’t already have a free ticket, there’s no way I’d agree to this. He’s always trying to get me to see movies with him. I hate movies—they’re so finite. Television is much more my speed: enduring arcs, emotional investment, but not procedurals. Life isn’t formulaic, or at least mine isn’t.
“How was your week?” He asks, looking into me. “Hard,” I say, and we kiss. “I’ve been letting my insecurities get the better of me.” “Poor thing,” he says, “and yesterday you thought I stood you up.” Of course he thinks this is about him. We kiss again, long and deep. “You kiss like you need it,” he tells me. “Maybe I do,” I say. “Maybe I need it to.” He rubs my side. “What do you want to do?” “Just lie here for a while,” I tell him, turning over. I’m feeling particularly fragile today and after about five minutes, my stomach starts rumbling. Loudly. Another reason for my irritability. I kiss him again, and he insists on getting me something to eat.
Wolf picks a place that is a little too pricey for me with a bizarro menu. “Whatdya’ll want to drink?” Asks the flavorful waitress. “And where might I ask is that accent from?” He inquires. “Indiana,” she replies with a sweet sass. “I’ll have a chocolate milk,” Wolf says, “and you should get one of the juices,” he tells me. So I do. (When the check comes, I discover the juice is a ridiculous $5. He doesn’t offer to pay.) While we’re waiting for the movie to start, the mood settles with some banter as we comment on our fellow moviegoers and they’re odd habits. Fortunately, he doesn’t try anything during the movie…I think that kind of thing is tacky. Unfortunately, everything about the movie is embarrassingly bad. On the drive home, I try to have a technical conversation, deconstructing the film’s elements. “That’s not exactly right,” he says definitively of one of my opinions, so I shut up. I diffuse the situation by pointing to the attractiveness of the male lead. Wolf then goes on to explain several terms that I’m already very familiar with, so I zone out.
When we get back to Wolf’s house, we go upstairs, he pulls my shirt off and traces my body with his fingers like an artists defining the negative space. It’s foreign to me how this man is so genuinely intrigued by my physical form and yet so absent and unaware of my personality. It’s a different kind of shallowness than one might expect, but Wolf has never truly conformed to my expectations of him. On the one hand, it makes him a more interesting person, but his lack of engagement simultaneously disgusts and scares me.
As things move along, Wolf asks me if I can achieve a certain unspeakable sex act that most men can’t do. “I used to, but I don’t know if I can anymore,” I reply. “Oh, I believe in you,” he says. Turns out I can. We finish, and lie still for a minute, but I’m antsy, so I hop in the shower and take off. “I have work early tomorrow,” I tell him. When I get in the car, I call The Writer, who I haven’t seen since our talk on Thursday. “Want to come over for movie night?” He asks. “Sure,” I say, my insecurities about “us” still swelling.
An hour later, my back is killing me. “Do you have any Advil?” I ask The Writer. “Yeah,” he gets up and shovels through the mess in his drawers. “Headache?” “No,” I say, “an unspeakable sex act.” He smirks, and I know that I’m playing into some kind of game, but I don’t really mean to. We’re watching E.T., which makes me cry. I don’t let him see.