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Authors: Consuelo Saah Baehr

Nothing To Lose (A fat girl novel) (8 page)

BOOK: Nothing To Lose (A fat girl novel)
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Aspira
did turn the tide for Luis. He was granted admission to the academically superior Stuyvesant High School. “This is just the beginning,” prophesied the director of admissions with more accuracy than he knew. “With any luck, you’ll receive scholarship money to a fine university.

The road to Princeton, the fine university that finally granted Luis a full academic scholarship, was not all smooth. The first semester at Stuyvesant, it seemed to Luis that the film of his life had been speeded up. The students appeared to be middle-aged, bug-eyed with alertness, pale and unpleasant. The competition bordered on mania.

Luis became ill. First with bad colds and finally with pneumonia. When the pneumonia cleared up, he complained of pains in his knees and his mother began taking him to the clinics, but they couldn’t find the cause of his pains.

One day, as they were coming home, a young woman, Carla, who lived on their floor, spoke to his mother. “Hey, Marie, how ya doin?”

His mother shrugged. “Okay.”

“You heard I got a job? I’m doing keypunch at Klein’s.” Luis’ mother said nothing. She didn’t think much of Carla, who insisted on anglicizing everyone’s name as if she had a bigger share in America than anyone else. “They sent me to school. IBM keypunch school.” Carla shrugged impishly as if she’d put one over on her employer. “You know IBM?”

“I know IBM,” said Luis’ mother in a more neutral voice. The elevator stopped at several floors.

“Why don’t you come and do keypunch, too?” said Carla.

“I don’t know nothing about keypunch,” answered his mother, but Luis could see her expression had changed.

“They’ll send you to school. Come on, don’t be foolish. You know numbers. Numbers are numbers in Spanish or English. Don’t be foolish. $4.75 an hour. It’s better than hanging around this shithole all day.”

Two mornings later his mother was up early, ate breakfast and set her hair in small rollers. “I hab the appointment,” she said when she emerged looking remarkably businesslike.

At noon, she returned, a secret smile on her face. “I’m going to do the keypunch, she announced decisively, as if she expected an argument. Then, turning to Luis, she added firmly, “Jew go back to the school, okay?”

“Maybe,” he said grudgingly.

“No maybe,” she answered. “Jew go back tomorrow.”

Chapter Eight

The summer before he left for Princeton, Luis got a job with Lande Brothers Construction on Third Avenue near Fifty-first Street. Mr. Lande was a man he had met through Mrs. Schwartz. “Come see me about a summer job,” he had told Luis and, true to his word, had been available and accommodating.

“I haven’t had any experience,” said Luis when they met.

“Experience doesn’t mean a goddam thing,” replied Mr. Lande. He waited for a startled response. “It all depends on what’s up here,” he pointed to his right temple, “and what’s in here,” he tapped his chest. “You’ll do fine. Better than fine.”

They placed him with the sales subsidiary. Aubernon and Cagney, responsible for setting up sales offices and model exhibits, hiring photographers and approving ads for the real estate sections of the newspapers. Two or three times, Luis went to the model homes located in the suburbs of New York and New Jersey. The families that came to inspect the homes seemed cheerful but overburdened with young, fidgety children who begged to be held. Luis didn’t want any children. He wanted to be free to take full advantage of whatever life held in store.

It was right after he had decided that he wanted no encumbrances that he walked into Jim Aubernon’s office and found a girl there spreading photographs out on the desk. She was blond, athletic looking, with chunky hips. Blond fuzz covered her tanned arms up to her shoulders, which were bare, and around her ears and lower jaw. She was wearing a tank top, a soft bra that showed her nipples, peach colored cotton slacks and sandals. Her hair looked bushy, as if she had stayed out in the sun too long and it needed conditioning. There was something sure and businesslike about her, in contrast to her looks and the way of dressing. While they both waited for Jim Aubernon to get off the phone, she stared at Luis as if daring him to look at her. She didn’t care if he liked to be stared at or not. Then she smiled. He looked determinedly out the window and didn’t return her smile. Then he thought it over and changed his mind but she wasn’t smiling anymore. He tried to catch her eye but Mr. Aubernon was off the phone and she was hoisting a black portfolio onto his desk.

