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ohcarlaohcarlaohcarlaohhohhohoh, that's what su said, i remember that night all three of us in carla's bed after hours of waiting and waiting making small talk knowing we would go there, having planned it and the longer we waited -- sitting on stools at her kitchen bar drinking wine, smoking pot, listening to cris williamson OVER AND OVER -- the longer we waited the more, well, the more cautious and scared i got. and with carla's former husband and his girlfriend there too, it was just a bit weird for me though they were nice enough. what were we waiting for -- a certain amount of facetime with them to show we were all completely casual about this? were they all that casual about it? i felt like a shy twelve-year old at the teen dance.

then finally we were in her bedroom in her bed and she and su said not to get uptight about coming, that that wasn't what it was about, they had discovered. just relax you don't have to perform they said and they sort of flipped for who got to go down on me and su won and i felt kind of like the cake in alice in wonderland, randomly addressed. it was so intimate and i didn't hardly know su though it had been fun the night before to drive off in her sports car to busterz bar and drink beer and smoke cigarettes and talk about it.

i was attracted to them both i thought but as this evening wore on i realized it was really carla i wanted and less and less su. su was initially attractive in some obvious immediately definable way like black leather and i'm still not sure what it was with her that started getting to me but she became something i couldn't go through with. carla may have been just enough behind her in that we started later or maybe it could've worked with carla, i don't know.

i'd gone driving off with su who'd come on to me first and was acting so experienced in what for me was my first lesbian support group, or, really, woman's support group of any kind. i'd missed the c.r. groups of the 70's all balled up in marriage. the idea of sitting around with women talking about our cunts or feminism had been repellent to me. i was so in love with my friend evelyn and it was such an impossible idea that we only flirted and talked passionately into the brick walls of a pizza place with a cozy basement, or tooled around the countryside in her baby blue beetle and then went home to cook dinner for our husbands. but i digress.

su was a real dyke to my brand new claim and she courted like a butch from the 50's and thrilled me. so when she suggested ducking out of the meeting that night and going off to discuss the nature of my upset at having discovered that she and carla had gotten together which they announced all curled up across from each other on one of the couches, eying each other, stretching like satisfied cats, i agreed instantly. i needed her help sorting things out. we talked a little on the porch. i was unable to hide my feelings. so we peeled off to busterz bar in her late model 280 Z and she lit my cigarette with the lighter from the dashboard while looking straight ahead, she was that cool. carla searched for me, concerned, i found out when we got back. she knew somehow, my face perhaps. i was glad she searched and relieved when it seemed still later like it might work after all, the three of us kissing at the bar.

i kissed them both at the naked fig after the meeting sitting around laughing and dreaming about how great it would be all three of us living together and to prove we wouldn't be jealous, to try it out we kissed each other while the other one watched, to notice how we'd feel. i'm sure there were other women there from the center too, just watching us like a floor show. i kissed carla and su watched carla kissed su and i watched well they'd had more practice already, having been involved for at least two weeks. we talked about how great a threesome we would be: just think if i want to go to the movies and you or su doesn't then the other might and just think we'd each get time to ourselves and we can work it all out, uhhuh uhhuh. we got brasher we didn't care who heard us or how outrageous we sounded. we believed in that moment we could have done anything -- skied down the olympic ski jump ramp, swum the English Channel -- something people really do that's really hard, exceptional, brave. desire was that strong, desire for all desire to be satisfied without punishment or limitation. if i wanted su and carla then it need not be a problem that carla and su had already gotten involved, that one of them beat me to the other in each case. and it was not a problem that i didn't know which one i wanted, maybe both, because they both wanted me too. instead of things narrowing to a focus like the aperture of a lens, they widened until i felt dizzy with happiness. overblown with it.

we went back to su's apartment which i hadn't seen, to her ultra-modern chrome and black leather furniture, thick purple or orange shag (i can't now remember which), a fish tank glowing green in the dim light with its silent gliding inhabitants imparting a sacred ridiculous museum quality to the otherwise garish apartment. su put on music loud. she had a little yappy dog. it was like wandering into a trailer park.

carla's seductiveness was different. if she'd had a van it would've been held together by bumper stickers. bouncing on it while you made love might also be babies in overalls. if su'd had a van it would've been new, with indirect lighting and a fold out bed, a cabinet full of liquor, a bag of pot, matches, a gold embossed matchbook -- no, a sleek graphite lighter. carla's long print skirt and woven shirt, the silver and turquoise dangling from her ears, her hazel eyes, long brown hair, and cowboy boots said i might be the woman of her dreams as we sat there planning a place in the country. did su object? was she trying to imagine where her carpet would go? i was falling fast into the more familiar territory that was carla, who reminded me of my older brother's girlfriend in college who reminded me of joni mitchell with whom i and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others was in some kind of love.

at su's apartment that night they wanted to get right down to it but i just couldn't i needed to let the idea settle a little. it was late, i'd been to two bars in one night, i didn't have my toothbrush or contact lens solution and my housemate was expecting me home -- i needed to give the idea room to blossom and grow first. so carla gave me a ride back to my car at the center and we sat in her 66 volvo kissing as she drew mandalas with her fingertip around my throat, and i felt lightheaded.

