Rivera_best_drink_in_the_world

 

Liquid Lunch

 

I picked up some magazine to see Alanis Morissette was gracing the cover.  I waved it in front of Lee, then smacked it down on the table in front of her so she could take a good look.

“I miss Rain.”  I said as I slumped down in my seat.

“This is not Rain.  This is Alanis Morissette.  She has no problem finishing her sentences.  Just listen to her songs,” Lee said.

It was true.  Rain did have problems finding a predicate.  I used to try to finish her sentences in an absurd way, thinking it might encourage her to complete them on her own.  That behavior only seemed to frustrate her.   Rain was not Alanis, although I had falsely lumped them together in my mind because their looks were strikingly similar.

 

When I first met Rain, I was leaning against the bar at Revolver, if they had suddenly moved the bar, I would have fallen down.  I had just broken up with Jill.  Suddenly, Jill wanted to change her name to something mythical.  Why would she change her name from Jill, just because it reminded people of what she would fetch at the top off a hill?

 

I was starring at myself in the bar mirror.  In the mirror’s refection I noticed a gorgeous girl seated next to me.  I was too inebriated to discern if she was to my left or right but I quickly resolved the dilemma by ignoring the mirror and looking to both my sides.  She was on my left and sipping her cocktail so slow I thought she had glue in her straw.

 

I leaned over next to her and spoke into her ear.  “I’m gonna get you your next three drinks. They can be anything you want, but let me suggest you stay away from Long Island Iced Tea’s, because they have four kinds of liquor in them so it’d be like drinking twelve drinks if you only drink three.”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t want twelve of any drinks, that’s for sure.”  She said laughing shyly and looking down at her empty glass.

 

I had just broken up with Jill less than twenty-four hours before, and here I was talking to an amazing twenty-four year old woman who had graduated from college with a B.A. in something.  She was completely attentive and interested in me and I immediately interpreted that as a bad sign.  Every half hour, I would ask her what she was doing at Revolver.  Rain would look at me as if it was a strange question and then I would say to myself, “Yeah, dumb question, she’s obviously looking for adventure, just like the rest of us.”  But like Madeline, bolting upright in bed in the middle of the night, I knew, something was not right.  It seemed too easy.  Things were never easy for me.  So, I would ask her again, “Why are you here?  Why now?”  She’d just smile and look at my shoes.  I was wearing new shoes so this action seemed normal.

 

Three hours later I had finally gotten to the source of my uneasiness.  Rain had never been with a woman before.  Well, she had once kissed her college dorm roommate on the cheek, but the girl was not exactly receptive to Rain’s advances.  They ended up groping each other while fully clothed for the duration of a night.  When their school term ended, they went their separate ways.  No doubt her roomy was tattooed, pierced and living happily as a lesbian separatist in the Haight.  While Rain, the tiny explosion of wetness from the sky, was still scrambling to be tongue kissed in a girl bar.

 

I was staring at Rain’s mouth for several hours.  I wanted to be her first female kiss.  That was a goal I could live with.   Suddenly, I pushed her against the wall in a secluded corner of the bar.  I whispered to her.  “I want to kiss you.  I really want to kiss you.  Will you let me kiss you or will you bite me if I try?  I have to know because I’ve already gotten seven stitches underneath my tongue and the only advantage mouth stitches is minor weight loss.

“I won’t bite you.”  She said as she pulled on my shirt and yanked me up against her.  “I want you to kiss me.”

 

My lips fell against hers without any preconceived kissing aesthetic.  She knew how to kiss.  She took the path of least resistance.  Her tongue swam the back-stroke.  I chose freestyle.  She had been into girls all her life, now she was seasoned.  We parted from the first kiss regrettably.  It would never be first again.

 

Time passed, it always does.  I was back and forth with Jill about ten more times.  Our relationship was all encompassing whether we were broken up or together.   A heroin addiction would’ve had more freedom.  Over the next six months I would often run into Rain at Revolver.  She always looked sexy and free, like some chick named Breezy in a Sixties hitchhiking film.  We would speak casually about nothing.  I would then ask her if she had made love to a women yet.  She would stare down at my shoes and ignore my question.  I was sure she had been with a woman, perhaps many.  She had that calm confidence that comes from being well sexed.  She didn’t seem to care about me anymore.  Maybe she was even in love.

