Friday, December 16, 2005

Gina Part Three

"I love you," I tell Gina, although we've only known each other a few hours.

She smiles. Her eyes glisten.

"I mean...I don't really LOVE you. But I love you." I sound like a confused fourteen year old.

"Yes, I know what you mean," she says haughtily. "You don't have to explain."

"We should meet some time. Somewhere neutral, where I don't have to pay you to talk to me."

Gina's eyes widen at my proposal. My heart races, partly because I want her to say 'yes' and partly because I'm shocked at my own audacity. After all, I am married. Nothing good can possibly come out of us meeting.

"Hmm," she moans. "I can't believe I'm even considering this."

I want to tell her to forget it. That I know this is just a fantasy world that's not meant to collide with reality. I want to pull away from her steely eyes and sensuous crimson lips, those full swollen lips I crave to press against mine as her soft slippery tongue thrusts in and out of my mouth, probing and penetrating deeper and harder until her wetness becomes mine and we are one.

I snap back into focus. Gina stares deeply into me, manipulating my mind. "It'll be fun," I suggest. "We can just sit at a bar and have a couple of drinks."

"I definitely don't want to go to a bar," she says. "I drink in here every day. It would have to be someplace else. And I don't mean my place, either."

"Well, we can't go to my place." My mind races in search of the perfect meeting spot. A place where we can relax incognito. Where we can be ourselves.
"I know a great place," I announce. "It's an alternative video store that serves drinks from around the world and has live acoustic music. It's small, dark and relaxing."

"Oh my God," she says. "I know the place. Stardust Video!"

Stardust Video looks like a typical Amsterdam hash bar. Cozy and dark with low wood ceilings. An illuminated cake display at the front counter. A frig behind the counter featuring exotic drinks from around the world. An eclectic crowd of hipsters in dreads, poet wannabes and dreamers. A place you'd expect to be able to casually light up a joint and puff away while analyzing Keroauc and Bukowski.

"Wow," she says. "I can't believe how much we have in common. And this should convince you that I like you. I've only met one other person from here, and that was when I was 19."

"How old are you now?"

"27. But I took a few years off from this. I came back two years ago." Gina strokes my hand, never taking her eyes off mine, never releasing me. I feel weightless, like I'm freefalling into an abyss.

"But I won't sleep with you," I state authoratively. I still have enough sense to announce this.

Gina's tilts her head back and laughs. "Don't worry." Her sensuous red lips purse. "But we can always kiss. I'd love to kiss those lips of yours."

My heart thumps in panic mode. Just stop this, I say to myself. It's going too far. There is no way you are going to kiss this girl. This stripper who only wants to corrupt my mind...and my morality.

"After all, kissing isn't really cheating."

Kissing isn't really cheating. The hallowed cry of the adulterer. The words echo as I wrestle with the logic. Kissing is something I first tried when I was seven. But seven year olds are innocent, so therefore kissing must be innocent.

"You're right," I say.

My response rings loudly through my head; loud enough for Tom and his playmates to stop flirting and look over; for the hostess who was walking by at just that moment to pause by our table; for the flames in Gina's eyes to dance with delight.

She leans over and kisses me firmly on the lips. I taste her sticky strawberry lip gloss. She pulls back and grins. "There'll be a lot more of that when we meet. And more passionate. I can't really kiss in here. It's against the rules." Gina leans in to my ear and whispers, "I want to taste your mouth."

I'm quiver like a frightened child. "Can you do that again?" I ask meekly. Gina looks around to make sure management isn't watching and leans in for another kiss. A soft, moist liplock as she gently bites my lower lip. I feel a throbbing in my pants. My cell phone. I pull back and pull it out.

"You have a call," Gina says, grinning.
I hand the phone to her without looking at the caller. There's no need. "It's for you," I tell her.
For once Gina is the one who looks lost.
"Go on," I say, pressing the 'receive' button, "answer it."

"Hello? ......This is Gina, who's this?......Oh, hi. Sure, he's right here."
Gina passes the phone back.
It's Sera.

But Sera is the coolest wife in the world. She doesn't mind that I go to strip clubs. It's natural for men to want to look at other women. And for women to look at other men. You're only lying and cheating yourself if you deny this fact of life. We can look all we want and openly talk about people we find "hot." Honesty is what keeps a relationship together. I tell Sera everything...almost everything. I tell her a little bit about my predicament. How Tom coaxed me into coming and now he's too drunk to drive. I tell her about Gina. That Gina's keeping me company while Tom flirts with all the women. Isn't it nice of her to do that? We chat for a few minutes before she lets me get back.

"Let me give you my phone number," I tell Gina as the evening shift girls begin arriving. It's night time now and I've been sitting with her for seven hours. Our only breaks have been when she has had to dance on stage--for two songs every 45 minutes. I get upset when someone comes over and stuffs a dollar into her garter. But when she's done she forces a fake smile for the others and comes directly back to me. It's been this way all day.

But now it's time to go. Gina's shift is ending.
"Do you have a business card?" she asks.
I fumble through my wallet although I know I don't. I stopped carrying business cards because I hated to think of myself as the type of person who would need a business card. I hate thinking of myself as being in any type of business. I don't like to be categorized or labeled and reduced to a faceless name and title on a pompous little card.

"Can I just give you my number on a napkin or something?"

"Sweetie, that would look too obvious. You'd need to sneak a card into my hand or garter. You'll have to come back again and have a card ready for me."
I'm desperate to give her something...anything with my name and number. But I have nothing.
Gina leans over and plants a kiss on my cheek. Her eyes sparkle as her gaze meets mine. "Bring a card next time. I promise I'll call."
She slides out and walks back towards the dressing room. I watch her shadowy figure as it slowly fades from view...until it disappears into the darkness.

Outside in the parking lot it is night. Tom has sobered up some, but is probably still too drunk to drive. But all sense of reason was lost many hours and promises ago. The drive home is a blurry sea of red taillights.
"Did you have a good time?," Tom asks with a conspiratorial grin.

I nod.

"I met this really hot girl with schoolteacher glasses," he says. "Man, I don't even remember her name. She's Hot For Teacher!"
He turns to me and says, "You know we have to go back now. I've gotta see this girl again. You're gonna come back with me, right?"

I don't want to come back. I'm no longer a simple bystander. I've become a key player in this emotional chess game.

"Sure," I say, trying not to sound too interested. "I'll come back with you. Just remind me to bring a business card next time."

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