No Signs


One Night Boy is a fun-loving guy who spends a great deal of his time helping people. Take James, one of the many ex-jocks to enter his doors. Got a full ride to college on a football scholarship but like many players trying to tough it out, he played when he had a bad right ankle, ending up with subsequent injuries to his groin, neck, shin, and right ankle. One Night Boy is the one who handed him his life back, even if it was all different. It’s only fair that James hand him the keys to his lucky white car. The engine takes a few minutes to start and the bumper is beaten up, but a car is a car. To One Night Boy it is a reminder of the life he restored. To remember the lives he helps better. For to think of all the people who give up is to feel defeat. What happens to them when they leave…Whether or not they end up lying in bed making surly remarks and addicted to morphine is  out of his purview and that makes him upset. But he’s good at blocking out negative thoughts. Restoring other people’s lost faith is the best way he knows to restore his faith in his abilities. He has an innate sense of how to treat those cornered and in pain. Rehabilitating those who have lost limbs, and with that lost their wife. Those are the extreme patients, but still, even a high school athlete with a small injury needs the right treatment. For example, One Night Boy needs to know when to look for steroid use. He also helps people get into shape. If he helped a woman lose 100 pounds and she didn’t feel grateful, would he still do it? He doesn’t ask questions like that, for they lead down dangerous paths.

His job requires a level of immense patience. He also has a high level of skill at chess, and is known for good sportsmanship. Chess Weekly described him as Panther Handsome. Chess tournaments come into his life from time to time, and he hangs out with grandmasters that analyze their games, drink beer, and kibitz about the wins they lost, mastering the technique of the endgame, as they laugh at the weird hangups of other chess players. For a long time he’s tangled with a passion for perfecting his body. He wants a girl to take his clothes off and feel like it’s Christmas. He’s their gift, and they can’t help but be thrilled.

Like most people in the business of body building, he struggles with a feeling of inadequacy that he can’t quite place into language. His sense of humor is spastic, with a helping of effeminate to the side. Girls regularly come to him to spill their problems. His main frustration in life: One Night Boy has no idea what his real flaws are, and therefore how can he attempt to battle them?

He tries to overcome what he thinks are his flaws with his toned muscles, and polite nature, using his long curly hair and crooked smile as a way to deflect pain. Twilight fans go crazy for him, screaming “JACOB,” thus mistaking him for the actor with the hot bod who played a werewolf. One Night Boy is great in theory: the ideal candidate for husband, boyfriend, best friend, brother…

But after telling a girl he can’t do one night stands for he just doesn’t have the stomach for it- which, he feels, is totally true, despite the fact that he hasn’t been in a committed relationship for years- he doesn’t know how to act. He feels he knows how she thinks, and (subconsciously) that paralyzes him. His mind has its own interpretation of his behavior. It tells him that he is a total gentlemen and that his desires and motivations are one and the same. He doesn’t probe farther than that. He’s too busy healing other people. So the day after sex with a girl he’s known for a long time he doesn’t do anything but ignore her. He doesn’t have a simple reason to reject her. She doesn’t exactly fit in the date category. But her behavior makes him feel edgy and he is not okay with feeling uncomfortable. She calls him after the sex and her words bombard him. They seem unjustified somehow. Why do they need to talk? What did he do? Why do they need to have a conversation? Aren’t they beyond this somehow?

So he panics,  deflects. “Did I offend you?” he responds when the girl, still reeling from the impressions of that night, wants to know how he feels. She says she won’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to see her again and she only requires one thing, honesty. Struggling with how to put what she wants to say into words, there’s a lot she doesn’t say.

She doesn’t want anything to do with her reactions a year ago. Got angry when they arranged date after date and he still didn’t show. Felt sad when he texted her after she gave him a little tease and chase, then claimed his phone was lost. Excuse on excuse piled leading to an array of arguments she should have lived without. She’s made it her practice never to defriend people, but she once defriended him. Her exception.

