Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The (Love) Life of Brian - Part VI

When I left off last time, I had driven all night from Kansas City to Denver to meet my on-line friend Stacy from Seattle for the first time in-person.  I was totally exhausted, but our first encounter was, to say the least, re-invigorating.  As always, I appreciate your indulgence if you choose to read on...trust me, we get to the good part this time!

“So was I alright?  Did I take you to the height of ecstasy?”—John Entwistle, The Who (“Trick Of The Light”)

Stacy’s Alopecia conference was held at the Adam’s Mark on the other side of downtown from the stadium, and when I found her in the lobby, we embraced and the first thing out of Stacy’s mouth was, “We have to get out of here—there are Christians all over the place!”  This was in reference to our many chats about how much we both disdain organized religion and the phoniness thereof, and evidently there was a happy-young-Christian conference running parallel to the Alopecia event at the hotel.  So, we adjourned to the virtually Christian-less hotel bar and I presented Stacy with the Frank Zappa book I picked up for her (she’s a huge FZ fan).  Stacy warned me in advance that she’s normally pretty quiet in person, but before we knew it, she and I were chatting up a storm.  She remarked that I seemed more upbeat in person than I appeared in the photos I’d sent her and I suddenly felt re-energized, thus I abandoned my plan to beg off and go back to my hotel.  After a couple hours or so, we decided to stroll along Denver’s 16th Street Mall area (which is very cool, btw) in search of a suitable place to have dinner, eventually landing at the Hard Rock CafĂ© at a table right in front of a big Jimi Hendrix display, which seemed fitting since Stacy was from Seattle.  Good grub and good conversation made for a very nice time at the Rock, but we weren’t quite sure what to do after that.

The rain from earlier in the day went away and it turned out to be a picturesque evening as we strolled around, eventually heading back in the general direction of Stacy’s hotel as the sun was setting.  It was pushing 10:00 by this time, but neither of us really wanted to part company yet, so we decided to sit and visit for a while on a courtyard bench across the street from the Adam’s Mark in front of something called the World Trade Center.  After a few minutes of idle chit-chat, the little dude in my brain sensed a golden opportunity, and said, “Put your arm around her and see how she reacts.”  Being the true gentleman that I am, I even asked permission first:  “Stacy, would you be offended if I put my arm around you?”  She said, “No, not at all,” so I then extended my left arm, which Stacy melted right into, and it was most awesome feeling!  She knew of my frustrations with the opposite sex and as I held her, she said, “I don’t know why you can’t find someone back home—there’s nothing wrong with you.”  Intellectually, I knew this to be true, but it carried a whole lot more hearing it from Stacy.  Then I touched her face and pulled her toward me and had the unmitigated gall to kiss her, and when I did, it was like the rest of the whole freakin’ world disappeared for about five minutes.  We came up for air and I was like, “Did that really just happen?”  I then said to her, “Would you be my girlfriend for the weekend—no strings attached?” and she was totally agreeable.  “We both deserve this,” I added.  Our kissing intensified after a bit, and people around us started to stare, plus it started raining again (Colorado weather changes at the drop of a hat), so Stacy suggested we relocate to her room on the 11th floor—11 being my favorite number, naturally.

While I had no pre-meditated plans for things to turn romantic between us, I have to admit the thought of something like this happening did cross my mind a time or two in the weeks leading up to our little rendezvous, but I figured that kind of thing only happens in the movies, so I never thought it would come true.  Stacy later admitted to me that she, too, was kinda sorta hoping for something special to happen because she was miserable with the jerk (her word, not mine) she was living with, who was very indifferent towards her at that point.  It had been a while since anyone had treated her special or found her desirous, and I obviously had an itch to scratch, so the timing was perfect for both of us.  Stacy told me later that she was “floating” when I held her hand as we walked back to the hotel.  After resuming the kissing and fondling in Stacy’s room, I couldn’t get over how soft and smooth her skin was, especially her arms, and I made her smile when I complimented her on it.  I finally ran out of gas around 1AM, but we promised each other to pick up where we left off the next night, after our daytime activities.  On the way back to my hotel, Meat Loaf’s “You Took The Words Right Outta My Mouth” (a favorite of mine) came on the car radio in the wee hours. I couldn’t have expressed my feelings any better, because Stacy had certainly rendered me speechless!

