Friday, December 17, 2004

Fan Mail

Another hectic morning. Jason isn’t feeling well, but there’s no fever, so he’s going to school. Lillie refuses to get up, so I dress her as she sleeps. Collie, God bless the chile, takes care of his own.

Outside, a woman hails a cab as we hit the street. We wait ten minutes before another shows up.

Once the kids are safely ensconced in school, I walk to the subway. For the second time this week, I have put work aside in favor of a date. The blindest of blind dates.

I am meeting a reader of this blog.

A few days ago, I got an email from a young woman, saying that these posts were really doing it for her. I replied that I was glad to help.

We trade notes, and then we trade instant messages. She’s quick and funny. We trade pics, and gosh darn if she isn’t cute too.

She is also a cellist.

All discriminating music lovers agree that the cello is the most sensuous of string instruments (the clarinet takes honors among winds). It is in the instrument’s sound, the deep, resonant zuumm zummmm that reverberates in the listener’s gut.

Physically, the instrument itself is nestled between the knees of the musician, whose fingers must be quick to jump octaves along the long neck. The musician treats the instrument not as an extension of the body, like a violin or viola, but as a body in its own right, one that must be caressed and cajoled into emitting its low wails and moans.

Only cellists, among string players, must buy two tickets when traveling, so that the musician and her instrument can rest near one another. The cellist and her cello are not one but two. They exist independently as flesh, wood and catgut. They come together to fulfill a common purpose: moving one another, other ears, and other bodies.

As a kid, I hoped I would grow up to marry a cellist.

My new groupie is in New York now and then, but not often. She’s no fan of the city, preferring the quiet where she lives, about two hours away. But, she says, she hasn’t found anyone there who does the kinds of things I have written about in this blog.

There’s just not much going on with the local talent.

I like chatting with her, and write that perhaps we can meet if she’s ever in town. She says sure, maybe she will come visit after the semester ends in a few days.

To me, that seems unlikely at best, particularly given holiday activities and the work that has piled up on my desk—not to mention the likelihood that she means what she says—but I say sure, that would be great.

The next day, she asks what I’m doing on Thursday. Just working from 9am on, I say, and I have my kids after school. Why do you ask?

How about we spend some time together? I can be there by 8:45am.

What do you want to do when we meet?, I ask. Great sex would be super, she says. It’s been too long.

Huh. Okay. And uh, can I offer to make you lunch? Nothing fancy, she says. Grilled cheese would be perfect.

I am not one to refuse a gift horse.

When we traded pics, she sent a photo album. In the photos, I saw her grow up: mugging with friends, playing cello in her high school orchestra, going through a Goth phase, and dressed up for the prom, looking very sweet, very lovely, and . . . very young.

I brought up the disparity in our ages. She has just turned twenty. She is half my age—barely.

She says that does not bother her. True, I would be the oldest man she has had sex with, by over a decade. But she is more interested in people than in their ages.

I suppose I had to agree with that. And I am getting used to being with women a fair bit younger than me.

Still, I avoid emphasizing the matter. When she talks of her love of Phish concerts, I neglect to mention that I was at one during the year of her birth.

Actually, she is more concerned with the disparity in our experience. She is very sexual, she says, and tells a few compelling stories of past encounters. But she hasn’t had many opportunities to do a variety of things, like the kinds of things I have written about. What if I think she isn’t good enough?

That last thought touched me. How can someone think she is not “good enough?”

I agree to meet her. She has one last request:

“Please tell me you aren’t an ax murderer.”

“Axes are passé,” I reassure her.

I pass the vetting process.

“I just hope you are as good as your blog,” she says. “I really need some good sex.”

Early morning sex, on deadline, with a stranger half my age, who hopes I fuck as well as I write.

No pressure.

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