Giving him a second chance is the way she is, it’s just how she does things. Plus he agrees that she had good reason to be angry. She wants to expect nothing, and she tries. She tells herself that if he doesn’t call her or write her ever again, it would be okay, too. She just wanted to know if he wants to see her again. He writes back “what are you requiring of me? Did I upset you? :(” Not sure if he is playing a game or actually confused by her words, she tells him to call her.

But known for her impatience, she doubts he will call her. All of their communication thus far has consisted of a message left on his voice-mail and some fragmented texts through twitter. So minutes after she tells him that they should talk via phone or IM because now she is actually confused, she changes her mind. She doesn’t believe he will call, and she doesn’t want to be disappointed by him again. She decides to try her best to simplify things for him. Explain herself in a short and non-threatening way. He’ll probably feel anything is too long, but she wants to try. It’s how she would want to be treated- given options. Options in and options out.

Sex had been a really special thing for her, not something she handed out easily, as it had been so long since she had been with a man that every sensation became a signal that got lost a bit in translation but stayed in her blood. Nicked to the bone. She was the one who hadn’t wanted him to stop; she had desperately not wanted him to stop. She gets lost in moments the way some people lose track of time. He was extremely good at the foreplay. But unlike her other persona, the sex-familiar persona, she was hyper-aware of how good it could be, how it might be- not just how it felt right now. But maybe she was too sensitive. Because inside he hurt her but she didn’t want to say anything, She felt bad. She’d picked the wrong music. That’s why it hurt…the wrong sex music. It was some soundtrack with a violin that had some ridiculous passages in them. She’d had to make a choice in the moment when he was in the bathroom for a minute, and the previous mix tape was too depressing. She could trace a lot of the details back to it being her fault if she wanted. Also, she’s been having problems sleeping due to two meds she takes and doesn’t take. So she lies there for an hour, hearing his mild snore, her ears burning. She used to have earplugs on hand. She isn’t used to sleeping next to people, finds it difficult, even if his body is warm and soothing.

She wanted to tell him all the things she’s seen, all the things she’s lost, and usually she would have been able to say it with or without words, but some of her kisses are sensations instead of feelings. That’s a new one. She used to pour feelings into others. They were her instrument. Everything was an instrument…

And now the words are marbles in her throat  because the truth is a hammer to sophisticated senses. She tries to claw a dream from her sleep, but it turns on her. The memory is splashed into a thousand puddles that seep back into her subconscious. If only she could access that vault like she used to. Then she would be able to do back flips with her words and her kisses and her moans. But now she is silent. She can’t drink him up too greedily, for it would make her sick to ingest that much at once. Sips are needed after a prolonged period of no intake.

She’s learned how to keep secrets so she doesn’t have to see herself from other people’s prying eyes. All that wasted potential. She doesn’t want to know it, doesn’t want to meet it, greet it. But she’s willing to try anything to get out of the mess she’s in.

I need to be careful with my words, so careful, she thinks. Especially after it looks like he misunderstood her the first time around when she thought she was being so clear. Trying to dumb it all down, she tells him that doesn’t know if she can handle something serious because she puts her art first, but that she is looking for someone to have fun with and she’s open to possibilities. And oh yeah, he turns her on and she wants to try the sex again lolz.  But what she really wants to say is more like…Do you want to be friends with benefits or do you want to walk away. Do you want to be in a relationship with me or pretend it never happened. We both have certain complications in our lives and if it turns out I can rely on you and get close to you and you can deal with my complications then I’ll tell you about them… And anything could happen. But don’t feel obligated just because we had sex. Although I don’t understand how you could just have sex and not want anything to do with me…Because it honestly felt like you liked me, not like you wanted something.

