Going Through The Motions

    I park my bike, a bit earlier than we agreed to meet. Check my phone and there’s nothing from her. Video call her. She doesn’t answer. Sit near the bike somewhere. She calls back. Where are you? Right around the corner. OK. See you in a minute.

    Back on the bike. Around the corner. There she is. Park again. Dismount. She says something too quickly and softly for me to understand. She’s nervous. That’s OK. I hold my hand out. She takes it. I hug her. She’s fine. OK let’s go.

    Back on the bike. She waits. I put the foot pegs down for her. Take out my phone. YouTube. One of the several bands I always listen to. Left earphone for me. Hold out the right earphone for her to take as she gets on the back. No words needed. What’s this? No answer. Just listen.

    Driving to my place. First song ends. Annoying advertisement starts. I pull over. Get my phone out. Skip advertisement. I know. I should get Spotify. She leans forward. Where are we going? I sigh. She knows where we’re going but she needs me to say it so that she can protest and then I can assure her it’s OK. It’s a mating dance.

    The dance is finished. So, you’re sure you’re OK to come to my place? Yes. Alright. Back on the road. I wanna go faster but it’s not a good idea. If I fell by myself I could get over it. If I dropped a girl… fuck. Hell no. Still, we gotta pass that truck. The exhaust is awful and it’s kicking up dust in our eyes and it’s just too slow. I pull up on the right side, peeking into the oncoming lane. Car’s coming. Apply brake. Hang back. Peek again. Truck coming. Wait. Truck passes. Open road. Throttle. Throttle. Throttle. We’re past. Second song ends. No advertisement this time, thank God. Third song is my favorite. Nice.

    We pull onto the dirt road. This is the tricky part. Sand and large rocks that should be swept away, but they never are. Maybe I should sweep it away myself. It’s steep and uneven, but I’ve done it a hundred times. She gasps, as if I’ve just taken us off of a motocross ramp. But we’re on more even ground now. I don’t react. I never react.

    Park at my place. The dogs start barking. Fuck those dogs. Put my finger to my lips and tell her to be quiet cause I don’t want the dogs to go crazy, but really I’m concerned about the staff. They’re so fucking nosy. They sit in an office to the left that does not need to be opened when I come home. Funny. When I return alone, they never come out. But when they hear two sets of footsteps, they get real polite and open the door for me.

    The guy opens the door and checks the girl. I can read his thoughts. Same as before or different one? He gives me the smile. Selamat Malam. Fuck off. Mind your own business.

    She’s shy now. I don’t blame her. I motion for her to come through the door with me and she does. The guy closes the door behind us. We walk down the red brick steps through the high ferns. We turn and there’s the pool. My place is beautiful. I wonder if she’s impressed. Or intimidated. Or if she’s seen a hundred villas just like this when she fucked a hundred guys just like me.

    At the door. Key goes in the lock first. Then my flip flops are off and placed perfectly against the wall. I lean them up against the wall, so they take up space vertically, leaving the floor clear. She does the same, but she hasn’t had as much practice. Hers fall. No problem.

    Open the door and I go in. Will she wait outside, like they usually do? They pretend to look at the sky or the pool or the rice fields, but really they just wait for my cue. Are they uncomfortable or just playing coy? I don’t know. But this one comes inside. Nice.

    I have two very comfortable beds sat next to each other. Why isn’t it just one big bed? I don’t know. But I have two comfortable beds and one small uncomfortable couch. She sits on the couch. They all do. No problem. I take some water from the fridge. Do you want any? No. They usually don’t. I drink a couple large mouthfuls and scold myself for it. Now I’m gonna have to pee. Why do I always drink so much water like that? Water goes back in the fridge.

    Can I sit next to you? Yes. I show my exhaustion for the first time. Lay back. Wait for the inevitable questions. How long you stay here? Three months. What country you from? USA. How old are you? Thirty. How long will you stay? Forever. Forever?! Nooo. Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t wanna leave. It’s nice here.

