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Literary Pieces

Five foot eight

Will you date someone who doesn’t conform to the standards you set? What if – by breaking these standards – it means you find the one you’re looking for?

It’s raining again today.

Much to my dismay, I see the sky outside my window. Bleak. Gray. And even with the negative illusion of my dark room that should show that one tiny window as a square of light, it’s more like a faint projection on a blank wall of a Serbian art house film.

I check the clock, it’s barely past seven in the morning, and I will myself up from the sticky, oppressive heat of my bed, which despite the best efforts of my poor, ancient, and overworked air-conditioning unit, feels more like an electric griddle set on low than the dreamy softness that grinning salesboy promised when I bought these sheets. Another day off to a rip-roaring start, to be sure.

Stumbling across my room into the small lav in what could probably be the unsexiest pair of pajamas ever known to man, I flipped a switch and heard a soft moan and a rustle in the bed I just left.

Right. Anton spent the night.

I took a piss, relishing the sound of a steady stream make contact with the toilet water, hoping it would drown out the soft sound of the rain against my window. As I relieved myself, I started to trace back my steps last night.

***

“Anton.”

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“Terry.”

He smiles: “Like, ‘Wag mo akong ma-Terry Terry!

We laugh. Mental note: Please don’t do that, like ever again.

“Mike said you’d be here on time. Sorry, I was caught up in traffic.”

Not an excuse for being almost 40 minutes late, but whatever. “It’s alright, I work in the building, so I went down when I could and I figured I could read a bit while waiting.”

He plops down on the sofa directly across me. He’s totally not what our mutual friend Mike said he would be. For one he’s NOT 5’10’, more like pushing 5’8” tops. As a tall-ish guy (About 6’ tall), I do try to date people within my height range.

“What are you reading?”

“Some stuff for work.” He makes a face.

“Really, put those away, you’re off the clock, right?”

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I put my papers back in my bag. I will concede this point. “I’m sorry. You have my undivided attention.”

He takes a sip from the bottle of beer that somehow materialized in front of him at one point. “Good. I have been reading up on the Queen and her deliciously sordid relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and Kate Middleton.”

“Oh really now? And?”

“I haven’t made my mind on it as of the moment.” He continues. Looking dead straight into my eyes.

I confess, I averted my gaze.

“So how do you know Mike?”

“I knew Michelle from college, when they got married, I was dead set against it. Mike is just too short for Mich.”

It took all the strength I had in me not to laugh in his face.

“Anyway, Mike seems to have taken it upon himself to overhaul my sex life, so he offered to introduce me to you.”

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I take a sip from my drink, and arched my eyebrows. “And why would he do that? Is there something particular about your sex life that needs fixing?”

He laughs and pats his belly. “I seem to have an awful knack of devouring the souls of all I come across, at least in his estimation. I work in advertising, so I guess he’s right.”

“So tread carefully is the name of the game, is it?”

“You can say that. We can also call it bad publicity and fake news.”

“You sir, are a hot mess it seems.” I raise my drink to him with a slight smirk.

“And you sir, are not in a better place, believe me.” He raises his beer and gently clinks it against my glass.

***

I take off my pajamas and step into the shower. I turn the tap and turn around to let the water run in cold rivulets down my back. I wonder what fresh hell awaits me back at the office.

I hate Mondays. As Garfield would say, but unlike that goddamn cat, I actually have a reason to hate it. I start to lather up my hair and beard, and I work my way down. Making quick work of washing up the sticky scent of sweat, gunk, and sex. I took care to wash that nasty business back there. I never enjoyed being on the receiving end of penetrative sex: it always makes me uncomfortable the next day. Like legitimately makes me feel out of sorts: like my back is all out of alignment. If it’s a psychological thing, or an age thing, I don’t know exactly: but I keep forgetting to stretch before getting into it. And I have a theory that this hamster is trying to kill me by jackhammering me every time we meet.

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***

“So, Terry: Apart from your riveting work as an auditor for one of our country’s finest banking institutions, and a possible history of homicide involving your ex-husband’s mistress, what should I know about you?”

“Very funny, something tells me, that is your favorite movie.”

“If it is, will you hate me?”

“No. I wouldn’t. But you will be judged. Though I haven’t really seen it.”

“Then I am judging you. Maricel Soriano is a national treasure.”

I snort. This conversation is absurd.

“Oh, mock me all you want. It doesn’t make you superior. Sexier, perhaps, but not superior.”

I snort again. Loudly. People from the other table look at me.

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“Okay, significantly less sexy. Are you retarded?”

We both laugh.

“I must say you are turning out to be so much more vexing than Mike initially led me to believe.”

He smiles, “Well, I do try.”

***

“Room for one more?”

I turn my head and open my eyes to look at him, framed by the door.

“Don’t be ridiculous. This shower wouldn’t fit us both. Go read a magazine or something. I’m still pondering the secrets of the universe.”

He doesn’t listen (as always), and proceeds to slowly peel off his clothes: First that ratty t-shirt, and then those boxer briefs. I stare at him, taking in the lurid little striptease. He steps into the shower and I feel the coarse brush of his chest hair against my back. His arms, thick and strong envelop me in their embrace.

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“So troublesome. Must you invade my every waking moment?”

“I intend to invade every inch of you. Must you protest so vigorously every time I do?”

His hands begin to unravel each excuse, each justification. I feel the heat rising in my body for the first time today, as I felt his cock firmly press in between my thighs. I turn around, not without much difficulty, in the small space we now share, and I face him. His eyes glow like obsidian, his lips taste like cocaine.

And 5’8″ seems to be the perfect height after all.

***

“Go ahead. You can say it. Mike warned me about your height preference.”

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. I made a mental note to kill Mike later.

“It’s not a requirement.”

“That’s good to hear. It would’ve been a shame, you know.”

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“Why?”

“Because I only date people who are 6’ and taller. So you’re the perfect height. If we don’t hit it off, I’ll have to find some other giant to climb.”

“Given that the average height for our people are around 5’8″…”

“Ouch.”

“That implies that you don’t get to climb very often. How do I know if you can climb well enough?”

“Oh I can climb pretty well, thank you very much. You’ll just have to trust me on that.”

“Well, we’ll see.”

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