I mean, I could understand you not wanting to get involved after all, but from the perspective I’m at now- and I’ve gone through more perspectives than most people have gone through toilet paper- it’s not something I would like. Since you say you aren’t a One Night sort of guy, I want to believe you but I fear you are exactly that kind of guy.  I believe I would have accepted that fact if you’d told me it was so. I might have asked you about why, but…

I wouldn’t have called you if I didn’t want you. I want you but I don’t know if you are the one. I have been hurt so badly I no longer believe in a one. Is it that desire divides us? A year ago I was passionate about our compatibility but now I will try really hard not to say anything if you hurt me. I won’t let it hurt. I won’t. I made a pact with pain. Also, I know you tend to lead an idiosyncratic lifestyle and I have no idea what you want. I just wish I knew what you wanted so I could form some kind of impetus or cocoon around it. It would be nice to know, you know? But you called me elusive- a puzzle piece, you said. Do you want to know the rest of the puzzle? I want to know. But you won’t tell me so I’ll try to be okay with that. Just don’t lie. Don’t make plans and cancel. Don’t say you want to see me again if you don’t.

I gave myself to you and maybe I shouldn’t have, is what she doesn’t want to tell him. Maybe I should have saved it for the one, the one I’m not sure I believe in.

One Night Boy will never tell anyone if he is a one night boy. He wouldn’t be able to come to terms with the idea that he was a player. Playas leave a trail of damaged hearts in their wake, and he is on this earth to help not hurt. If his life is a succession of dates that don’t work out, because he likes one night stands, he is not aware of that. A chase appeals to him but the sense of throwing away something of value is so out of synch with his line of work that the contrast appeals to his baser desires. The ones he thinks he can control, subvert, ignore, channel in the right direction with the “right” nice girl.  And this girl, is she really that nice?

All the while he thinks he is being a gentleman. And he’s not wrong. After all, society is very open about how sex is just something that releases chemicals. It’s exercise and women can be very aggressive.

Which is why the girl doesn’t want to make any assumptions. Any at all. She doesn’t want to assume sex meant anything to One Night Boy, but if it didn’t mean anything to him, what a pity. Why couldn’t things be black and white, or all grey, not the fucking rainbow all the damn time? Maybe One Night Boy would answer that question, if only she could ask. If only he would call. If only it didn’t look like he was lying to himself.  Maybe if she was a published author. A famous concert pianist with six albums out. A composer that has commissions and grants lined up out the door. If only she didn’t have a tendency to go in circles. If her life was more tangible to the eye, yes he’d want her. If her situation was more explainable he’d want her. He must not want her enough.  

Fuck it.

“This isn’t the you I know,” Taylor, her girlfriend, tells her. “He’s ignoring your calls and you slept with him? And you tell him you don’t expect to see him again? Give yourself more credit and do not allow yourself to be a doormat. Don’t let some stupid jock use you.” But the girl from his night doesn’t feel like fighting. Was there ever a point to any of her feelings? She lost the point along the way and she doesn’t want to cause any trouble. Is it really her territory to judge somebody just because they don’t want to clarify anything that occurred between them? They don’t want to give her hope, but they don’t want to take the hope away. It’s cruel, but nature is cruel. She likes being alone anyway. Wanting to share the aloneness with him was temporary and the desire will go away if she holds her breath and closes her eyes: one, two, three..But she breaks the deal and she unclasps the hands over her eyes. She peeks.

Finally, she can see what he wants now. Wasn’t that all she wanted? To see what he wanted? And he doesn’t want to be One Night Boy. Does this mean they’ll hang out again, share stories, laugh over stupid misunderstandings, have sex again?

No no. He wants her to get angry at his blow-offs. Girls hate to be ignored; it’s been written about in magazines; it causes mass hysteria. When he is ambiguous for long enough… She’ll get frustrated. She won’t want to call or write if he doesn’t call or write. And then it’s no longer a one-night stand; it’s an anomaly. He never felt aware of what he was doing or what he wanted. In time she’ll understand that he meant to get in touch with her, no, he really really did… After all, nothing he did indicated otherwise.

