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March 18th, 2011

My Scars Look Different

April 13, 2010 | 8:44:05 PM | After That Hour

I once sorta knew a poet. She was giving a reading she invited everyone on the internet to attend, I saw the post. I told her I was excited to hear her read as I was finally living close enough, a drive to her city was no longer a problem. I told her I saw her invitation and had thought it applied to everyone, even me, as everyone can see the internet. This is when she asked me specifically not to come. She told me my presence specifically would be too much, that I specifically would make her too nervous and she didn’t want me specifically and only me specifically to come hear her read. I was actually flattered by this as much as I was hurt, at first, you see, I thought it meant something about me was special. I was curious and looked up the reading details as I liked it when she read out loud, I had seen a video once. This is when the internet taught me it was actually a reading she was giving with-to-for her ex-current-boyfriend-husband-Idontknowwhat that I had heard over and over again in regards to she and I actually being special, was “Not in the way.” It seems this night, whatever he is or was or is again, he was actually very much in my specific way.

This left a scar.


The Hour I Was Deaf / The Hour You & He Read / April 13, 2010 7:30-8:30 PM
33/304 Because You Were 33
Hear My Hour Here

I was staying in one hotel over and over across much time. There was a man, a “Doctor” here that basically lived in this hotel. He spent so much time in the lobby talking to everyone, to you and to me, that my group became uncomfortable and switched hotels. No one likes the creepy lonely lobby guy. No one likes him just that much.


At the next hotel, at the counter, there worked a woman, she was the key keeper and she was very attractive. The night before Valentines Day, I was lonely.  So I approached the counter and I started talking to her. It was 8PM. I was now the new creepy lonely lobby guy and I was no Doctor. I told her I like tell stories. I told her I like to take pictures. Some other guests came by this counter to check in and I talked to them too and I told them stories too. Some listened and some did not. Some let me make a photograph and none I asked did not. I gave the attractive key keeper a book of my stories to read on loan and return to me some other time. I was to be here many nights. She asked me if I was creepy and I said “Yes.” Then she open my book and started flipping through the pages. She pointed to a photograph and looked at me – it was a creepy one. I blushed, she laughed and kept flipping the pages, looking at me all the more sideways, while also smiling and trying not to. Then she told me she would look more later when I was not there and she was not working, she put my book in her bag.

She told me some stories too. One story she told me was that in her car, she had a pink nightie that she had just bought at Wal-Mart® that day but that it wasn’t very fancy. I asked if I could photograph her in it and she just laughed. So I told her for Valentines Day, the next day, I would buy her a new one, a nicer one, but by only slightly, as I would buy it at Target®. Again, she just laughed. We kept talking. It was now almost 2AM. I had been creepy lonely lobby guy for a straight 6 hours.


I stepped off to the side when her shift ended and she talked with the one who kept the keys for the next shift. I knew she had her own room this night in the hotel as it was so late and I didn’t want our talk to end so I was waiting. I saw her walk by me, I saw her not even look at me and I heard her not say a word. Then she was gone up the elevators. I was now in the lobby by myself.


I went to my hotel room, sullen, did the things I do before I sleep and then tried to in all my darkness. Lying there, thinking of the thing I always do, I heard a fast series of knocks on my door. I smiled to myself, jumped up, put my pants and shirt back on and answered my door. The hotel hall was empty. I threw the lock out to keep my door open, chose to walk left in my bare feet and just slowly went down the hall, hoping. Then, without surprise, I saw my key keeper lean out of the last door on the right. She was standing in the doorway. Barefoot, bare legged, wearing her pink Wal-Mart® nightie with a black bra showing and a confident smile. I walked up to her, reached out and grabbed the fabric of her nightie with my left hand, twisting it up into my fist and watching it rise up so I could see the stripes of her panties. I wanted to kiss her, but I did not, I just watched her watch me. We were still in the doorway, it was almost 3AM and that hallway was empty and with neither of us saying a word, it was awfully quiet too.



We were lying on her bed and I saw she had a scar. I asked her the how and the why and then she let me photograph it. Then she showed me another, so I photographed that one too, then another, and another, and another.



I told her I have many scars as well, but most of mine are online or in that book of mine I could see lying on the floor of her hotel room, spilled out of her bag. Then I asked if she had any more I could see. She showed me one she was born with and then one she burned in long ago that is not fading. I reached out, took a hold of her leg and kissed the one she was born with. She smiled, she laughed, then she said it was time for bed. Her in hers, me in mine, back down the hall.




The next day I returned from my tasks. It was now Valentines Day, I had fulfilled my promise. I had her Target®. I walked up to her at the counter and she didn’t even look up. I excitedly said “Hi, I have your Target®.” She said, “I really don’t want to be here today.” I stood there a moment. I tried to keep the conversation going. It didn’t work and she never looked up. So I went to my hotel room, sullen, did the things I do before I sleep and then tried to in all my darkness even though the sun was still up outside my window.