after we kissed a long time in carla's old car with shocks so bad it was like driving in the surf to even kiss in it, we moved over to my car and kissed some more, laughing brashly into the quiet neighborhood 3 a.m. street, slamming car doors and shushshing each other. we even got back into her car where the knobby stick shift kept sticking me in the stomach. eventually i stumbled into my own little room, fell onto my own little bed about 4 or 5 a.m. and tumbled asleep until shortly before 5 the next afternoon about when su picked me up. my housemate said are you all right? as we passed in the living room.

we had to swing by su's sister's place first in northeast. they were nice -- her sister and her sister's husband and kids -- and i thought it was great the way they seemed to accept su, even like her and they didn't seem to mind me but i still felt like i had to keep mentioning things that would make me seem normal, like brands of cereal and the nutritional value of count chocula, their five-year old's favorite as compared, say to cocoa puffs or lucky charms. not to try to pass for straight but to seem regular. i wasn't ready to be su's girlfriend, having never been another woman's girlfriend i just didn't know how to do it.

so we got up to carla's house in the country eventually -- she called it the barn -- and sometime or other during the ensuing long evening su asked carla if she and i had slept together the previous night, as if she was asking whether we'd gone out for pizza, and added that if it'd been her taking me home, she'd have. i felt like a stuffed bear at a carnival a little pleased at being considered a prize but a little too tradable between them, a third thing.

su was dressed up, i remember being struck by that when she came to pick me up in her 280 Z that made me feel like i should be wearing a black leather jacket. a tasteful one, not ragged. but she was wearing a kind of frilly white blouse that had a peter pan collar and it was incongruous on her i thought -- in my stomach, not my head. su had very dark skin, what you call an olive complexion i think -- short black hair, glasses, neatly trimmed nails but that wasn't it. she was just too butch for a peter pan collar and frills, chainsmoking marlboros held between fingers big with heavy rings. And it was sweet that she'd dressed up but she seemed vulnerable, shy, hoping to please and that made me queasy.

as the time went on in carla's bedroom i was beginning to realize how different we were. su said something about how much she liked eating women, and i wondered how could you just randomly like it like liking pizza. i had never particularly liked going down on my husband, gagging on semen, but that night i didn't know how i was gonna like going down on a woman and by the time we got to su i didn't have the energy left to try or was it that she had gone down on carla who i really wanted? by the time the two of them finished making love to me (i didn't come) and su and i made love to carla it must've been 3 or 4 am and i was too tired to continue, sick from too much wine, too much pot, too much sex, the unfamiliar room with clothes strewn everywhere.... lying there trying to feel better, i thought of a time in grammar school when i'd been invited over to jodi franzini's house and i suddenly just had to leave. just before lunch which i'd been invited for. it was a saturday and we'd been riding bikes around the island in the middle of her street. i made up some reason and fled on my red bike with the fat tires i couldn't get out of there fast enough. i'd been invited over to jodi's before but never gone. but i'd gone this time, finally i guess i had to. i was over at her house i was a guest i was expected to stay for lunch i had watched her mother shaping hamburger patties out of a heap of ground beef. i could watch doug at the snackbar at the swimming club do the same thing and not feel suddenly so claustrophobic and vaguely queasy -- but at the franzinis it seemed like a personal thing. the way no one but my mother could braid my hair but other mothers still presumed to carry out these intimate rituals and nurturances on sleepovers say, to virginia keily's house. i couldn't allow anyone else, any other mother. the thought nauseated me. were mrs. franzini's hands clean?

jody franzini could not be my sister. she farted silently in the classroom and andrew martinson counted the times, silently holding up his fingers and we laughed behind our hands. how could i stay for lunch at her house? so i rolled over in carla's bed feeling that same queasiness hoping to pass out and thereby attain guiltlessness and heard su cry out ohcarlaohcarlaohcarla ohhohhohoh (she came). i don't know how hurt she was by me not joining in she seemed cool to me after that and jealous of my friendship with carla even though i fell in love with a different woman the very next day and didn't become lovers with anybody else for years (though i still wanted to with carla from time to time i thought about it, about her, about how surprisingly round her breasts were. perfectly round a shape i didn't know existed in breasts.)

after i split up with my lover i called carla but she was about to marry a guy so i thought well i did arrive too late -- but i still think about her round breasts sometimes and the way she wore her clothes, and about her decanting jugs of almaden into pretty 750 ml bottles, about the glass coffee grinder on her wall with the red iron handle, about cleaning dope and rolling joints. and about su's deep italian skin and black hair and butchiness and shag rug and aquarium and getting turned off to her. and about jody. and her mother who wore gypsy silks and whose black hair streaked with grey whirled up in a conchshell bun with stray hairs wisping out and who had a sort of looseness to her skin. mrs. franzini's cheeks wagged when she talked and she had a voice that went up the scale like a loon when she thought something was funny. jodi had that same loose quality to her, like her skin was nervous about her underlying body. but su was compact, slender. she had dark eyebrows and manicured hands that she probably never steeped in ground beef. her skin stretched nicely over her bones. there was not a thing similar about them.

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