Hardly Love At All
It’s quite strange how we met. The patter of electronic signals passing through the lines. The sound of the computer fans buzzing by my ear. The moaning of the woman I was currently having sex with. Across from us was her husband who was having sex with a much younger girl. She was closer to my age than the couple was.
We stood outside the doorway to the apartment building fully dressed. “Got a ride?” I asked her. She seemed too innocent to be meeting strangers on the internet and having sex with them. She just nodded her head no. “Neither do I,” I said and she smiled. She was quiet when I first walked in the apartment. She sat on the couch next to Greta, the married woman. Greta played with her hair as I approached them. I knew their would be another person there but I didn’t expect anyone as young or as fragile as she looked.
“Catching a bus?” I asked her. She nodded yes.
“Do you live far?” I continued to attack her with questions. She took some time to answer and she kinda wobbled her head along with her hand.
“Does that mean maybe?” The whole night I never heard her voice beside the moans that escaped her lips.
“Let’s walk,” I suggested, “I’ll walk with you.”
I didn’t really have a home. I have a friend that lets me stay at his place once a week but usually I relied on these little hook ups to keep me warm and safe. I know it’s kind of odd to think of this as safe, but it’s the only life I trust. I mean, I have sex with a stranger, then sleep in a warm bed and most of the time they offer a quick breakfast before I’m forced out. It’s better then living on the streets.
She nodded and walked down the steps and she stopped to see if I would follow. She had short black hair that hung a little below her chin. Her skin was pale and her eyes were dark almost black. “I’m not going anywhere ’till you say something to me,” I said.
She smiled and at that minute I knew I was in love. Her beauty was multiplied by her smile.
“Come,” she said.
I did. We walked through the cold grey streets watching the steam pass through the vents. After the first block I held her hand. She blushed as she accepted it. The night before as we lay on our backs, our eyes met. She seemed ashamed to make eye contact with me at first but eventually she held her gaze on me the whole time. We didn’t make love with each other but I imagined I was making love to her, not Greta. I somehow hoped she did the same.
She actually lived a lot further than I thought she did. We walked for at least an hour before I asked for a break. I reached down to my calves and rubbed them. She laughed.
“How much further is it?” I asked.
She finally said a whole sentence to me. “It’s a couple more blocks,” she said smiling. Not far from us was a playground. “Come on. I’ll push you,” I told her hinting to the swings. I tried to run but my legs hurt. I still tried and eventually I made it to the swing. She slowly walked behind me and she quietly took a seat next to me. She stared at the ground and her smile faded.
I lifted her chin with my hand and said, “I know this may seem weird, but I …”. She kissed me.
We talked for hours as I pushed her on the swing. We never brought up what happened at Greta’s apartment or that night. We never brought up previous engagements or any other encounters like that, but I did ask her if she had a boyfriend.
“No, why?” she smiled.
“Well, if the position is open, I would love to apply,” I said.
“Well … do you have a job?” she asked.
“Um, no … but I’ll get one,” I promised.
“Where do you live?” she asked, the questions were already starting to get hard.
“Um … I really don’t have a place,” I honestly answered.
“Hm …” she said, “I guess you could live with me.” I smiled and somehow that caused her to smile too.
“My name is L, it’s short for Eli,” I finally introduced myself.
“My name is Autumn,” she said as she brought her face close to mine.
“Nice to meet you …” but before I finished we were hugging while our lips and tongues danced with each other’s.
I pulled away from her and at first she seemed upset. “Wait. I didn’t finish earlier. I don’t know what it is about you. But I …” It was a tough sentence to finish. I’ve only told one other girl I loved her and she ended up telling my best friend the same thing behind my back.
Autumn stood against me and said, “I know. I … I think I love you too.”