Luis left reluctantly and asked the secretary about the woman.

“Her name’s Barbara Traynor. She’s a photographer’s rep. She tries to get work for the guys in her stable by going around showing their photographs.

“The guys in her stable?”

“It’s just an expression. Don’t get offended.”

He wasn’t offended. In fact, the expression made him feel kind of sexy. Thinking about Barbara Traynor with her bushy hair and her chunky bottom and her nipples pushing through her tank top made him feel like being one of the guys in her stable. He hung around the office hoping to catch her eye before she left.

The next time she came he was in Jim Aubernon’s office but this time, since no one asked him to leave, he stayed to watch her make her spiel. She turned the sample photographs slowly, doing a first-rate selling job as she went.

Mr. Aubernon said, “This is great stuff, Barb. We’ll let you know by four tomorrow.”

“Good enough,” she said with just the right indifference and again zipped up both portfolios, looked at her oversized watch and left the office. Luis followed her out. “Uh…hey…wait.” He caught up with her at the bank of elevators. “Uh, you go out or something?”

“Yeah,” she turned around and peered at him. They were the same height. “I go out…I don’t know about the ‘or something’.” She tried to imitate his husky voice and he laughed.

“Want to go out tonight?”

She looked at her watch again. “I have two more appointments and then I need forty minutes to scrub the soot off. How about 7:30? 23 West 83rd Street. Push the bell marked Traynor.”

The elevator came and before he could answer, it closed on her satisfied smile.

He thought about her thighs all afternoon. He knew they would be thicker than they should be, but it didn’t matter. These small imperfections made her accessible to him.

Her building was an extra wide brownstone with two small stone lions flanking the door, which was a cheerful red. He began to have doubts over their short acquaintance. He couldn’t remember what she really looked like. Maybe she was more unattractive than he had originally estimated? Chronically undatable. Well, he was already there. He rang the bell and after a long wait – had he misunderstood? – she buzzed him in. He looked at his watch and realized that he was fifteen minutes early.

She answered the door in a loosely belted wraparound robe. They stood there staring at each other. She looked clean and rosy from the shower, no makeup. He sighed with relief. He could see quite a bit at the parting of the robe and most compelling was the fact that he could see a tan and un-tan portion of her breast. For some reason, being witness to that line of demarcation, normally beyond public view, greatly excited him. He could not have been more aroused had she met him totally naked. He must have looked embarrassed because she gave him a suspicious look. “Something wrong?”

“I’ll just wait while you finish dressing.”

“But something’s wrong. I can see it in your face. What is it?”

“No, it’s nothing.”

“Yes, it is.”

“I can see part of your breasts.” His eyes returned to the parting of her robe.

“Oh, god,” she rolled her eyes upward and pulled the belt tight around her. “You think I’m coming on to you? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Oh, no.” He hadn’t thought that but now that she said it, it became a distinct possibility. “I think it’s perfectly accidental. I’m a little early and you’re in your robe. But…it…bothered me.”

“Bothered you?” Maybe she was coming on to him. Maybe he was supposed to do something. Should he kiss her? “You don’t like it?” she asked sarcastically.

“No, it’s fine. I like it. I just thought I should tell you.” He backed away in confusion. He had yet to say one sentence he was proud of. “If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t know.”

“Jesus,” she said. “How weird can you get? You come here knowing me for a total of twenty minutes and the first thing you say to me is that you can see my breast.”

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Don’t be mad.”

“How do you expect me to feel?”

“I don’t know.” There it was again. The tan/un-tan breast poking out. Beckoning. She saw him looking and she looked at it, too. Then she looked at his eyes and at his agitated hands crossing and uncrossing in front of him. His ears began to buzz. He looked for a place to sit down.

