- Click to the blog carnival
Tues. through Sat. of this week I’m participating in a blog carnival, “What About Love,” that’s headquartered over at The Other Mother’s blog. Each of the days has a post assignment, and I’m weaving those together into a 5-part story. This is the fourth installment:
Part IV: Something Blue
When Jamie woke, the leather jacket was still there, hanging on the post at the foot of her bed like a sentinel, or a guardian angel.
She stretched luxuriously in her bed as thoughts of the evening before flooded her mind. Then she shook her head on her pillow and contemplated the unreality of it – a lovely, impromptu date with a mysterious stranger. And, as unlikely as it seemed, Jamie had to admit it was the best first date she’d ever had.
It was early. She didn’t have to look at the clock. She could tell by the the cold blue quality of the light, dark even for February. The frost edging the outside of her window was a testament to the winter chill.
“Yet,” Jamie thought. “I’m nice and warm.” And there, with the cool light cutting a path across her quilt, and the jacket standing guard, she dozed off again.
She awoke hours later to warmer light. Reaching for the clock on her bedside table, she bolted out of bed when she realized she had slept much later than usual – so late that she might have missed the opportunity to grab a Sunday paper from the rack outside her apartment building. In her cotton pajama bottoms and the t-shirt she’d worn to bed, she pushed her feet into sneakers without untying them. And, as an afterthought, she grabbed the leather jacket and slipped into it before heading out the door.
Moments later she was back with a Sunday paper, the last in the rack. “Brrr,” she said, coming in from the hallway, and immediately turned up the thermostat. A true California girl to the bone, San Francisco was the coldest place she could imagine living. Even in the summer in San Francisco, her heater was rarely idle for long.
Jamie made a pot of coffee, using her favorite French press. It only held about two good-sized cups of coffee, just enough to get her going without wiring her for sound. She flipped the switch on her stereo. The Sunday jazz show on KQED was playing Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo”. Then, with her steaming cup, she sat on the floor in her tiny living room and began to methodically dismantle the paper, arranging various segments into piles. Finally, she found her quarry – the Sunday crossword puzzle – and reaching for a mechanical pencil on the coffee table, she settled in.
The first clue seemed simple enough – a six-letter word that meant “marked by strong desire, especially intimate,” and she filled it in quickly, writing “erotic” and looking at the clues that dropped down from there.
Thinking about the second clue, she found herself staring at the leather jacket on her couch. She had tossed it there after coming in with the paper. Suddenly, she wanted to hold it in her hands.
She gathered the collar of the jacket to her face and inhaled deeply. It had the musky smell of leather, and other smells too. There was a clean scent, like wind, and a hint of wood smoke. There was a faint floral scent, like shampoo, and another scent, warmer and lighter, like sun-warmed skin. As Jamie held the jacket to her face, her stomach flipped a little, and a shiver ran through her body, raising goosebumps on her arms. She wasn’t cold. The heater was cooking away, and the late morning sunlight was now surprisingly warm. Instead she shivered from something else – a sudden recognition of a desire she hadn’t realized.
She carried the jacket into her bedroom and pulled her t-shirt over her head. As she watched herself in the full-length mirror, she untied her pajama bottoms and let them fall to the floor. Then she shrugged on the leather jacket, feeling the weight of it envelope her. She breathed in the scent of the sleeve. Hanging open, the roughness of the zipper lightly scratched the skin of her belly. The cool quilted lining slipped against her back and her breasts.
Taking a deep breath, she ran her hands through her sleep-mussed hair and down over the jacket, feeling the imprint of the snaps and buckles through the leather, like fingertips pressing into her skin.
Again, the shiver.
Jamie felt a blurring of the line between her skin and skin of the jacket and she looked at herself in the mirror. Admittedly, her light blue panties and the black leather jacket made a pretty sexy look. It was something daring, a way she hadn’t pictured herself before now. One hand slid inside the jacket and brushed across her nipple. The intensity of the touch surprised her, as though it wasn’t her own, and she sucked in her breath with a low sound.
With both hands, she cupped her breasts through the leather, imaging how it would be feel to be held from behind. Something crinkled under her left hand, and she reached into the chest pocked and fished out an envelope. It was sealed, and there was a heart on the front surrounding the letter “J” and a tiny question mark.
Leaning back against the wall, Jamie turned the envelope over her in hands. She slid down to the floor, knees close to her chest, and tore it open.
The paper inside was typed.
“Jamie,” the letter began. “I guess by the time you read this, I’ll know for certain if that’s your name. If it’s not, I hope you’re laughing about it right now.
I don’t know how to tell you everything I want to. I can only hope there will be time for me do so, off in some distant future of ours.
I know our paths have crossed plenty lately. We’ve smiled and said hello, in the way of strangers. And each time I’ve seen you, I’ve wanted to make a connection, always chickening out at the last minute. But something happened the night that I sat behind you at the No On 8 fundraiser and I want to tell you about it.
As I watched how touched you were by the movie about Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin’s wedding, I felt a deep place in me crack open. You see, until that time, I had only supported the idea of same-sex marriage as a political right and as a concept. I never felt it would apply to me, although I wished my gay sisters and brothers all the happiness in the world.
I’ve known I was gay since I was a kid. There was no period of discovery. I just am who I’ve always been, and I grew up with the tacit knowledge that marriage, in any traditional sense, wasn’t an institution that would ever be open to me. As a result, I’ve spent my life on a different path.
But that night, as I watched your shoulders shake in the dark, I wanted so badly to put my arms around you, to draw you in and comfort you… to share some of the joy and emotion you were feeling. Somehow, I knew right then, for the first time ever, I was ready to be a partner, a spouse. I can hardly say it – a wife. I knew the time had come to be part of something bigger than myself and, as crazy as it sounds, I knew you were one I wanted to stand by.
Believe me. I’ll understand if this makes you run screaming into the night, never to return. No one thinks it’s nuttier than I do. But this longing in me is so fresh, so new, and so foreign, I felt I had to share it to be true to myself.
That night, I gave you my handkerchief when I wanted to hand you my heart. And I kicked myself as I watched you walk out alone, again.
But then a week later, I saw you at the coffee house, and passed you on the street, and this began to feel like destiny. I knew I just had to be patient.
So now, I’m writing you this letter, not knowing when you’ll read it, but somehow knowing that you will.
Call me when you’re ready,
The letter was dated September 9. That was nearly five months ago. Jamie counted on her fingers to be sure. She held the letter against her chest, where her heart threatened to break free from her body. She knew it was crazy, the stuff of fantasies and novels, and yet somewhere deep inside it rang true.
How many times had they passed in those five months? How many times had they made eye contact, the curiosity and interest clear to both of them, only to walk away?
There was only one thing Jamie knew for certain. She knew she couldn’t walk away again, and with that realization, she put down the letter and reached for the phone.