I realized on the interstate that Tinder Dennis was probably hanging with the same out of town friend as I am tonight. Oh boy. I’m going to have to flirt with either, both, or neither of them. Yeah, I know the last option won’t be: I’m too generous with my affections to keep them to myself, even on a night such as this.

Last night was similarly, thrillingly awkward. Betty returned from a rainy week in South Carolina. We met (officially) as I helped her and Taylor carry groceries inside. She flipped her long blonde hair our of her face, tired from her trip. I went to put things away before realizing I didn’t know where they went. This was her domain. She then told me I was “so sweet” for helping, but she could take it from there.

Dakota motioned for me to go with him; I told her we’d see them at the cafe and left. Earlier he had practiced his songs on the porch, not so subtly serenading me. It was a welcome respite from arguing with my mother. His fingers strummed the string; I remembered how they felt sliding through and gripping my hair the previous night. He licked his lips, eyes closed in soulful concentration and I could almost feel him licking mine as I cried out. No, there was no doubt I had enjoyed his visit, vague as our futures may be.

The only interruption to this private porch session was a hobo-like neighbor who kept chatting him up. Dude was persistent.

On our drive to drive to the cafe I couldn’t tell if Dakota was nervous or psyched. This was far from his first show, but it was the first since he’d been back in town. He told me he was leaving Taylor’s guitar (tuned to E) in the car just in case it was a read only event.

We walked into Babylon and on to the room next door. It was crowded, but I found two together and walked toward them. It wasn’t long before I noticed the lack of Dakota’s presence at my back. I turned once I was seated to see him leaning against the door frame. He waved off my motions to come sit by me, my back to the wall. I shrugged and turned to take in words of a local poet.

Claiming most of my personal space to the front and left of me, a tattooed man of around thirty sat at least a foot and a half behind his table. The man I assumed was his friend sitting to his right had the decency to at least sit with his legs under the table. An acquaintance from my Jessica days at EKU didn’t recognize me when I waved at him. I sat, awkwardly blinking in attempt to refocus on the reader. Dakota came to sit by me a few acts in and the man in front of me leaned toward the wall granting space, but only for another man.

After a woman read her poetry based on 19th and 20th century asylums, the hostess announced a five minute intermission. He went to ask her, as she made her way to the doorway he had claimed earlier, if musicians were allowed tonight. She emphatically chirped in agreement.

Betty lead Taylor to sit where the tattooed man and his friend had blessedly vacated. As we walked to my car Dakota recounted their conversation. Both of us were relieved that it wasn’t a medium exclusive event. He grabbed the guitar and we headed back, talking about an embarrassing encounter with a mutual friend. I leaned into him as I laughed and his body mirrored mine. Suddenly all I wanted in the world was to here him sing and sing to me.

His demeanor changed as we crossed the threshold. He sat nervously (tapping his fingers, bouncing his ankle) as act after act was called…but not him. Betty sat in front of me, her and Taylor’s forms framed my view of the performers. Their body language spoke of what the latter had last October: he was not as into her as she was to him. Her legs were crossed toward him, the curve of her back bowed to him as well. She lifted her fingers into his on his knee, touching hers, her always initiating contact. His back was straight, almost tense, his barely relaxed form faced dead ahead. It was clear that she loved him like no other, like no one else existed to her. I wondered if she knew he’s seen others, times overlapping with theirs. If she did then she probably would not have wanted me in her home: me being one of those others. 

People do things without intending so when they’re hurting. I’m speaking, of course, of my actions post-breakup. We were both in pain and was too willing to seem truly conflicted about potentially breaking her heart. It dawned on me in that moment: as I watched them sit, I knew that I have lead to a near-friend’s imminent emotional pain. Let’s face it: hurtful things are said when we want to unload some of our pain onto those we perceive as harming us. One evening, they’ll fight. She worked too much or he spent too much money on green; these things are never left at that. Somehow the subject of his trysts will come out. Will I have an enemy? Two?

After hearing about high fives and trashcans it was, at last, Dakota’s turn to take the mic. The host erroneously announced him as “Douglas” Peacock. (I’ll have to tease him about that as we say our goodbyes.) He corrected the poor man and adjusted the mic down to the guitar’s hole. The verses of “Stop Sign Lover” had me blinking back tears. His last girlfriend must have really taken a toll on his big heart. I concentrated once more on his hands to keep clenching my own. Why would anyone hurt him like that?

Betty and Taylor moved slightly with the music; the rest of the audience swayed, impressed. I wanted to kiss him as he walked back to our praise, but it seemed too intimate for the semi-public venue. A pat on the back is it. Kill me.

We stood outside after and Betty spoke to an old English professor; the professor didn’t recognize her. She left and the guys lit their post-show cigarettes. I went to follow as they left. Dakota turned and told me, with a hug, that he’d let me know when they’d be back. I was disappointed, but didn’t let it show on my face; he wasn’t in town to entertain and give me orgasms. I leaned into the hug then smiled and walked away.

As I separated, Taylor called to me.