This entry was posted in abandonment, all that I can't tell them..., bashing, body issues, conflict, desire, Privacy, raw, relationships, sex. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to No Signs

  1. d.shapiro says:

    OK, so i read this – btw; tell me if it’s alright to post my comments HERE! – so, here’s how i feel: i either feel you are writing basically the same piece or i am offering the same criticism!; thus: not sure about the title, ’cause it doesn’t really apply. i find you do a particular kind of piece (wouldn’t mind if you BROKE-OUT of it too!) which is the PORTRAIT, or the subject of SCRUPLES (i dunno if you know what these are ~ luk ’em up(!)). but so many of these portraits are similar b/c it’s YOU – even in THIS one you get a little AWAY from yourself, which isn’t lost on me, but it’s still YOU & and this TYPE-OF-BOY/ANTAGONIST .. it’s actually all very psychological, but i dunno if that’s what you want. so 1) gather your thots. i often feel like you are WRITING these paragraphs at the same time i’m READING them, which isn’t how writing really works: paragraphs are HONED(!) & each paragraph HAS to tell something new, not something old. -which brings me to 2) MANY of the paragraphs can be COMBINED – go look! they most certainly can be BLENDED. don’t be scared of this; ‘course i do this so often it’s like sleeping – you just gather your strong points, actions & characters & go BAM BAM BAM! -MOTIVATION, ACTION; CHARACTER. -no repeaters! & 3) consider an outline that’s akin to BULLET-POINTS: instead of just ADDING a point to a paragraph as you’re writing & thinking about it, go BACK & put that point where it BELONGS! outline yr paragraphs like 1), 2), 3); etc .. writing is a DIVVY. i always think people don’t wanna lose their RHYTHM, but in EDITING, you get that BACK – if you do it consistently enuff. editing gets to be a CHARMER, a HOT GIRL! -a savvy swish of manipulation, brevity & profundity. it’s what YOU have over the READER: you charm & manipulate them! gud points: you wrote KIBITZ! (2) ‘Since you say you aren’t a One Night sort of guy, I want to believe you but I fear you are exactly that kind of guy. I believe I would have accepted that fact if you’d told me it was so.’ -this is the entire crux of the piece – BUILD ON THAT. (3) MORE of the violin music/setting OR something-LIKE-it! (4) usually there are two parts to a piece; here there is only one – it’s basically this ‘portrait’ & the ennui .. consider: a FIRE! -personally, i think it needs a fire, or something-ELSE(!) ~one more thing, it’s occurred to me you could use a gud Role Model & here is one for this-type-o-thing: TRUMAN, &’ Music For Chameleons.’ -can find it used & you shuddn’t hafta pay more than $4 for it – SCAN it if you will, but get a sense of PROSE and STYLE ..

    • The other comment I got was completely different… (See below.. I pasted the other comment I got.) The one thing I disagree with is the comment “i often feel like you are WRITING these paragraphs at the same time i’m READING them, which isn’t how writing really works..” I feel like that’s a compliment! I would like it if you read the the second story… go down… Ive been doing portraits and maybe that’s all you’ve seen from me for a while but it’s not all I do.


      “By the far the best blog I’ve read. One Night Boy is full of mysterious dilemmas and you succeeded well in layering the character psychologically. He’s kinda like the dark shadow hovering around people who are in need of help.

      You addressed the girl nicely and questioned the readers on what’s going on, on One Night Boy’s mind: is he afraid of a commitment? Or does he not want to lose her? All other emotional things aside which he doesn’t show or is hiding it reflects his weakness. His goal is not to hurt ppl but support them. In a way the girl is his weakness. She represents a good challenge to him.

      Another thing about the girl, she’s drawn to the One Night Boy and the more he ignores her the more she’s turned on. she yearns for the guy. One Night Boy’s misery is his best mystery all blended well together.

      The darker you write about the characters, the better they develop.”

      You write really well!”

  2. PS. I do agree more setting might be a good thing here.. Hmm.

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