Friday morning, I woke up refreshed (gee, I wonder why) and met up with Stacy downtown again, and it felt a little awkward at first.  I was still rather shell-shocked over the night before and wasn’t quite sure how to act.  I was itching to make out with Stacy again, but I didn’t want to push my luck and ruin a good thing.  We decided to go for a drive late in the morning and hit some sights like Boulder and Red Rocks, and that’s when I experienced that quietness from Stacy that she warned me about.  She wasn’t very talkative at all, and I didn’t quite know how to interpret her silence, and I thought “Oh shit, she regrets last night now.”  As we sat in the top row at Red Rocks resting and basking in the sun, she reassured me by kissing me and saying, “I told you I was quiet, didn’t I?”  She went back to the conference late in the day and we re-connected for dinner then went back to her room and engaged in my new favorite indoor sport again—making out.  We found a great old-school R&B radio station that played lots of Barry White and Marvin Gaye songs, as well as Malo’s “Suavecito”—excellent make-out music—which added even more flavor to the proceedings.  At some point along the way, I broached the subject of possibly taking things to the next level and what impact it would have on our friendship if we did.  At first, Stacy seemed against it, and I wasn’t about to push her into something she wasn’t comfortable with, so we tabled the discussion for the time-being.  I said, “That’s fine, as long we’re both on the same page.”  As time passed, the making-out intensified (i.e., we got more adventurous with our hands) and eventually wound up naked from the waist-up, and I sensed a change of heart in Stacy.  “We seem to have turned a few more pages,” I quipped, and she smiled.  I then asked, “Should I pick up some protection in the morning?” and Stacy smiled again and said “Yes.”  Then I added, “You know that Bruce Springsteen song ‘Human Touch’?  That’s what this all means to me,” and she understood where I was coming from.  Once again, I left in the wee wee hours and returned to my hotel feeling elated, yet still not quite sure if we were about to do the right thing or not…

Saturday morning was a first for me—I’d never gone condom shopping anywhere but a machine in a men's room before!  I stopped in at a grocery store near my hotel, still a bit uneasy about whether having sex with Stacy was the right thing to do, A) because of our friendship and how this would affect it, and B) the fact that she was technically still involved with her live-in “mate”, even though she wanted to leave him.  Then I literally heard a voice from above that told me everything was okay.  No, it wasn’t God, but The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen, on the store’s P.A. overhead singing (you guessed it) “Human Touch”!  I swear, I’m not making this up, folks.  That let me know right then and there that this was so right and it would be a special night.  I returned downtown and attended part of the conference with Stacy during the morning (holding hands while listening to the various speakers on hand), then returned to my hotel later in the afternoon to chill out and anxiously await the big night.  I killed some of the time with the nice diversion of watching the U.S. chick soccer team winning the World Cup (when Brandy Chastain flashed her bra), and I was surprisingly not nervous like I expected to be.  It almost felt too good to be true, though.

Stacy and I reconvened downtown, made out some more in her room, then I took her to nearby hoity-toity Wolfgang Puck’s for a romantic dinner.  While waiting for our table, she took my hand and said how much it meant to her “to be desired and feel like a woman again,” and I told her it just felt so natural to me.  The night was still young, so after dinner we made an appearance at the Alopecia conference’s big Saturday night hoedown and hootenanny at the hotel ballroom, and had a nice time there until the trebly music on the DJ’s speakers went through my head like a nail and gave me a headache.  We had an offer to go hang with some of Stacy’s Alopecian friends at another nightclub, which I was game for, but Stacy opted out—she wanted me all to herself!  Since 7 and 11 are my two favorite numbers, it was only appropriate that we waited until after Midnight—which made it July 11th—to return to Room 1102 and end 14-and-half years’ worth of personal frustration.

The Alopecia conference’s theme was “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and right on cue, Diana Ross came on the radio singing that song just after Midnight when Stacy helped me lose my virginity all over again.  I’ll spare you the details at this point, except to say this time was far more intense and satisfying than my first time way back in ‘84, and we weren’t just having sex—we were making love!  Long about 12:20AM, I felt that monkey finally leap off my back as we collapsed in each other’s arms and I said to Stacy, “I can’t resist this—in the words of John Entwistle:  ‘So, was I alright?’”  “Definitely!” she responded.  Leave it to me to quote a Who song in bed after sex!  Oh, by the way, when Stacy was in her teens and early ‘20s (before she lost her hair), she was a fashion model.  I bet there’s a lot of guys out there who can’t say they ever did it with a model, but I can!  It felt damn nice to wake up with her in my arms in the morning too.

