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America Essay Pt V - Passageways we can never re-enter
America Essay Pt V - Passageways we can never re-enter
By the time I left the county fair the heart of the afternoon was beginning to wane. My plan was to change course and head North toward Utah to visit some friends.
As soon as I left Albuquerque the scenery began to change. Flatlands gave way to magnificently sculptured rock formations that stood alone under skies painted with streaks of blue and white, while a deep pink seeped in from the edges as if the horizon was a sheet of paper dipped in red wine.
It appeared I had entered the land of the coyote and the roadrunner. It was part Salvador Dali and part spaghetti western.
The rocks were the color of dried blood and the earth was scorched a sallow yellow. Here and there a few heroic sheaths of green managed to break through the dry land and reach for the sky.
It was really a magical place. It looked more like the moon than America. It was completely empty of people except for one or two house trailers that sat alone, mile and miles from human contact.
As the hours passed and I crossed the border into Utah, the landscape returned to more familiar looking terrain. Soon the flatlands began to be disrupted by the first hints of the Rocky Mountains.
By nightfall the road became treacherous. Except for the beam of my headlights it was pitch black in all directions. The highway began to twist and turn, and four lanes were reduced to two, one going in each direction.
The driving was made more dangerous by the abundance of wildlife that didn’t seem to know its place. Every mile or two a deer or antelope would suddenly appear in my headlights as if they were spooks in a haunted house carnival ride. When I came upon them they looked into my headlights as if to say, ‘what are you doing here? This part of town belongs to my gang.’ Between sightings of the larger creatures, small furry animals scurried back and forth across the highway.
I was so far into the depths of nowhere that cell phone service had gone extinct hours ago. The radio selection had dwindled to a few high megawatt stations programmed to suit the needs of corporate chiefs. The road went on mile after mile without as much as a one-horse town for respite, and my gas gauge was sinking alarmingly close to E.
As the hours rolled by, my eyes turned red and my vision bleary. I suppose the smart thing to do would have be to pull over and sleep till sunrise. Perhaps it was cowardly, but I just didn’t feel safe sleeping in the middle of nowhere. A dark car parked along an isolated highway is just too tempting for a gang of teenagers out on a drunken late night joy ride. Given the high status accorded to carrying guns in both and country music, God knows what Americas youth might call a good time in the wilderness of Utah.
Some friends of my own youth were known to spend Friday evenings taking LSD and shooting out the windows of parked cars. It’s a small miracle that no one was ever killed.
The situation dissolved to a point where I was so exhausted I feared falling asleep behind the wheel. The gas gauge was now drooping well below E. Just when it looked like I would be traveling by foot, a quaint little village came into sight. Although I never thought my lips would never utter these words, thank halleluiah there was a Mini-Mart with overpriced gas that was open into the late hours of the night. I filled my tank and pulled into the parking lot of a dentist’s office to get some sleep.
With morning the world was a friendlier place. It was another day of clear blue skies and mild temperatures. The high elevation gave the air a different quality, making one feel a bit sedated.
On the radio the drums of war were beating. Pakistan was given an ultimatum. Afghanistan was doomed. It was learned that in a strategic coo, the day before 9/11 the Taliban had assassinated the leader of the rebel movement that would soon partner with the U.S. I was aware of this man because he was portrayed heroically on a 60 Minutes profile a few months earlier.
Around the world our allies stood behind us. French people said “We are all Americans.” In Russia, shrines to 9/11 were piled high with heartbreaking sentiments of condolence.
Around noon the sky began to darken and I began to search for a meal and a bathroom. By the time I found one of those modern truck stops that are now called ‘travel centers,’ the sky had burst open with a torrential rain that came down so hard it was impossible to drive. As I walked into the travel center a flash of lightning filled the sky, followed by a violent boom. The lights in the travel center flickered briefly then went dark. The country music Muzak that filled the air went silent. I used the men’s room and then learned that no food was being served because of the power outage.
