"I want to give you time to digest this." I said, as the Brass Player made a motion to kiss me, peeling his pants off on my bed.

"I have digested it."

"No, you haven’t, but we can pretend if you really want to." I got naked. I’d never been completely bare with him before.


I’d expected him at 10. He arrived after midnight. I’d planned to make it a rain check if he was late. But as I received his text I figured it was now or never. If this was when he wanted to come over, this was when he’d have to have this conversation.

He stood outside my front door, smiling. He gave me a kiss. I thought of what I was about to do. His eyes and hands all over me as I walked in front of him up the stairs.
“You look good.” He said.

"You too," I said, using his full name, pulling away.

He sat on the chair in my kitchen, grabbed me and pulled me close, hands rubbing my breasts and waist.
"How about you take your clothes of and go lie on the bed," he told me.
"Bad time of the month?"
"Yes." I paused.
"You know I have good reasons to be skittish about my period blood."
“I’m sure you do.”
"I want to tell you something that I wish I’d told you earlier."

"You don’t have to tell me."
“I do and I want you to know.” He was worried now, I could tell.

"I have a blood-borne disease," I continued, ripping the band-aid off. "I have Hepatitis C. My saliva, my vaginal fluid, all that’s fine, but I need to be careful about my blood. If you have open sores and it gets in you, that would be bad." I went on to explain more about the disease, how it transmits, how I got it.

I walked toward my bed. I wasn’t sure that was a good place for us to go, but he sat down and I sat next to him. He stretched out on his back. I lay next to him and said:
"I told you this wouldn’t be a sexy conversation."
“It’s sexy, because it’s real.” He didn’t sound convinced.

This was when he started taking his clothes off.


He kissed me. It no longer felt sincere. He began to rub my pussy, I moved away. He put his finger in his mouth, tasting my juices. Daring himself. His cock was hard and poking out of his boxers. I blew him. I wasn’t sure if I was paying penance or trying to pacify him. When he came I swallowed and came back up to eye level.

"I’m crazy wet," I said, because it was true and so incongruous. Then, "I like listening to you come, it’s very impressive." This too was true and I needed to say something.
He looked in my eyes and made a horrible, sad, disillusioned face.
"That’s because it’s real," he said. "A lot of guys fake it."

I remarked one would have to be asleep at the wheel not to tell the difference.
"Guys fake it because they’re insecure," he said. "Men can be very sensitive."
“Do I seem like I don’t know that men are sensitive?” I said and added. “When people are insecure they get cruel.”
He’d hugged me, but I’d pulled away and now we were lying apart.

We talked fast, about traveling in Eastern Europe, about Hep. C. About the practice of running, about New York. I wasn’t sure if we were desperately trying to show each other who we were before we parted, or if we were just nervously babbling.

He got up to leave. “Well I’m just going to eat some fried chicken now,” he said nastily. He was a strict vegetarian. He knew that I knew this.

Then: “You have amazing skin,” like he’d been fooled by the packaging. I looked down at myself. People tell me this all the time. It had never occurred to me it might be false advertising.
"Why don’t you have any tattoos?" He sounded almost angry.
I ignored the undertone. “You don’t either,” I said.

┬áMore talk. Of tattoos, of online dating. Of Internet porn. Of some girl he’d dated and really admired because she was such a good person, but who’d always been really quiet with him.

"Listen, I know this was a big freaky, scary thing to spring on you, and I should have said something earlier," I said.
"Maybe you should have."
He pulled on his shoes. “Aren’t you going to ask me to stay?”
"Do you want me to throw myself around your ankles and beg you?"
I got up out of bed to let him out, still naked, arms folded across my chest. He kissed me once on each cheek and vanished.