Prior to July 11, 1999, it had been 5,311 days (or approx. 127,464 hours) since the night I first lost my virginity with Lisa #1 on Christmas Eve of ‘84.  Ironically, I only had to wait 14 hours for the next time!  Stacy had to check out of her hotel before Noon on Sunday, and she was due to fly back home late in the afternoon, but luckily I still had my hotel room for one more night, so we relocated to “my place” for my first-ever matinee.  It felt wonderful, but as the time to leave neared, I began feeling very sad.  It suddenly hit me what a wonderful thing Stacy and I had shared over those four days, and I didn’t want it to end.  It was even hard for me to talk on the way to the airport because I was so emotional.  I was afraid nothing like this would ever to me again (it hasn’t), and I didn’t want to let go of her—but, I did say “no strings attached”, didn’t I?  While waiting for Stacy’s flight, she said to me, “Maybe we could meet again halfway between K.C. and Seattle.  Where would that be, somewhere in Wyoming?” I thought she was only joking, so I didn’t read much into it.  Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, and I actually broke down when I got back to my car because of the overwhelming emotions I felt.  When I got back to my hotel, I discovered Stacy had left one of her blouses behind in my bed.  I kinda think she did it on purpose, and the smell of her perfume was all over it, so in a way it was as if she was still there with me, so I slept with her blouse by my side that night.  While reflecting on what I’d just experienced, it occurred to me that I had more fun with Stacy in three-and-a-half days than I ever had with both Lisas combined!  I will take that wonderful weekend to the grave with me—I bet John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Highs were never this much fun…

Next morning, with Dave Edmunds’ version of Bob Seger’s “Get Out Of Denver” blaring on the tape deck, I got out of Denver and headed eastward for home, filled with memories of a mind-blowing weekend that made the normally-interminable trek across Kansas halfway tolerable.  Upon my return home, I found the nicest e-mail note waiting for me from Stacy in which she said she missed my hugs and felt empty without me, and—best of all—“would you turn me inside-out again?”, as she liked to say.  I figured our little fling in Denver was just a one-time thing and we would just remain friends again from there on out, plus I thought she was only kidding about being together again when she mentioned Wyoming.  Instead, Stacy made the brilliant suggestion of rendezvous-ing in Las Vegas, and it made perfect sense—flights to Sin City were relatively inexpensive and we could have a ball for several days.  This also did wonders for my ego.  Stacy had been with other guys before and had lots more experience in relationships than I did, yet she was willing to go out of her way to be with me again, so I must’ve done something right in Colorado—talk about a confidence builder!  When I returned to work and told everyone about my trip, one of the guys remarked, “This man’s a playa now!” Indeed.

Unfortunately, we each needed a little time to save up some money and secure time off work, so Stacy and I had to endure an agonizing two months of waiting (cue Tom Petty’s “The Waiting”) before we could be together again, but during the interim, our online chats made us realize that this was more than just a fling—we were actually in love!  It was unorthodox, to be sure, but it was real and I’d never felt like this toward someone before (or since).  I even actually contemplated relocating to the Great Northwest at times to live with her, but that would've been a long shot, at best.  It sucked that we couldn’t be together sooner, but we filled the time by sending things to each other via snail-mail, making plans and eagerly anticipating September 23rd.  Las Vegas was totally worth the wait and did not disappoint, either, as we spent six wonderfully romantic days and nights together, and I made up for years of lost time in the intercourse department—sex twice a day (sometimes thrice), what a concept!  I think my favorite memory of that week was the night Stacy wore a sexy low-cut top, long slinky skirt and black stockings with a pretty red wig (knowing how much I like redheads) when we went out on the town, and when we stood toe-to-toe on the outdoor deck at the top of the Stratosphere tower and kissed, it was like we were the only two people on earth.  Parting again at the airport was such sweet sorrow, but we both went home very fulfilled.