With the electricity off, everyone seemed a little jittery. I was having some problems with my cell phone so I went to a pay phone to call Sprint. I found a row of pay phones with stools in front of them. When I sat down to make my call I noticed that sitting beside me was a large Middle Eastern man in a black trench coat with a large duffle bag at his feet. He wasn’t making any calls. He just appeared to be waiting for something.
It sounds ridiculous now, but a surge of adrenaline raced through my body at the sight of him. I couldn’t control my behavior. I looked deep into his eyes, searching for a sign that he might have some evil intention with that big duffle bag of his.
Looking back I’m sure he must have guessed what I was thinking. I can’t imagine what he must have felt when I looked at him with fear and suspicion written all over my face.
It certainly was a new world we lived in. If I could be taken by such paranoia, I shudder to think what might have been going on in the minds of less open-minded Americans. Already news reports told of a confused racist in Utah who burned down an Indian restaurant in retaliation for 9/11. In Chicago a young man felt such rage that he drove his Toyota head-on into the doorway of a Mosque. It seemed evident dark times lay ahead for the land of the free, home of the brave.
Realizing I was losing my composure I ran through the rain and jumped into the Blazer. I crawled into the back for an afternoon nap. The super-sized raindrops battered the Blazer with a chaotic rhythm that soon transformed in my mind to become a calming oceanic hum. Between crashes of lightning the fierce gusts of wind rocked the truck back and forth like a cradle. I quickly dozed off into a deep sleep.
After the nap, a I headed towards Salt Lake City I began to think about the friends I would be meeting there. I use the term ‘friends’ loosely, considering that two of the people, Christopher and Jeff, I only knew through internet chat rooms.
The only one I really knew is Jodi, and she was something of a mystery. When I first met Jodi she was taking a break from being a nurse at a children’s hospital. Later I found out that she was working as an internet cam girl under the name Miss Modesty. You never knew quite what to expect from her. One day she will casually mention that a publisher just released a book she wrote, even though I didn’t know she was a serious writer. At our next conversation she mentions she is doing medical research and having papers on her work published.
In her spare time she might be taking belly-dancing classes, or perhaps donating her time to draw blood from sick children, saving them from a distressing and expensive trip to a hospital. On another given day she might be teaching classes on etiquette, hosting a party for the local S&M scene, or giving lectures on cunninligus or felatio.
I met Jodi after she visited The Imperial orgy website and began sending me seductive photos of herself wearing cheerleading outfits or lying in a tub of green Jello. Even then, it was all kind of Mysterious. Although she was a woman with a city full of suitors all there for her choosing, she seemed to choose me to offer herself to, sight unseen.
Eventually she made a trip to New York City so we could meet. I thought it was quite brave of her. She had never been to New York City, now she came alone to meet a stranger involved with an organization called The Imperial Orgy.
When I knocked on her hotel room door the first time, she opened it and we stood staring for a second, quickly trying to size each other up.
“You look just like your photos,” she said happily.
She had a country girl’s good looks. Long reddish hair that streamed over a pretty face. Her body was full and voluptuous. I felt like it was Christmas in a schoolboy’s fantasy world.
We went to Indian row and ate chicken Kurma while sitar and tabla players caressed out ears with exotic music. The room seemed to glow with dim candlelight and the crowd filled the room with the soft murmur of hushed conversations.
I sat watching her eat. She chattered nervously, her composure that of a demure schoolgirl. I reached across the table and stroked her face with my fingertips.
“You’re really beautiful,” I whispered.
This comment silencing her chatter and bringing a lovely blush to her round cheeks.
It seems a bit strange, but she wanted to experience an adult party club. So with only having met a few hours earlier we headed for Le Trapeze. After paying the $115 cover charge we went into the front room that was tackily decorated with wagon wheel ceiling lamps and a small disco ball. It looked like something out of a bad episode of Love American Style.
