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He sits across from me, his cock on a chair. Cutting and eating. I watch him, knowing full well that he is wearing no pants.

This is not unusual. I am not awed by his penis lying on the kitchen chair.

He doesn’t even bother to slice the bananas really thin. He just sort of slops them on the chunk of peanut butter and throws the other slice of bread on top. The son takes the sandwich and twists the bread downward because he won’t eat it unless the bread is smashed down into the peanut butter. He is very used to his father walking around without any clothes on. It doesn’t seem to phase him. He’s only seven so he probably doesn’t realize that its not the norm for his father to be making sandwiches for him while he’s wearing no pants, especially when I am also in the room.  (And the I is me, a friend staying at her friend’s apartment while the friend is out of tow

The man eats his own sandwich and most of his son’s, as he absently clips articles from auto magazines. He is making a scrapbook for his shop. He has an auto shop, which he originally started from the garage out of the house he grew up in. Now he is solely a Mercedes specialist, but back when he started I think he pretty much worked on anything with wheels. Like, even bicycles.

He is only wearing a blue work shirt with the name Roger written across it in red cursive.

I haven’t decided yet which is more disturbing: going around completely nude or simply wearing a shirt that barely comes to your midriff and a pair of socks? Actually, it is more subtle to be completely nude rather than stop abruptly right before the genitals, causing one an awkward moment before one can regain one’s composure and look away.  

Still, I haven’t decided which degree of nudity of your friend’s “partner”  is worse: partial or complete.

I know he is testing me. He’s waiting to see how long he can walk around naked before I actually say something about it. The more time I spend here, the more clothing he sheds. A while back he walked around in his underwear. Then he walked around in a towel. I can’t quite remember exactly when he made this bold transition to genital exposure.  

He’s waiting for me to acknowledge his nakedness, sitting here at the kitchen table, reading and cutting, going back and forth to the refrigerator, eating, sighing loudly. He gets up, goes to the refrigerator, peers in, sees nothing, looks at me to see what I’m doing. He sits back down and cuts more cars out of Auto World. Five minutes later he gets up and does the same routine all over again. Since his girlfriend has been out of town he hasn’t bothered to buy any new groceries. (How could he think something new has gotten into the refrigerator since he last looked?)   

I stare at the dishes and the other things in the kitchen. I don’t want to get up and leave because then Roger will think he has gotten my attention. And if I leave, then I have to say something to him, at least a “Goodbye Roger.”

If I have to say anything at all to him I know I will look down by accident. I want to make him think I could care less what he’s wearing or isn’t wearing.  I want him to think that I did not even notice his lack of pants.

 I have to remember to clean up the kitchen and restore it to its spotless condition. Roger said he talked to Claire and that she’d be home from Texas in 2 days. I wonder if he told her that he has been staying here with me. They are going through one of their “separations” so I don’t know why he came over the day after Claire left. 

It seems he has apparently moved back in. I bet when he called her he “forgets” to mention that he’s living here (with me).

Before she left, she told me that Roger and the kids were going to be staying at his apartment. She said it would be nice for me to have the place all to myself for three weeks, but that I had to keep it neat. Then she gave me a little slip of paper, which I have since lost. The paper had Roger’s phone number to his new apartment on it. 

I don’t think I need his telephone number to get in touch with him.

He probably told Claire that he has been stopping by her apartment to check up on how well I’m holding the place up or to make sure I haven’t burnt the place down. I really should say something to him about why he is here.  

He makes me feel uncomfortable and young. 

 Maybe I’ll put it in a really subtle way, like, Hey Rog, I thought you and C. broke up? Weren’t you and the kids supposed to be staying at your new apartment while she was out of town? Why are you here? And why don’t you go put on a nice warm pair of pants?

I am a wimp. 

I’d rather sit here and feel uncomfortable than muster up the guts to question him. He probably told Claire that I left dishes in her sink, that I did not pick up after myself, that I drank her Japanese beer, and that I threw too much food down the garbage disposal and he had to help me fix it. When he told her he had to help me fix the garbage disposal, I bet he said he had to come over especially for that. There’s no way he told her that he simply rolled out of her bed, completely naked, when he heard a fork being ground up in the sink. 

He had not even bothered to put anything on as he reached his hand down into the disposal system and pulled out a fork and an avocado pit. 

I stare at the Japanese calendar on the kitchen wall for the thirteenth time, as I have done twelve other times this afternoon in order to avoid looking at Roger. I pretend I can read the Japanese lettering at the bottom of the calendar, which is probably nothing other than the artist’s signature. During one of Claire and Roger’s numerous separations, one that had actually lasted for a whole year, Claire’d had a Japanese boyfriend.  I think this calendar was a gift that boyfriend had given her on their first date. 

Roger will never marry Claire.

If he was going to marry her, he would’ve done so by now. They have been together for ten years. They have two children. He just isn’t the marrying type, he tells her. 

So Claire keeps that calendar hanging on the wall, hoping it will make Roger jealous. 

For ten whole minutes I stare at the month of July on the wall. It has now been August for twenty-eight days. 

I think Claire still hopes Roger will want marry her.

Roger stands up again. This time he wants to know, should he put the peanut butter away, or, would I like some?

I look up, completely forgetting my supposed absorption in the Japanese calendar, and find his crotch level to my head. No, no,  I tell him. Please just put it away.

After Claire returned home from Texas, she and Roger got into a big fight about respect and trust and stuff. I only caught some of it because I left to come back home a few hours after she got home from her trip.

That was a year ago.

           ****************************************************

I talked to Claire today. I just remembered her birthday was nine days ago so I called her. She tells me California is doing great, and, as usual, I tell her that someday she has to come visit me in New York.

Although I know she never will. 

She has this hang up about New York. She says she hates the East Coast. Often I remind her that she has never been to the East Coast. You have never been east of Oregon, I tell her. 

Roger has just moved out again. This time it’s for good, she said. She always says that this time it’s for good.  I held back from saying that that is what she said the last time. I hate when people say things like,“ I told you so.”               

All of a sudden, after I hung up with Claire, I get this incredible urge to call her back, to ask her if she still has that Japanese calendar. I can see that calendar before my eyes, with its picture of a garden and its Japanese lettering.

I should have just taken a long look at Roger’s penis when I had the chance last summer. 

Because I’m having trouble. I feel obsessed.

Every time I see a Japanese person, or eat Japanese food, I associate it with Roger. The Japanese calendar was the thing I stared at every time I didn’t want to look at Roger’s nakedness. 

I should have just looked and gotten it over with. 

She still has the calendar. She says she wants to stop playing games with Roger, that she admits she still has the outdated calendar hanging on the wall to make Roger jealous of her old boyfriend. 

She says she knows how much I liked it and that she is sending it to me. 

I thought women nudists would be easier on the eyes

I thought women nudists would be easier on the eyes

(written when I was 19 years old xo jen pastiloff)