Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

by Diane Fleming

I invite him to lunch. I think we hate each other. I've never met him. He responded to my personal ad and he is married. I'm not sure how we can have a relationship, but he tells me this can work -- with the right attitude. We meet at a Mexican restaurant. His skin is pockmarked; he looks sad. There are many things we disagree about. One is his relationship to his wife. He claims he cannot divorce her because she’s not a bad person. I guess only bad people get divorces. 

He says, “We never have sex. I go to prostitutes.” 

Sometimes, I think I am Jesus. I mean, I listen to the most outrageous stories with compassion, without judgment. Why do I do this? I'm not trying to be this way. Where other people see TROUBLE, I see softness. 

Now, he tells me about his sexual fantasies. It isn't as though he fantasizes about me, not the real me. If he put the real me in his sex stories, those stories would be full of everyday heartache.

I say, "Why don't you just tell your wife that you're not happy, that you need more sex?"

He looks at me, astonished. How can I be so stupid? You don't just tell people these things. You leak details slowly, in subtle painless pointless ways.
We talk about HOMO SEX U ALITY -- the big subject we discuss to avoid talking about why we are here in the same room. Why isn't he with his wife, blasting her with his secrets of prostitutes and dreams of divorce? Why am I here? Why do I go down dead end roads again and again, sometimes even building houses and cities on those roads, establishing myself on a path that leads nowhere? But here we are, talking about HOMO SEX U ALITY.

He says, "It's unnatural. You don't see it in nature -- in other animals."

I say, "Well there are a lot of things you don't see in nature. How often do animals engage in oral sex? Do animals get married? Do animals kiss? Do they send each other love letters? Does a male dog beat and batter his bitch until the she brings him his bone, the big juicy bone that he loves, whenever he barks?"

But, I don't want to talk about his wife or gay people. I want to talk about loneliness. That's what hangs here.

"Look," I say, "I'm lonely. My life is a long train ride of events uptown and downtown. I'm either running away from something to save my life or I'm running toward something in a desperate needy fever. I'm tired of it. I want to get off the train and sit quietly, with someone or not, and watch the water."

He whispers, "I think this was a bad idea."

I know this was a bad idea. He leaves. I know why he left. Who wants to know how lonely they really are? Who wants to spend their time knowing this?
Diane Fleming is a local writer and AustinMama favorite.