photo by oliver thompson
It didn’t start out this way. I originally created a profile on ChristianMingle.com because I thought I wanted a nice girl.
I was engaged to be married a little over a year ago. Her name was Margot and she was studying to be an undertaker. She had a two room apartment in Brooklyn, and one of those rooms was a stand up shower with a toilet at one end. She owned nothing. We would sit in her apartment with the windows open in the summer time, our skin sticking to the faux leather of her ripped up old sofa. We found it in an alley and dragged it up four flights of stairs. She didn’t even have books.
It was so hot, we almost always took our clothes off. She knew everything about maneuvering herself in damp, small places.
When she left me a few weeks before our wedding, I went on a sort of a rampage. I went out to bars, did a bunch of coke and scoured my surroundings for somebody to victimize. I wanted to humiliate someone, a girl.
Unfortunately, everyone I met was doing a good job of humiliating themselves, so I went to church.
The first one I chose was full of old people wearing colorful scarves on their heads and shoes that clicked on the linoleum. I quickly discovered that most churches were this way; populated entirely with young families buttoned too tightly into Sunday clothes and old women wearing cataract shades. I thought that maybe God was dead, but then I discovered the revival.
I was overdressed, stepping into the Wednesday night church service in a little basement space near the ocean. I was visiting Atlantic City for the weekend with a friend. “Hold on,” I said. “I want to go there. Give me your jacket.” I was wearing a tie.
My first virgin was easy. She took two nights and an upgrade to a hotel room with a hot tub and a view of the boardwalk. I bought a study bible and highlighted passages with her in the morning. I got good at picking them out, girls with thick thighs and the first hint of wrinkles around their eyes. Girls who sang and prayed with their hands raised to the sky.
I didn’t lie to them. I didn’t give them a fake name or phone number. If they wanted to know where I lived, I showed them. All of them, and I mean every single one, showed up wanting answers. This was the part I liked. The fumbling, rigid sex was nothing compared to the passion of our second meeting.
“Hi,” they would all start tenatively, pleading with their eyes. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you…”
“I know,” I said. I knew everything. You might think I was destroying something by using them this way, that I was crushing their innocence. The truth is, what I destroyed was an illusion. None of them were innocent once I undid their top buttons.
“I’m so sorry,” I told them. “I only pretended to believe in God so that you would sleep with me.”
“What about love?” an almost-pretty blonde asked. She had a gap between her teeth that I’d dug around in with the tip of my tongue.
“I believe in love, most of all,” I said. “Do you know where my love is?”
She didn’t respond.
“She’s fucking some douche with a collection of animal skulls.”
It was true. She was painting her eyes black in a mirror, somewhere. She was awkwardly entering a room and the air was leaving while everybody stared for a minute at her protruding collarbone and the place where her head was shaved on one side. She was buckled into a pair of shoes with a bow. She was removing the fluid from under somebody’s skin with a metal instrument. She was jacking up the end of an embalming table so all the blood could drain through a hole. I believed in love, most of all.
Once I started taking virgins, though, I felt better. I felt like the sun came up sometimes, when they watched me while I undressed. When they finished the dregs at the bottom of their wine glasses. When they cried on my answering machine, when they asked me why. I knew why. I knew everything, all of a sudden, and everything was nothing.
For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Carrie challenged me with "Once you pop, you can't stop" and I challenged Kurt with "She said, 'Opening my marriage saved my life.'"