“Thanks for taking care of my brother!”

I replied either “you’re welcome,” or “any time,” over my shoulder.

With nothing planned for my night I steered toward Third Street Tavern. The place was half dead, a few other regulars were there. Tyler from Halloween through NYE stood next to a food truck spouting some lie to impress the girlfriend he lied to me about. I walked past Mandy as she drew a phallus in chalk on the ground. Nikki made me a Joly Virgin and I rejoined Mandy and Chad. When I came back from getting another drink, Ashley was there.

She had bared her soul to me, a trustworthy stranger, at her neighborhood watering hole. We sat at the bar and she bought a drink for her friend George. When Kristina appeared in all her petite adorableness, we went to the barrel booth against the wall behind us.

She went to hug her friend with the braid. They tell me he normally picks up and swings her tiny form outside. Unfortunately for Kristina’s head they were under the doorway inside when her feet left the ground. I heard the fallout and watched as he helped her back to the table. He was obviously very sorry and hadn’t meant for her to be hurt. The only one giving him a hard time was himself.

Kristina iced her forehead as he continued to apologize. We were all mid-conversation when a musician type butch walked up behind her. She squealed in excitement. I didn’t know that this was a “finally seeing my old bff” squeal, not a “this is the only woman for me, take me away” squeal. I stupidly assumed the latter and considered going to stand between the bar stools they had found and try to win back her attention.

I clued Ashley in when George went to smoke and her advice was to go for it. Ultimately, I stayed in my seat. If she wanted me she would come back: isn’t that how the saying goes? Kristina came back after a while and then fluttered off to socialize outside with the smokers. I finally caught her along when we walked to her car. We only hugged however I can tell we are growing closer. Closer to what, I do not know. That’s why she left to talk to other people; she knew I wouldn’t leave. Not sure if this last part means she trusts me  or if this makes me a mere doormat.

She explained on Messenger when we were both safely at home that she hadn’t seen her old BFF Tabitha in a long time and she was sorry if I felt ignored. Either she’s incredibly intuitive or I suspect Ashley may have have said something to her about running off. Regardless, she apologized to me: I must hold some value in her eyes. Typing all of this is going to be quite the chore. (It is: thanks ever so much, Past Anna, you inconsiderate word whore.)

When I wasn’t chatting with her I was texting Den from Tinder. I told Dakota the situation (re: above interstate realization); he agreed that it was only fair to clue Dennis in that I have boarded the girl train. Though I will not mention that I smuggled Dakota on board for a few rides. Yes: tonight should be interesting, indeed. It always is with him, never a dull moment.

I sorely missed his embrace as I slept in my own half-empty bed last night. His touch releases a side of me that I thought long dead. A certain innocent trusting of a lover that let me do what I wanted to and with them, but no more. The lack of pressure was refreshing, and this is how I know I’ll miss him more than I can afford when he leaves tomorrow. I recall the song “Save Tonight” by Eagle Eye Cherry. I sang it with the first girl I ever hit on: my childhood babysitter, Amy Stencil from Elm Street. 

I’m thinking of making a playlist for Dakota before he goes. (I then proceeded to make him a somewhat cheesy playlist, which I will attempt to transcribe.)

Less than forty minutes until I leave and the end of this shift cannot come early enough. The client’s niece fouled up the entire air supply of the house, I’m sure if I’d mentioned the smell she would have blamed my poor bedridden client. Ugh. It took over an hour for the stench to clear out.

My client was especially difficult to feed today: barely opening her mouth. She ate all of the food, but it was a true struggle.

Did I mention that I’m meeting Dakota for sex in less than two hours? It will feel amazing, I’m sure of it; I can’t wait to feel him squeeze and suck my nipples, to leave hickeys until I bring us both to release. Before this he’ll lick, suck, and drag his teeth over my clit: I’m getting chills just thinking about what’s to come. And who’s to come. He wants to do reverse cowgirl first which I am very down for despite how long it’s been since I’ve done it. I feel like he’s paying me back for making him wait and having to do most of the work this week. 

He’s hanging out with a friend now and has not gotten back to me about when he’ll be free. I don’t know when he wants me to head over to Taylor’s; as if I’m not frustrated enough right now.

I’ve been listening to The Killers’ radio on Spotify off and on all day. I wish the client’s husband would go back in the other room so I could transpose this playlist for Dakota onto the site. Then I can contemplate whether to send it to him or even tell him about it.

In anticipation of tonight I wrote song lyrics. Here it goes: (lines are separated by commas, stanzas by semi colons, chorus is labeled)

I’ve had enough of this waiting, Yeah I know it’s my fault, Mine was the hold up the hang up, That kept us from falling apart (in each other’s arms); So how do you want me, We could take it good and slow, You could take me on my hands and knees, Go fast until we bow…and break; Chorus: You know we both need this that loving touch, That one they could not give us, For now I think we’ve found, Something we thought was long lost; How can we start something, We both know how this ends, As much as we want it, As long as we’ve waited, Will tonight me want we dreamed.





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