My right eye squinted at an empty bottle of Sangria laughing at me from my bedside table. I used my fingers to ply my left eyelid apart. I last remembered sitting on the floor at the foot of my bed thinking I was thirty-three years old, still living with my parents, and my black Venus wasn’t in bed with me.. My eyelids started to close. I didn’t fight it. Let them close. Let me die. I hope it’s the weekend and I don’t have to go to work. I drifted in an out of a sleep like a seagull bobbing up and down on the ocean’s swells.
Somewhere in the depths of the swells I heard the painful squeal of tires burning rubber on asphalt, “Martin. Martin. Are you awake? Father and I are waiting breakfast for you.”
Work? It’s only Tuesday? Doesn’t the lower class have a holiday called Thank God It’s Tuesday, TGIT? My mind shifted gears and a vague vision of a naked black female celestial appeared in my semi lucid state beckoning me with her index finger to come to her. “Yes! I hollered. Yes! Wait, I’m coming.”
Mother called from outside the door, “Thank you, Martin.”
“I wasn’t talking to you,” I said. “I was talking to my betrothed.
“That is so sweet, Martin. I must meet this woman who has captured my heir apparent’s heart.”
There is no force on Earth great enough to make me break up with the woman who has the power to appear to me in a vision. I refuse to let go the woman who stole my heart and won’t give it back until I give myself to her completely. An inner voice spoke to me,
“Don’t make a fool of yourself, it’s your hangover talking.”
“Whoever you are leave me alone and let me enjoy my rapture,” I said.
Father said from the hallway, “Son, were you into the Sangria last night? You know how it affects you.”
An hour later I kissed Mother on the cheek and left for work. I dressed to impress J. I wore my soft calfskin leather boat shoes handcrafted by an old Italian peasant in a mountain village in northern Italy over my sock-less feet. I chose a light blue linen shirt hand sewn by another Italian peasant whose shop overlooks the Adriatic Sea. At the time, I was fitted for a dozen shirts. I only wear them once and give them to Victor, or Oscar. I wore matching slim fit white trousers exposing enough ankle to let J know I matured and was ready for a serious relationship.
I didn’t want to wrinkle my outfit so Oscar drove me to the Loomis Building. On the way
I casually said, “Are you having sex with Mother?”
I thought Oscar was going to careen off the cement center barrier, pile into the car in front of us, and rollover. Somehow, he got control of both the car and himself. He had two hands placed on the steering wheel, and said in a falsetto voice, “What would give you that idea?”
I wasn’t sure if Oscar was a violent man. I didn’t want to take any chances, so I said, “It’s not incest even if Mother is the name she uses. It’s only incest if you have sex with your mother, not Mother.”
I could see life being choked out of the steering wheel. Evidently, I accidentally broached a touchy subject. I took a different tact. I said, “I heard a rumor Nicole is pregnant.”
“You did, who told you she was pregnant?” said Oscar, a hint of alarm etched in his voice.
I felt much better about the direction of the conversation since this was a topic fully vetted at breakfast yesterday with Mother and Father. I said, “I can’t say, but her breasts look larger than usual. Do you think she’s getting ready to lactate?”
I caught a sudden look of relief on Oscar’s face when he skidded to a stop in front of the Loomis Building. I opened the door, stepped out and looked inside, “Oscar, thanks for the conversation. We have to do this more often. You can circle the block until I’m through with work. I shouldn’t be too long.”
A look of alarm ran across Oscar’s face. His right eye started twitching faster than a Vegas blackjack dealer dealing cards. “No, man. I mean, Martin. I’m scheduled to do your mother. I mean, give your mother her weekly massage. It’s not like you think, man. I mean, Martin.”
“I understand, Oscar,” I gave him a knowing wink only men understand.
I walked into the Loomis Building and nodded at Joe Maples, the security guard on duty. Joe is beginning to give me the type of respect I deserve. His eyes carefully took in my casual, yet filthy rich yacht party outfit. He said, “Welcome aboard, Martin.” Then he saluted me. I wasn’t sure if that was a smile or smirk on his face. I decided to Google images of smiles and smirks during group time. I like that about me, I’m always learning.
I returned the salute and headed for the elevators carefully avoiding Genevieve Loomis’s piercing stare from the top of her twenty story portrait. I stepped into the elevator my mind on winning the love of my luscious, caramel colored Venus when Carlos, the custodian pushed his cart into the elevator.