The next day I returned from my tasks and I walked up to her at the counter. She was looking right at me and she said, “I’ve been reading your book, are you going to tell a story about me?” I said, “Probably.” She smiled and said, “Where have you been hiding, you didn’t answer your door last night?” I told her I had been sleeping, but I lied, I had been awake, too much so and I had heard no knock. I asked her when we were going to photograph her in her Target® Valentine gift and she just blushed, “I cannot accept that.”



The next day I returned from my tasks and walked up to her at the counter. It was 9PM. I was creepy lonely lobby guy again and talked with her until 2AM. There was to be no knock on my hotel door this night either.



The next day I returned from my tasks and walked up to her at the counter. She started with the stories this time. She told me of the male friend that visited with her at her home the previous night, after our other long talk, that she drank too much and that this male friend and her would now have awkwardness. I told her that seems to be what happens when that sort of thing happens. I asked her if she had finished my book yet as I was leaving soon and she said it was at her house. She knew this was my last night here and asked if she could buy it from me, I said, “No.” The book was now hers by default, I liked this. It was 9PM.



I left and went to the place of pretend. I saw my woman of wings, naked, upside down on the pole. She saw me see her, for it had been some time and she said, “iliketotellstories.com.” I liked this. Very Much. She knows how I Oh So Wish I Could Fly like she Can and I Cannot.


I was sitting at the bar, alone, watching, sullen. A woman I did not know from pretending before saw me see and came over. Arms outstretched she fell into me with a hug and those arms felt as if they went around me twice. Tall black boots, tiny black bottoms, small pink bra and blond hair. She had a look like you’ve seen her before, but you haven’t, not quite like her. She took my hand and walked me towards the back. She looked at me, her eyes glossed over and all kinds of blue and green even in this red light. She said, pointing to her cheek bone,


“You see this here around this eye, this is where my boyfriend smashed my face, he went to jail for a year because of it.”

I said, “He deserved more.”

She said, “I am the president of the itty-bitty-titty-committee.”

I said, “I like presidents.”


I sat down and she sat down and the music started. She put one leg up in the air and asked me to help with the zipper, from almost the top of her thigh to the almost bottom of her foot, so I helped, as requested. She was almost now naked. She stood up, one boot left on, one on the floor and she then fell back into me, arms wrapped around me twice once again as she let gravity smash us together. She was now facing me, wrapped around me and quiet. I sat there a moment, the song was still going but she nor I was moving. Then I felt her body tremble, shake. I reached up and caressed that blond away from her face and out of my face. She was crying. I asked, “Are you okay?” She leaned her head back and looked at me, her eyes almost all blue now and bloodshot red where they should be white. Tears after tears rolling down her face and making my shirt wet, quite so. She told me she needed to make $___ tonight or she would be evicted and have to live in her car. She asked me if I liked her, if I thought she was pretty and if I wanted her. I told her, “Who wouldn’t?” She asked if I was from Texas as I had big Texas patch on my sleeve. I said, “Yes.”


“Do you want me to come home to Texas with you, because I will.”

I asked her if she even remembered my name, as I had given her my real one and forgotten her fake one.


She then told me if I gave her $___ now for the dance and then $___ later in my hotel, I could do anything I wanted with her, to her. She was now sitting on the floor, the old carpet swallowing her, naked, one boot on and one sprawled out next to her. Sitting indian-style, weeping as she spoke, tears falling onto her chest now instead of my shirt. “So you’re going to give me $___ now right and then I will meet you at your car at 2AM to go back to your hotel, okay.” I hadn’t said anything at all since I asked her for my name. “Then we’ll drive to Texas.” She was telling me a story that sounded familiar but felt all kinds of wrong and very different. I was just sitting there. I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t know what to do and each sentence I could have predicted but yet I did nothing and said nothing.


I reached for my wallet, opened it up and gave her the $___ she wanted now. Knowing I shouldn’t be, couldn’t be, shouldn’t be, didn’t want to, didn’t want to, didn’t want to, this cannot be happening. Then it did.


I watched her get dressed, she took my hand and walked me back to the front. She leaned over, kissed my cheek and said, “I am going to go make more money now.”


I still hadn’t said anything since asking her for my name but I think I heard myself laughing, I cannot remember.

I sat down back by the stage but far away and stared at the floor a moment. Then I stood up, walked to the door, I went to my borrowed car and drove back to my hotel.


I had given away more than I had to give. Again.


– – –



I walked into the hotel lobby. It was now 1:30AM. The key keeper, the counter girl, the woman with my book, the one who shared her scars too, who knew I was leaving in a few hours, by happenstance was walking towards the same door I was coming from. I smiled when I saw her just feet from me and was about to say hello when she said walking by me as quickly as she could with a brief, parade like wave,


“So long sucker.”


I didn’t say anything or laugh this time, at least, I don’t think I did. I just went to my hotel room and waited until it was time to go to the airport, back to Texas, back through IAH.

The wetness of the one girls tears I could still feel on my shirt.


True story.