We sat on the couch taking in the scene. I leaned close and kissed her for the first time. As I kissed her neck and shoulders she seemed to lose herself completely. She gasped and moaned so loudly I was both startled and aroused. He reaction seemed that of a Victorian lady on the edge of hysteria at a molester’s touch.
Not wanting things to go too far too fast, I leaned back and sat staring at her, taking in this odd and beautiful woman that seemed to fall into my life. My eyes studied her from head to toe like a fine work of art.
To enter the other parts of the club the rules dictated that we must first disrobe. Only towels were allowed to cover one’s nakedness. We went to the locker rooms and I told her that if she wanted she could change in the woman’s bathroom. She returned a few minutes later wrapped in a white towel. I had a similar towel tied around my waist.
La Trapeze is a bizarre place to say the least. One’s first experience there can be quite shocking. I’m not sure why nudity is such a taboo in America. It certainly does freak out the good children of our puritan forefathers. So to see a room full of people that are, not only nude, but also having sex in public, tends to set you on your heels at first glance.
Jodi and I chose a large public room with a low ceiling and a soft mat covering the floor like one might see at a high school wrestling match. (And there did appear to be a bit of wresting going on.) The room’s only light came from a few corny star-shaped lights in the ceiling that gave the room a bluish haze.
Jodi and I lay in a quiet corner by ourselves. We sat silently watching the unusual sight of copulating couples.
La Trapeze is a strange experience. One of the first things you feel is that there is something natural about it all. It’s as if you’ve lived your entire life in a madhouse and suddenly you’ve walked out into the land of the sane. As if you’ve been forced to keep up the pretense that a lie is truth, and suddenly the burden of the fallacy is lifted. There is nothing as liberating as truth.
There is something primitive, something churchlike about the experience. Afterwards I feel as if I have bathed in the primal source and the stresses of modern life have been temporarily washed away.
Mainly the couples stay with their partners. If there is any interaction with other couples it is usually the women who initiate it. Woman on woman play is the most common type of interaction outside of the couples. Very little sharing of women between men seems to occur.
Usually interactions begin timidly, a slight caress of a stranger’s hand or arms to see if they react in kind. Things progress slowly as people try to be respectful for of each other’s boundaries. Trust is very important in such an environment. If someone is too bold or aggressive, it can make everyone freeze up.
Jodi seemed mesmerized by it all.
“Are you OK?” I asked her with a voice usually reserved for libraries and funeral homes.
She nodded yes. We kissed and I peeled down her towel just far enough to expose her breasts. I sucked on her nipple with the peace of an infant lost in a mother’s all-encompassing embrace. The whole environment made one feel soft and weak. My mind filled with white light and white noise as she pulled my head against her bosom.
On the second day of her visit we did the traditional romantic tourist routine, the Empire State Building and a walk through Central Park. The kinds of things New Yorkers never do until guests arrive.
Although Jodi and Heather had never met, Heather offered to put Jodi up at her Brooklyn apartment to save the hotel expense. That evening the three of us went to a party at an art gallery hosted by a friend of Heather’s. The event was a poetry reading and art show. Most of the performers were ghetto poets who read with the peculiar rhythms of the slam poetry scene. I believe Heather was the only light-skinned poet to read at the event.
By midnight the party was beginning to drag on. Jodi and I were ready to exit, but we were having difficulty gathering up Heather. This was her scene and her crowd. Heather was known to frequent the New York nightlife with a harem of Harlem boys at her side.
When we got back to my apartment in Brooklyn I lit a soft candle and sat on the couch beside Jodi. Jodi and I began to prod Heather into dancing for us. It was a moment that seemed innocent on the surface, but was filled with tension.
Heather put on a CD of club mixes of Cure songs and began to dance in the middle of the living room while Jodi and I sat on the couch watching her. It’s amazing how lascivious dancing can seem in the right circumstance. As we watched, Jodi stroked my inner thigh outside my jeans.