After enduring another two-month wait, Stacy flew to Kansas City to play house with me for ten days in December, which overlapped her birthday, so we celebrated it by firelight with Barry White playing in the background (Barry rules!).  We had a great time again, but the vibe wasn’t quite the same as Denver and Vegas this time, mostly because Stacy was stressing out about moving into her own place and getting away from the jackass she’d been living with.  She wanted to leave him desperately, but was concerned about hurting his little girl from a previous marriage who had gotten rather attached to Stacy.  Also, it reached the point where we wound up spending a little too much time together and actually got a little burned-out on each other, plus there are only so many options for nightlife and things to do in K.C. in December, as opposed to Denver in summertime or Vegas anytime.  It was also felt weird to me to have a houseguest.  Don’t get me wrong—I loved having Stacy here with me—but I’m just not used to having someone else around the house 24/7, and it was an adjustment to have to share.  Makes me wonder if I can handle it if and when I ever get involved with another woman down the road.  Little did I know that when I kissed Stacy goodbye at KCI airport on that gloomy Sunday afternoon that it would be the last time I’d kiss her (or any other woman) on the lips (romantically) to this day…

After Stacy came to visit me in my humble abode, the plan was for me to return the favor and rock her world in Seattle once she got settled into her own place, perhaps as early as March of 2000, but it didn’t quite work out that way.  As January wore on, our nightly online chats became rather disjointed and stilted, and Stacy became more and more distant with me.  By early February, I finally confronted her and said it felt like she was blowing me off, and she admitted that the distance between us was getting to her, plus there was stuff at her end that was nagging her.  She said it wasn’t anything I did and that she really didn’t want to be involved with anyone at that point, so she wanted to break things off.  As you might expect, I was majorly disappointed, and I’ve always felt like we left things unfinished between us, since I never got to play house with Stacy in Seattle.  I never expected us to last forever, but I was a bit dumbfounded at how quickly my status went from "I love you, Brian" to "Dear Occupant" with Stacy in just a matter of weeks.

But, we vowed to remain friends anyway, and our friendship was really tested not long after that.  A few weeks later, Stacy informed me that she had met some guy that she was smitten with, and I reacted very angrily and didn’t speak to her for quite a while because I felt betrayed.  The way I viewed it was here’s Stacy telling me she didn’t want to be in ANY relationship when we broke up, yet less than two months later, she’s already involved with someone else again, so this hurt me a lot.  It turned out that the guy had another girlfriend and was just playing Stacy and she got burned, so I felt slightly vindicated.  She later apologized for hurting me and we moved on, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.  Maybe it’s true after all what they say that good friends shouldn’t become lovers, but I have no regrets for what we shared together during those six months, however unconventional it might’ve been.  I probably would’ve become a basket case by now if Stacy hadn’t come along to take me places I’ve never been before (in the carnal sense).  There’s been no one for me since then, and even though it’s been ten years, she instilled enough confidence in me to know I can please a woman sexually if and when I ever do find another one.  Still, I highly discourage long-distance relationships—they’re too difficult to maintain (esp. across 1,800 miles and two time zones) and it sucks when you can only be with your sweetheart at certain intervals.

And thankfully, true friendship won out, as Stacy and I remain friends to this day, even though we’ve had our ups and downs over the last ten years, including her marriage in 2002 and divorce in 2007.  I did eventually get to visit Stacy in Seattle in ‘02 after she got married, but it was rather awkward and poor timing on my part, as I wound up spending more time with her husband and dog than with her because she had to work a lot.  Stacy’s the one person that I can confide in and talk to about practically anything, and that means the world to me.  Sadly, we seem to have grown apart a bit in the last couple years and our worlds seem like such different places today.  I know things aren’t likely to ever revert to the halcyon days of ’99 between us, but I do wish she’d talk to me a little more than she has been lately.  I care about her a lot, and I wish she wouldn’t shut me out of her life, but our correspondence has basically dwindled down to “Hi, how are you?  I am fine.  Talk to you later…”  She’s very special to me, and I don’t want to lose her friendship.  She’s one in a million…

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent of my love-life to this point.  I haven't even been on a date since December, 1999.  I will explore the reasons for all that in the final installment of this series later this week.

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