“How can you get so excited over half a breast?” she challenged him but he could tell by the new softness in her voice that she was pleased. Maybe she was more than pleased. It gave him the courage he needed.

“I’ve been thinking about you all day.”

“You’re crazy. You’re really crazy. How can you talk like that to someone you hardly know?” After she said this she did a very surprising thing. She took off her robe and sat on his lap and put her arms around his neck and kissed him on the lips. He kissed her back; letting his hands roam all over her body, still warm and damp from the shower. She smelled lemony and sweet. As his eagerness grew so did hers.

“You should take off those lovely clothes,” she said. When his scholarship to Princeton came through, Mrs. Schwartz had given him a navy wool blazer and a silk tie – repeating horses’ heads on a field of crimson – both of which he now removed. He left his trousers on, feeling suddenly shy and she led him to a sleeping alcove.

When she became really excited, she called him lover, which pleased him. “Oh, lover,” she said, “that feels so good. It’s as good as it gets.” This encouraging talk plus her agitated movements spurred him on. Every part of her was oversized, even her teeth, which he could feel and see. She guided him expertly, parting herself to accommodate him, raising her hips to fit him better, looking him straight in the face and then losing control. He had read that women couldn’t get clitoral contact during intercourse and he put his thumbs there to please her. “Oh, that’s wonderful. You’re great. Don’t stop. I’m almost there…almost….”

Through the commanding thunder of his own excitement, he considered her monologue extraordinary. Except for his very first woman, who had been primly efficient, he had never experienced or heard of anyone conducting intercourse in anything but complete silence and complete darkness. To be suddenly atop this tan, fleecy, appreciative, love-abandoned woman was eye opening and invested him with a new and thrilling power.

They made love again before going out to dinner. “This is the first time I paid for my dinner before I ate it,” she said with mock sarcasm.

“I’ve got seventy-four dollars,” he said. “Let’s go out and blow it.”

“Okay.” She started to go to the bathroom but came back and sat on the bed. “I don’t even know your name. You’ve just screwed me twice and I don’t even know your name.”

They ate dinner in a small Italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue. She ordered for both of them and then apologized. “Sorry. I have to be pushy all day and it’s hard to turn it off.”

He asked a lot of questions about her work and was surprised to learn the men she worked for were all older, some old enough to be her father. “It doesn’t matter how old they are,” she said. “If they had to sell their own work and someone told them it wasn’t exactly what they needed, they’d probably kill themselves. They take rejection personally.”

“So you take it for them?”

“With me, it’s a job.” She attacked her salad and began eating it quickly and he knew she didn’t want to talk about her work anymore. He didn’t want to talk about anything either, certainly not himself. She had pulled her hair back and tied it with a scarf, which wasn’t as becoming as when it was loose around her face, but her lack of beauty made him feel protective. He wondered if she would let him in when he took her home. He needn’t have worried. As they lingered at the window of a small boutique, she squeezed his hand and said, “Let’s go home. I feel like screwing.”

He wondered if he would ever get used to her offhandedness. It was still a jolt.

Later, in bed, she asked him to stay the night. That was the last thing he’d thought of. “Sure,” he finally answered. “I’ll just make one phone call.

The following day, Barbara Traynor called him at the office and invited him to dinner. “Come by around eight. I’ll cook you a nice dinner.”

“Fine.”

“I’ve been thinking about it all day,” she said seductively. He had no trouble identifying what “it” was. “You, too?”

“Of course.” He looked around the office.

“Tell me one thing you’ve thought.”

“Well…ah…all of it.” He was conscious of at least two secretaries possibly listening to him and watching his face.

“Come on, come on,” she insisted, “one thing.”

“The conversation…during,” he said as soberly as possible.

“Ah…you like that, huh? Well, it would be nice to hear a little of that from you. It works both ways, you know.”

BOOK: Nothing To Lose (A fat girl novel)
11.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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