Sometimes there are moments that are turning points, and you watch them as they happen as if outside yourself. Sexual exploration is a delicate thing. It can enflame insecurities, fears, and passions of all sorts. In order to tread territory few are willing to travel we needed to be three people with open hearts and uninhibited spirits. On previous occasions I had seen situations that appeared ripe with potential, dissolve into embarrassing disasters, so I was pensive as I watched events unfold.
Heather was dressed in knee-high boots and a jean skirt as her thin frame shimmied in the darkness. She seemed scared as Jodi and I began to stroke her legs. She became the object of our affections as we tried to calm and seduce her. We pulled her on top of us on the couch and smothered her in kisses and soft caresses. Once it was clear we were all open to sharing this experience I pulled the foldaway bed out from the big couch we were sitting on.
If approached with sensuality, sex with multiple partners can deliver heights of pleasure almost beyond imagination. The feeling of four hands lightly caressing your body brings waves of pleasure that are almost more than the mind can comprehend. It is as if the brain cracks open like an egg, hatching a new being that is all corpuscles and nerve endings throbbing with expectation. A kiss shared by three, opens your consciousness to a new way of seeing that most basic show of affection.
We explored each other’s bodies with a child’s wonder at life’s mysteries. The excitement heightened by the knowledge that we were breaking taboos that most of proper-society would condemn us for. Even while their own fantasies of such experiences haunt their secret thoughts.
Often you hear people comment on women who have lesbian experiences only in order to please men. My experience has been that women use men as an excuse to allow themselves to explore their lesbian desires. In this instance Heather and Jodi left me a mere voyeur as they focused on each other.
I’m not sure why guys are so obsessed with seeing two women together, but it is undoubtedly a sight so erotic that it puts men on the edge of madness. Perhaps it is because women usually approach each other with a level of tenderness that men usually overlook. There is also something about seeing your sexual partner express her libido in a way that doesn’t require you, that seems downright lascivious. It is an affront to all of men’s traditional beliefs about what a woman is, that is both frightening and erotic.
Heather seemed in ecstasy as she kissed and sucked Jodi’s abundant breasts. With a sure understanding of each other’s bodies the women brought each other to orgasm.
Afterwards I squeezed in between them and lay on my back with Jodi on my right and Heather on my left. As each woman lay cradled in my arms, although I hadn’t came, I felt an unfamiliar sense of satisfaction. A sense of fulfillment more spiritual than physical.
This serenity was soon disturbed by a phone call. It was Christopher, interrupting us with perfect timing. Christopher was madly in love with Jodi, and was having trouble dealing with her trip to New York City. He would call every hour or two and panic if he couldn’t reach her. She went to the kitchen to talk in private. As the conversation dragged on we could hear her crying.
When she came back to bed she explained that Christopher had gotten it into his head that The Imperial Orgy was a cult that was going to ‘sacrifice her with big knifes.’ As Jodi was still upset, it was decided I would take the girls back to Heather’s apartment to get some sleep.
As we drove I realized that the intense sexual excitement without release had given me an award-winning case of blue balls. By the time I got back home, each step I took as I walked to my door sent spikes of pain down my legs. Nature has a cruel way of demanding the rules of procreation are respected. I was experiencing the punishment for not respecting those rules.
It is interesting how such an experience can change you. Once a fantasy is fulfilled it no longer has a hold on you. In the weird house of mirrors that makes up our egos, the experience gave me an extra boost of confidence. It even redefined my self-image somehow.
Sometimes we walk through doors we can never re-enter. Each passageway brings both loss and gain. My life has been a series of such passageways. Each one of which alienates me more from the society I live in. Each one makes me feel more of an outcast, and a threat to the traditions and mores of mainstream America.
With these memories making my mouth wet with expectation, and softening my heart with nostalgia, I ascended the city of the Salt Lake.