Her name is Kristy or Kristal or Kelly, I’m not sure which, so I just call her sweetheart and babe and she never seems to mind. She’s too busy talking about her ex-boyfriend anyway, a guy who’s still her boss at work.
“In bed he wanted me to call him ‘master,’ as in: master, you want me to wear my nurse uniform tonight? I was so sick of it.”
She tells me she always set strict boundaries with him.
“He wanted me to lick whipped cream off of his body one time. But I was on a diet, so I made him use non-fat yogurt instead.”
“Boundaries,” she says. “They’re indispensable.”
“He also tried to stick it up my rear end one time, like it was an accident. But I wouldn’t have it, and didn’t budge until he admitted it hadn’t been an accident.”
“I didn’t think you’d notice, was his only defense.”
“It’s all about boundaries,” she says.
I like her assertive, driven style. She’s intense, talkative, and French-Canadian, perfect for an insecure guy like me.
But my brain tells me to stay away from her, “she’s a rebound,” it says, “obsessed with her ex, no good for dating.”
But I’m a guy, always ignoring warnings, especially if they come from the brain.
She says her ex-boyfriend cheated on her once with a coworker who gave him a blow job in the copy room.
But she immediately recognized his gasping.
“Unmistakable,” she says, “a dead giveaway.”
“Did you to quit that job?” I ask.
“No. There’s nothing out there for me. Just part-time nonsense; sneeze-and-you’re-fired crap; at-will contracts not worth the paper they’re written on.”
So she’s stuck in job-Hell like the rest of us, waiting for the next recession to wipe everything out.
“At least he can’t fire me,” she says. “I’d sue him for sexual harassment, the only form of job security we have left.”
Tort laws. God bless them.
She thought of seeing a shrink.
“But they just pill you up,” she says. “And I need answers, not ways to postpone the inevitable.”
I agree, and I nod to everything, and she looks at me with curiosity, perhaps even with interest, probably wondering: “who’s this guy who keeps nodding at everything I say?”
“I sense a void in you,” she says, “like an emptiness or something.”
“I didn’t eat breakfast.”
“No, no, I mean, it’s like you’ve lost something. Maybe back in Mexico. Don’t you miss Mexico?”
“Don’t you miss your family?”
“Did Hamlet miss his relatives?”
“What about friends?”
“I don’t have friends. I just attend support groups.”
Maybe she gets me. She too is friendless, Facebook-dependent, an Internet-American seeking meaning in a cybervoid of undersocialized strangers.
She goes to my boombox, puts a Celine Dion CD inside, very French-Canadian I suppose, and presses play, and The Horror begins. It’s Celine’s voice. It’s awful. It’s killing me.
But she loves it.
“You know Celine sang for Pope John Paul II when he visited Montreal?”
So the Holy Father had to endure this, too? That poor man. No wonder they want to canonize him.
She keeps on chatting, but now I’m only half listening. I’m mostly thinking of the Pope, a real-life saint, giving hope to the rest of us.
She only cries once.
“I miss him,” she says. “I really do.”
“He’s my master,” she says.
And I try hugging her, but she pushes me away.
“Boundaries,” she says. “Remember?”
And she says she’s okay, and we keep chatting.
I still can’t remember her name, Kristy or Kristal or Kelly, but that’s alright. I just call her sweetheart and babe, and it’s no biggie, no sweat at all, and she never once seems to mind.
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