 

“Are you in love?”  I blurted out.

“No, I’m not in love.  Why don’t you get off my case?  Or better yet, call me sometime.”  She said this while she walked away slowly.  I had to thank God for women and Film Noir.

 

Why didn’t I call her sometime?  My relationship with Jill was more in my head than in anyone’s bed.  Jill never wanted to have sex if she hadn’t been recently waxed.  I had written my thesis on backward female hygiene conditioning.  Jill and I were two girls who were meant to be friends, not girlfriends.  Women often have trouble distinguishing the subtle difference between the two.  We became lovers accidentally when we liked the touch of each others soft skin too late, one evening.   Luckily, we just happened to have been split up when I decided to call Rain to ask her out.

 

We went for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Silverlake.  The food was floating above our conversation like angel hair.  She said I made her nervous.  She also mentioned her habit of rambling on and on about everything mundane when she became nervous.  Then she began to demonstrate.  I have never responded well to chatter.  For some reason, it reminds me of living by an airport, having relatives stay with me, or watching strangers fight in public.  I hate chitchat even more than every third Cohen Brothers film.  After dinner, I took her to a transvestite bar in a bad area of Hollywood.

 

The Bar was sparsely populated with a few old drag queens and Mexican vagrants.  An ideal mix for any bar.  Rain didn’t know whether to be impressed or insulted.  I wasn’t sure what response I was trying to elicit.

 

I tried to take Rain home early that night.  The mere mention of this early drop off and my growing fatigue sent her into a tantrum.  She actually yelled at me in my car.

“I’m not ready to go home!  I thought we were on a date!  You can’t just go home any time you feel like it!”

All I could think to do was turn up the car stereo to drown her out.  I was unenthusiastic on our date.  I spent most of the time plotting to go watch Jill tend bar after I dropped Rain.  So, I ignored Rain as we drove.  She stopped yelling just as we began to climb Coldwater Canyon.  I looked over at her and saw she was quietly crying.  I thought, what the hell am I doing?  Here is a sweet, smart, beautiful person, and she had feelings.  Why would I end the evening early just because she’s not the most perfect girl in the world for me?  So when we approached her street turn off, I purposely drove past it.  She perked up considerably.

 

If a woman had taken me out on a date, wanted to drop me early, then decided to change her mind at the last minute, I would have jumped from the moving vehicle to escape her.  But Rain was young and my indifference to her registered as attractive.

 

We went out for six months on and off.  I thought I loved her at night, then in the morning I knew it was just lust.  One night she threatened to sleep on my doorstep if I didn’t let her spend the night.  What could I do?  I had no Welcome mat.  So I let her sleep over, but I let her know it was under duress.  Early in the morning I awakened to find the pillow next to me had been vacated.  Good for her, I thought, she’s finally gotten it together to leave me.  Then on the way to the bathroom I tripped over her shoes.  I found her in my office.  She was lying on her stomach with feet kicked up in the air behind her.  She was sporting some collegiate sweater and studying for her Graduate Record Exam.  That was the one moment I loved her in daylight.  By the time afternoon rolled around she still hadn’t left.  A friend called me.  I told her Rain hadn’t left yet.  “What?!”  My friend said, “Didn’t she read the instruction manual?  Girls should be out by nine a.m.  Past noon is forbidden.”

 

I was always so compassionate and caring when I told Rain I didn’t want to see her anymore, she would graciously take me back whenever I started missing her.  Finally I had to drive the stake through my own heart to keep from dating her.  I knew if I had kept unintentionally torturing her any longer we would both turn into vampire bats and end up in some dark basement for all eternity.

 

In a relationship, there is always one person who loves more than the other.  I’ve been on both sides and they are equally torturous. The one who loves less would like to love more, but can’t.  So she wishes the “more” girl would just ease up.  The “more” girl wishes “less” chick would love her just a little more.  Since “less” can’t love more, “more” resents “less” thinking she’s not trying hard enough.  It’s icky.

 

A few years later, I started to miss Rain something fierce.  I dialed her number with my bold hand.  She met with me a few times.  But Rain never let her guard down which I found oddly attractive. I wanted her back like a bear wants a nap.  I asked her if she would consider dating me again.  Her response only made me want her more.

“Don’t ever call me again.”  She said,  “And I mean never.”

And I haven’t called her since.