Meg’s narrative of this weekend begins here.
Anna left a little after ten, saying she was meeting “someone” at the Museum of Modern Art.
She said it in a pointed way, to be sure I didn’t miss that she wasn’t going alone, and she didn’t care to invite me, as she already had plans with “someone.”
I kissed her goodbye and refrained from telling her to have fun with the new boyfriend.
The course of the morning encouraged Anna to assert her new-found “polyamory” as a woman with two boyfriends. She was put out when the glow of our first weekend sleepover had been tainted by her investigation of my bathroom.
That morning, I woke early and made my way to the bathroom. I brushed my teeth, drifting to the memory of fucking Anna as she slept.
I remembered that Anna had a toothbrush in my medicine cabinet. Feeling sweet on her, I took down her toothbrush and lay it next to mine.
Of course, I had chosen the wrong toothbrush.
Of course, she had to point out this egregious mistake.
She called me to the bathroom.
After several questions established that the toothbrush belonged to neither my children nor their father, Anna said I must have confused her with someone else. She wanted me to see her toothbrush to avoid future confusion. She opened my medicine cabinet.
She saw that I have many toothbrushes.
“This one is mine,” she said, fishing a toothbrush from the tangle. She held it before my face. “I’m the pink one.”
“Got it,” I said. “The dancer gets the pink one.”
“Huh,” she said, squeezing toothpaste. “So I guess I’m the only dancer?”
“Who knows, really,” I yawned. “Who can keep track of details with so many women? I should make you all wear name tags.”
Anna punched my arm. “Don’t tempt me,” she mumbled through fluorinated suds.
After rinsing, she noticed Lillie’s Hello Kitty hairbrush. This prompted questions about Lillie’s hair and advice on different ways to keep it from her eyes.
I sat on the toilet, nodding and listening.
I was full of useful grooming tips by the time she departed for her appointment with “someone.”
I locked the door behind her. I warmed a plate of leftover scallops.
All was still as I awaited my fate.
My fate was just then hurtling north on the New Jersey Turnpike at over seventy miles an hour.
Shelby was kidnapping me. She had recruited Meg as her accomplice.
Every week, Shelby trained to the city to spend the night with me. She is no fan of cities, and often suggested that one day, I should trek down to her quiet corner of New Jersey.
That “one day” was now. Her birthday gift to me would be a tour of her hometown, and of her life as she lives it when we are apart.
She was driving up to fetch me.
She had never driven in Manhattan.
She wasn't happy about doing so.
“You just make sure your ass is ready to go when we get there,” she instructed me. “No way am I parking or driving around that fucking island. I’m going through the tunnel, getting your ass, and turning around to get the fuck out.”
My tramp bag waited by the door.
When the girls arrived, I kissed them both and tossed my bag into the backseat. I sat next to it and buckled in.
“You aren’t allowed to make fun of Shelby’s driving,” Meg warned as she flipped through her iPod.
“Yeah, or I’ll make you drive—and these other drivers will eat your pansy ass.”
“I’m sure we’ll be fine,” I said, grasping a door handle as Shelby swerved across two lanes.
“Assholes, man, they need to learn to fucking drive.”
Meg turned to me. “You’ll get used to it. She hasn’t killed anyone yet.”
“Comforting thought,” I smiled wanly.
“Wait, turn this up!” Shelby ordered. “This song, you know it?”
“Touch-ing yoo-ooooo-ooou . . . .” Meg sang.
“Touch-ing me-eeee-eeee . . .,” Shelby joined. They chased the singer’s voice through a rapid-fire falsetto. “I believe in a thing called love . . . just listen to the rhythm of my heart . . .”
“Man, you kids need to get hep to glam rock,” I shouted. “See, back in my day . . .”
They were too far gone to hear me.
Several hours, one cup of coffee, and two pits stops later, we were in Shelby’s hometown. We picked up some essentials, including vodka for the girls and bourbon for boy—the latter being Meg’s treat, as it was my birthday week. We also needed a few items from the local supplier of sado-masochist paraphernalia.
The hardware aisle at Wal Mart.
“We’re going to hogtie Meg,” Shelby matter-of-factly asserted as she dug through bins of clothesline. “Which do we want? Fifty feet or a hundred?”
“Wait, we’re hogtying me?” Meg asked.
“Well, let’s think about that,” I mused. “Fifty should be sufficient, but it pays to be prepared.”
“I’m getting hogtied?”
“Yeah, it costs about the same, so I’m getting the longer one,” Shelby decided, tossing the rope into her basket. “Now, what about clothespins?”
“Clothespins?” Meg asked.
“Oh, the big bag,” I said. “One hundred gives us a lot to play with.”
“I’m getting two big bags,” Shelby said. “You need some back in the city.”
“Oh, thank you sweetheart, that’s very thoughtful.”
“And I think Meg has candles, so we should be set for hot wax.”
“Wait,” Meg said. “Wax?”
As we walked though the store, Shelby slipped her hand into mine. Her town is small, and she is well known as her mother’s daughter. Still, she was not concerned to be seen showing affection with the much older man she loved, a stranger to all the natives.
“Fuck ‘em,” she said. “I need to shake this place up, man.”
“Whatever you like,” I said, kissing the back of her hand.
The sky was streaked with purple and grey as we drove to Meg’s place, where we would be bedding for the night.
“You know, Jefferson,” Meg said. “It was almost a year ago we met.”
“Fuck, that’s right,” I agreed. “It was Valentine’s Day.”
“Yeah, my best friend has been fucking my boyfriend for almost a year,” Shelby laughed.
Ours was not a conventional romance.
We unloaded the car, changed to pajamas and poured drinks.
We had everything we needed for two days and nights of raucous shenanigans.
I was three days into my birthday week of wall-to-wall sex.
But first, we had to satisfy a basic requirement of Meg and Shelby’s Sunday nights together.
We had to eat pizza and watch “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”
And smoke some very fine weed.