I met her at the door wearing nothing: wearing, I guess I should say, nothing but my words.
The night before I had taken myself out again, finally, to the fancy art supply store in mid-town, the one covered in wacky paint smatterings, asymmetrical sculpture spelling out its name, a forefront of allegiance to the madcap struggling artist but that solidarity ended once the starving reached the store’s front doors — the prices were so high that it was difficult to imagine anyone I knew (all folks trying to stretch ends to meeting) actually being able to afford anything in there.
It was my favorite porn shop.
I’d visit with some guilty regularity, smoothing my hand across the ragged faces of hand-made papers hanging from the rafters and the silk onionskins, pale and aching for a pen’s wet tip to stroke its surface. Then I’d linger, loiter really, in front of all the pens: the multihued variety, the different tips, the fat permanents, the sharp faint fade-able colored pencils, and more and more.
The cute butch thing who worked behind the counter tried to make eyes at me when I came embarassedly sidling in (cuz what if one of my friends saw me in the bougie joint? they’d think I was hiding a trust fund for sure), but I walked fast past her every time, cheeks flushed, hands clasped together at my front on the days I was in poka-dotted tulle skirts, or shoved deep in my pockets when I’d donned the tweed trousers.
She finally figured out the best way (the only way) to get my attention, and started holding back recently-arrived writing merchandise behind her cashier station. She had a vibrating Hello Kitty pen the first day (ballpoint, though, hardly wrote at all, and she shot the half-grin from her face when I handed it back without a single salacious innuendo) and, the next time it was a real Javanese green peacock quill that got dipped into fine ink — but the third, the final, was when she set some of that onionskin out for me, and handed me a just-filled fine-bone fountain pen, and I set it to the page and began to write. The ink flowed like my own thoughts were being exactly gentled directly from brain through blood to words.
My cunt ached a little then, the snap of a throb, and I had to set the pen down and ask her where the bathroom was. She pointed, one eyebrow raised, didn’t follow me. After a few minutes of ministration, I let myself out the shop’s back door, to avoid any inquiries about my flushed face.
So the day I finally got a check from the freelance gig I’d finished several months prior, complete with a bonus for the work finished early (go figure), I knew just what I had to go back for — and what I was going to do with it upon acquisition.