Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

Buffalo, New York 1977
by Diane Fleming

You know, you start out in college wanting someone to kiss your breasts. At midnight, Richard walks me back to my dorm in North Buffalo. We stand under trees, under the window where the two born-again girls sleep. He kisses me.

There is one thing I know: I should leave right away. He seems agitated and high. But I let him lift up my denim skirt and stick it in right there, right outside, early fall, still warm. There is dirt on my butt, needles on my shoulders. Iím afraid of getting pregnant but I am more afraid heíll jump and run away, never to return.

Some people describe sex scenes like this: "His huge engorged member throbbed in her wet pussy." Iíd describe our sex life like this: right before sex, my boyfriend pulls out his dentures and my tongue slithers in his toothless mouth.

Richard tells me he has no real teeth left because whenever he withdraws, he eats candy.

When I ask him about oral sex (to be performed on me), he says, "I never go down thereódonít look at me."

I do look at him. He laughs so hard, his gums flash.

Iíve been with a couple of men before Richard. The guy who wore nothing to bed, but socks like condoms on his feet; he never got it up. Another guy poked at my asshole all night and that might have been okay except he never poked at anything else.

Maybe Richard fits into some other bad lover category, but together, we walked to Canada over the Peace Bridge, we ate hot wings at the Anchor Bar, we watched Foxy Brown at the B movie palace. Iíd say heís the best lover Iíve ever had.

I wait patiently in the bedroom that is painted a dark metallic green. I sit on the skinny four-poster bed in my underwear.

Richard looks out from the bathroom, holds up the needle, tapping. He shoots in a little Ė heroin with speed. I noticed the little worms inside the crook of his elbows early on. When Richard emerges from the bathroom, he is missing parts of his spirit, having seeped a milky drug vapor into his cracks, filling. The Isley Brothersí play on the radio. Richard grabs my hands and pulls me around the room.

"I want to be living," he seems so happy, "for the love of you." It almost seems like he really cares for me.

I peek in the bathroom and see tin foil shreds and a bent burnt spoon cozy on the cover of the toilet. I guess thatís where it all happens for himónot in the bedroom with me, the white girl twenty years too young for him or maybe twenty years too sober. He achieves his peaks in places Iíll never see: solitary bathrooms, back seats of cars, dark porches on June nights.

The needles get under his skin. I stay somewhere on his surface.
Diane Fleming is an award-winning local writer and poet, and an AustinMama.com favorite.