A young companion left here a little while ago. I walked her down to my street gate and we kissed goodbye. I watched her go up the hill with her backpack to the next cross-street and tried to decide whether the morning was awkward. No--- it hadn't been. I was glad of that. Whatever the night had been, there hadn't been that: no why-am-I-here awkwardness.
Well, she knows my first name. I'm not sure if she knows my last name. I know her nickname, and I know the name (cover name? work name? what's it called?) she uses on tickets at the place where she tends bar. I don't know her actual name, though the nickname makes her first name fairly obvious.
I know where she works, of course. That's where I met her. I know...what else? I know her age--- just old enough to be tending bar ---and that she lives up at the south edge of the bohemian part of the old downtown. She's not the usual run of young companions--- the black-clad girls in Comparative Lit or Critical Theory who've been my niche companions and niche prey all these years. She was admitted to the interior design program at the university here. Our first conversation at the bar was all about apartments. Not just the usual urban fascination with rents and locations, but about furnishing what she called "transitory spaces". She wants to design hotel rooms, she said. Hotel rooms and student housing. She was impressed that I'd stayed at the Pod Hotel in Manhattan; we both sighed over some day staying at capsule hotels in Japan. She wants, she said, to design spaces for people who'll be moving through and don't want to bring history with with or leave history behind when they go. That was fascinating.
What else? She has a brother in the Pacific Northwest who works in craft beers. She says she'd love to learn that, too, learn brewing and how breweries are run. I can't disagree. Though I did have to grin when she told me that. That's one of the prizes of being her age--- there are multiple futures and future lives still waiting, careers and worlds to explore and all the time in the world. I envy that.
Last night's debris was still on the counter in my kitchen. Two shot glasses and a mostly-empty bottle of Jameson's. We'd been outside with those, sitting and drinking and looking at the shadows and lights on the lakes. The conversation hadn't been bad--- mostly me encouraging her to talk. Hearing all about design and what rooms could be like in hotels and dorms and what the designs would mean. I miss conversations like that when I'm away from them--- a lovely girl telling me all about the things she's learned or wants to learn, telling me all about the new things in her world. I miss learning from someone else's excitement.
She's dark-haired, dark-eyed. Good legs in the inevitable short-shorts. Likes biking, doesn't like basketball. And went home with me...why? That's the Most Dangerous Question, but I did ask it. Asked it before seriously kissing, asked it before bed. She just shrugged in a half-apologetic way and told me that Well, you're nice. And I want to see what it's like--- someone like you, I mean. Not a bad answer, though I understood what someone like you means. Not someone with a doctorate in History, not someone who lives by the lakes. It certainly doesn't mean someone handsome in a dangerous way. It means someone much older. I'm a learning experience. That's not the worst answer in the world, I suppose. Being a learning experience, being a kind of wicked adventure--- how long have I been marketing myself as that? Isn't that the whole point of being a roué ?
Well, she was at least open and blithe about it, which I appreciated. I'm a chance to experiment with something, to see what something's like. I don't mind being a research project. It's not like I haven't seen the world as a set of explorations and experiments all my life. And I know how to do this. There's a set of unspoken things to check off, and I'm good at checklists.
As nights go, not bad. She didn't mind talking during things, didn't mind my suggestions or requests. She was good at phrasing things for her own requests, too--- I've heard that's what guys like you like to do, so... She didn't object to the music I had playing. Well, no disappointed looks or sullen conversations this morning. I even went out to bring two large lattes back. I trust that well-brought-up lovely girls have been taught to hide all disappointments if bed partners bring them large lattes. Courtesy gets us all through many small social moments.
Well, she has my phone number, and I'll see her where she works. I won't trespass beyond what the subject of an experiment should. I'll be polite and no more flirtatious than usual. That's my place. I hope she'll be back, but it's not my place to ask, or even to expect anything. I'd like to hear more about her visions of rooms and hotels and transient housing. I'd like to offer her more data points for her experiment. Watching her walk up the street wasn't a bad way to begin a Sunday. And I did have the latte and a goodbye kiss.