I often find that on a good Saturday like today, one with rain that doesn’t hurt or sting, the local book or record store is the only logical place to go. Where else could you find somber tones to match the back drop of grey skies and a constant monotone beating you often hear on windows and rooftops. I always feel like a quest is upon me. Find the latest Modest Mouse album, or that record by the Cure that I’ve been looking for, for less than forty dollars. Grey skies, and great buys. That’s what I believe in.
I walk in to the record, and the girl at the counter doesn’t even give me the typical greeting.
“Hey man, what’s up?” she says as her manager looks on, judging her for her complete lack of professionalism.
Although, when he sees me, he looks up towards the ceiling, and with a smirk, walks back towards whatever counter occupies him at this time of the morning. Her large breast grab my attention before her wide gapped smile does, and I think she notices that as I halt a nervous chuckle, and return a greeting her way. This place is like heaven to me. A bookstore that caters to hipsters where you can find rare vinyl records and comic book collectibles for cheap prices. The only bad thing about this place actually is that you pretty much have to walk across the street to get a cup of coffee as this is the one place in town with books but without a barista.
I realize as an awesome sadness washes over me that the feeling was incited by her breast. It’s been three days since Diane broke up with me. I’ve eaten three bowls of French Toast Crunch, and some cold pizza, listened to Modest Mouse on repeat, and watched internet porn for about 71 hours of the time that was lost. I haven’t slept. A man can’t sleep without his pillow, and Diane’s whole body made up the frame and comfort of my bed. Mostly it was her breasts.
You know how clean white sheets seem soft, refreshing, and comforting, even at the thought? Diane’s breasts were soft, refreshing, comforting. From the moment we met, the level of intimacy between us was unmistakable. She never wore a shirt to bed, and always cradled me, making me the little spoon. I never slept so good, and I guess that’s why I haven’t slept at all lately.
I’m looking at records down the aisle, and I pass the Shins. Moody and melancholy at times, but most of the tones are high and light, but they were our band, and we bonded over them. I almost burst into tears. I turn around and see the “M’s” and try to decide if I want to buy another Modest Mouse album, or the new Marilyn Manson album.
I decide to go with Mastodan. Heavy metal, loud and angry, enough noise to keep me from thinking and feeling too much while I try to forget Diane.
I head towards the counter, and from the thin frames in front of me, I see that toothy smile. It used to comfort me when Diane and I would fight. Always nice to meet someone who knows the lyrics to “Machina the Machines of God.”
She looks at me and says “Hey, what’s new?”
Without thinking, and almost automatically, I say,“Diane and I broke up.”
She looks sad for a moment and says “Aw man, that sucks. Wanna grab coffee?”
Was she serious? I know I must have looked shocked for a moment, but she looked on and smiled.
“Sure” I said trying to play it off as cool, yet slightly morose.
She chuckles “Great man, I get off at eleven.”
I spent the next three hours listening to Modest Mouse. I didn’t even open the new album. The album thought for me. I needed it too. I wasn’t quite sure if this was a date or not. Diane always wanted coffee after sex, and a long binge of Call of Duty. I’m sure that’s not how everyone takes or enjoys their coffee, but I was optimistic that we would at least end up listening to records, if not playing something on PSN.
I finally decided to get up, get dressed, pretend that I didn’t care about how I looked, and who I was going to see. “This isn’t a date.” I tell myself as I spray AXE in my face, spit it out, and begin to head towards the door. . When I arrive there, she’s putting her key into the door. She let’s out a big exasperated sigh, then turns to me with a smile.
“Oh hey you!” she says, before doing something that still bewilders and puzzles me to this day. She reached down into her shirt, pulled out her bra, and said “Ah, that’s better!”
I did not know what I was in for.
I’ve never ordered a second cup. My bladder was full, and I was a bit gassy, and I was drunk off conversation. Her name was Anna. Every time we got close, I thought we would kiss. I wanted too. She had an infectious laugh that hit you in the belly, and tickled down a little farther South. It hurt me think that is this meeting was simply platonic, and that she would be the most exciting thing about this little café after tonight. Then like thunder, those magick words were spoken.
“So before I left my boyfriend was all wiggy about me coming here.”
The look on my face must have given me away. I must have looked mortified, yet some how, her expressions, and her response were very…cute.
“I’m sorry, does me having a boyfriend bother you?”
I was an idiot. This was just coffee, with a nice girl, who was a least a foot shorter than me, with an amazing pair of breast. I mean I’m a short guy, so therefor, short girls sort of do it for me. It wasn’t just her breast either. She likes Slipknot, and has Cannibal Corpse shirts I’ve seen her wear on the regular. We’ve had a discussion or two about the change in singers in the Misfits, and how that changed the ebb and flow of every single one of their albums after. She was nice and seemingly a bit wild. She didn’t seem to have the domesticated nature of Diane, but this didn’t matter. She was taken. As I began to lament this new knowledge, she spoke.
“Well he was just kind of weirded out because he knows I’ve never been with a black guy before, so he doesn’t want me to get like jungle fever, or something.”