Carlos stared at me for a moment, then said, “Chu back to see the shrink in two oh two?”
I answered, “I am the shrink.” I stared at the numbers on the elevator above the door and avoided eye contact with Carlos. My only thoughts were in making J a Sanderstuff.
“Chu a shrink? How you get such a soft job?”
“I hate work, Carlos. It’s a bitch. I worked twenty minutes yesterday and it nearly killed me.
“You work for twenty minutes and ot nearly killed you? Man, you got a tough life,” said Carlos.
“Thanks, Carlos. It’s nice to have someone understand how I feel.”
Carlos blessed himself four times. He started mumbling something in Spanish and kept shaking his head.
We rode silently through fifteen floors before Carlos said, “Where’d you get that outfit? Walmart or Target. I hear they got some pretty good clothes at both places. Me? I rely on handouts from the church.”
Mother would have developed a migraine in seconds with the mention of those stores. I’m not even sure how you spell them correctly. I smiled.
“It must be nice to be filthy rich, señor.”
I answered, “It is very nice. But being rich keeps you busy trying to make sure no one is trying to take your money, if you know what I mean.” I was proud of myself for engaging in a conversation with someone beneath my social status as if he were an equal.
Carlos answered, “My cousin, Rico. He’s doing five to ten years in prison for trying to rob the rich to give to the poor.”
I was saved by the elevator stopping at the 21st floor. I saluted Carlos and said, “Give my regards to Rico.”
“Thanks, man,” said Carlos as the door closed.
The lights were on in my office. I knew my passion flower was waiting for me. I knew she was ready to beg forgiveness for walking out on me at the restaurant. I knew she was going to say, M, take me to Paris. Take me to Rome. Oh, M, take me into your arms.
I walked across the marble tiled hall and opened the door to my office. I wanted to ask J if she wanted to be referred to as my mistress or lover. I wasn’t sure which was more appropriate. I didn’t see her. My heart dropped twenty-one floors. Then it bounced back and I thought J must be hiding in my inner sanctum. I scurried around her desk, opened my door and said, “I love you.”
The only female in my room was Mother staring at me from her floor to ceiling portrait on the east wall. Then I thought, my black pearl was hiding in my private bathroom. I walked to the door, knocked on it because I am both discreet and sensitive. There was no answer. I fought a panic attack. My black Venus is lying on the floor, blood gushing from her wrists because she couldn’t go living with me. I took a deep breath and put my hand on the door nob. I closed my eyes and steadied myself to see the new star of my sexual fantasies lying unconscious on the floor. I knew in that moment, the first thing I would do would be to place my lips on her and allow my kiss to bring her back to life. When she opened her eyes she would know it was time to surrender herself, body and soul to me. I didn’t care about the order, it could be body and soul or soul and body. I’m a patient man.
I flung the door open, and hollered, “I’m here to bring you back to life with my kiss of life, J.”
From behind the voice, “You try that M, and you be picking your white ass off the floor. I stepped out to use the woman’s room, because the help don’t have a special toilet like the filthy rich.”
I turned and said, “Oh, J. You came back to me. You’re alive.”
J was wearing a black v-neck tank top that clung to her the way green clings to grass. It dropped to hip level over her Gucci jeans.”
I knew I died and went to heaven. If I wasn’t dead, I needed someone to call 911 for a love emergency. My brain slowed to a waltz. All I could think to say was, “Nice outfit.
J said, “I told Pettibone I quit unless he gave me a clothing allowance.”
“Drinks when work is over?” I said hopefully.
J stared at me, then said, “Who dressed you today? Your mama?”
“I did it all myself. Do you think I’ll impress the ladies in the group?” I said hoping to make J jealous. Then I added, “Wine, cheese and crackers, you and me, soft music in the background. How can you say no?”
“No. How’s that?”
“I’ll give you time to reconsider. We can keep our relationship secret until you’re ready to make it public.”
“Don’t you ever quit? I’d file a lawsuit against you, but like a fool I signed a non litigation clause in my contract.”
“Let’s cancel group and have a long lunch? We can about how group went? We can go wherever you want to go and I promise to behave. Please, please, please,” I begged.
J said, “What is it about me that makes you think I would ever go to lunch with you again? Be a good little trust fund baby and get ready for your group.”
J turned and walked out to greet the group. I made up my mind to impress J with how I handled group this morning.