I was in complete and utter shock. Diane had some friends that said they were in an open relationship, and I always sort of shrugged off the idea. Maybe because of my own male insecurities. I could see however that being lost in my head wasn’t helping along this awkward social interaction.
“So like…” I said unsure of what else really to say.
“So like my boyfriend has girlfriends and I have girlfriends and boyfriends, and we sleep with other people.” She said finishing my sentence.
It was like something out of a mature rated webcomic I would pretend to feel bad for reading when Diane used to be really tired and fall asleep next to me in bed. I think I let a smile slip, and I wasn’t quite sure why it was there.
“What? You’re always saying we’re awesome. I know I’m awesome. Show me how awesome you are maggot.” She said smiling behind her cup, and finishing off her cup.
I had told myself at eighteen when I first heard Iowa, debatably Slipknot’s best album, that if I ever met a girl who called me maggot, I would marry her, or at least make her a mix tape, or maybe oral, or something. I’m not sure, as it was three years ago, and I was a dumb kid back then, but I did know that I was infatuated.
We got back to my apartment, and there was a moment of hesitation at the door when I realized that I was not expecting any sort of company tonight. She mistook this, and grabbed my face, giving me that look of mischief and worry I would come to know as meaning trouble.
“Hey, we don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. I know you were probably just expecting coffee, and you got a parade of titties assaulting your field of view. I don’t just take my bra off for anyone though. If that was bothering you too.” She finished her sentence with our first kiss. It was wet and forceful, but her bottom lip was like a soft cushion for the suddenness of her act. It just hit me though, that since Diane left, I hadn’t thought once about that. What do I want?
When Diane and I got together, about two months in I was finally able to answer the question that had plagued me since my interest had evolved past MTV and moved towards VH1. What is my favorite band? It hit me that no other band encompassed the full spectrum of my range of thought, emotion, and experiences than the band Modest Mouse. The thing about them though was that you can’t just like a specific album, and like the band. Every album was completely different. A different mood and journey. That was when Diane made the comment that started the fire in me that should have come from love, great sex, or some epic tragedy that impacted my life.
“Do you think you’ve experienced enough to really make that compilation album though.” Diane said behind thick rimmed glasses, her breast distracting me from the thought. That was until now, when I forced my key into the door, and turned the handle.
Sex with Anna was beyond a physical experience. I was pretty much what I considered to be monogamous up until this point. I mean, I actually have slept with a lot of people. More than anyone I knew in my circle of friends. I have had my fair share of one night stands, however I never cheated, I never strayed, and until now I never slept with anyone who was otherwise involved. The sex itself was like that you would see on a basic cable after hours sitcom. It was the best sex I’d ever had on a pull out sofa when it wasn’t pulled out, and afterwards, there was a great deal of foreplay, and then the conversation of a lifetime.
“So are you knew to the lifestyle, because I know that wasn’t your first time screwing, but was that your first time..?”
How did she know? Was it the way I kissed her, the way I kept looking in her eyes? I know I’ve had a few lovers tell me that I was gentle. Maybe I was, too much so. She got up casually, went over to my record player, and as if this was her home for years, found a punk compilation vinyl II had, and put it on, and wit screaming and whaling in the background, she went on.
“It was wasn’t it?”
I shrugged. I wasn’t going to lie. The music seemed to match my mood. Guttoral screams and lyrics about change and confusion.. Teenaged know it alls talking about what they knew about life. That’s I felt right now. She however greeted me with smiles.
“I’ll teach you. I have some friends that would love to meet you. It was a lot of fun I have to say.”
Friends? This was definitely new. She looked around.
“Can I shower?
I nodded, and she walked towards the back. As the water ran, a sense of foreboding washed over me. I didn’t know how deep I was falling.
I was a complete mess the next day. Modest Mouse didn’t seem to really touch my soul that next day. I was more in the mood for Bright Eyes. There was this feeling like I was simultaneously at both the end and the beginning of the relationship. Most of this I knew came from knowing, or at least thinking, that our relationship could only go so far as she was already involved with someone else. Knowing that the end was coming, and not deluding myself that this would be that last track that would linger on forever and always, was both vexing and comforting. I couldn’t really figure out my part in all of this.
When she left, we spoke briefly, and she was sweet and comforting like we’d been seeing each other for months, and she was simply going to work, and I would be greeting her when she came home later. The way she touched me, and spoke, I don’t recall having thought about Diane once. Diane was a nurturer, up until the end. Never once aggressive. I liked it, but I wasn’t sure how to take it, because in a way, I was still single, still alone, and still hadn’t made this mixtape.
The next morning I received a strange call from her that was very short and to the point.
“Hey hot stuff. Party at my place tonight. Don’t be weird, Just wear something black, and ready to play when you get here. Don’t worry about bringing anything. Call for the address around eight.”
After that she hung up. Not so much as a hi, or a hello. I was just about to listen to “Loveless” by My Bloody Valentine, as I was feeling a little moody, and thoughts of Diane were creeping back in to my skull. Though the message seemed strange, I decided to say fuck it. I went o my closet, began looking for my old Doc Martens. I was ready for a night I was never going to forget.