    She scoots a bit closer. Our legs are touching. It’s my turn. You’re from here or somewhere else? Often, it’s Jakarta. But not this one. Will you stay a long time? She will. Do you have friends here? A couple, but it sounds like they’re more like acquaintances. Do you live with roommates or alone? Alone. Interesting.

    OK. Time for the charade to end. Based on her body language and eye contact, I know it’s OK for me to act dominant for the first time. I stand up. Right arm under her knees, left arm under her back. Lift. No, no, no. Ya, ya ya. It’s three steps to the bed and she weighs a hundred pounds. It’s not a big deal. Drop her on the bed. She laughs. Don’t worry. I’m not gonna do anything bad.

    After that, she needs a bit of space. I go pee. Come back. Put the christmas lights on. Anything to just not invade her space for a minute. Get the iPad. Fuck, that’s right. I dropped it and now the screen is black. It still makes the battery charging sound, though. Huh. I’ll have to get it looked at. Good thing I have Netflix on my phone. What the fuck would I do if I didn’t?

    I like Japanese shows. Anything with drama and romance and dating. But her English is no good. It needs to be English so I can use Indonesian subtitles. Anything will do. A documentary style show about the Earth? Maybe it’s too boring but maybe not. Whatever. The worst thing I could do is ask her what she wants to watch. Indecision is unmanly. The key is to make a choice and make it firmly and quickly. Want to make a girl less attracted to you? Ask her where she wants to eat.

    I put it on and get on my bed, a few feet from her. Now if she comes to me, it’s her choice. Her investment. She doesn’t. I motion for her to come over. Probably should have waited. Oh well. She cuddles up to me anyway.

    The longer I wait to touch her, the more awkward it gets. The sooner I touch her, the more needy I am. Paradox. Fuck it. She needs to be home in two hours. The timer is on. I put my hand on her leg. She’s wearing a skirt. She doesn’t have a problem with it.

    On my phone, birds in Africa need to travel fifty kilometers to find fresh water. They won’t all make it. She’s captivated. I’ve heard it before. It’s still cool to watch, but I’m more interested in something else. It would be better if I wasn’t. She can feel it and I can feel her feeling it. But what the fuck, right? Her skin is so smooth. She’s got all the right curves. She smells so good. I start massaging her leg. She puts her hand on mine. “It’s OK, you don’t have to.” Her protest is mild and my hand is still there. I just massage softer a little bit further down in a safer spot.

    We’re watching on my phone. What if a message pops up? Tinder. Whatsapp. Bumble. Line. Maybe it would turn her off. Maybe not. Oh well, we have no promises to each other. She probably wouldn’t even let me hold her phone. Her’s is probably a lot more likely to detonate than mine. Maybe it shows trust that I’m letting her hold mine. Or maybe it doesn’t matter. I think too much. Breathe in. Breathe out. Fuck. She smells so good.

    I’m not getting anywhere with her leg. That’s too soon. Should I move to her chest? Some girls won’t let you touch their tits first. Some won’t let you touch their ass first. Why is it my job to guess? Nature, I guess. Oh well. Hand moves up to her shoulder. That’s base camp. She can’t tell me not to touch her shoulder. I give her a light massage as we watch the birds traverse the desert.

    The next segment starts. Monkeys in a rainforest. They’re cute. She giggles. I do, too, but mine is forced. Ugh. I can tell this ain’t gonna happen. It only happens when I don’t force anything. Can I stop forcing? No, not tonight. Dammit. My massage gets stronger and moves down to her upper chest. She isn’t stopping me, but she rolls over slightly. Well, now her ass is more exposed. Her skirt is riding up, too. Come on, girl. You know what this is. But it’s just too soon. Maybe if she had had a sip of alcohol she could justify it. But now, stone sober, after meeting for the first time one hour ago, this job is a tough one.

    My hand goes back to her leg, further up this time. More massaging. I’m a goddamned professional masseuse by now, but I’ve never been paid. This is bullshit. I move my hand farther up and grab her lower ass. She puts her hand on mine. “It’s OK, you don’t have to.” Mild protest, but still protest. I’m annoyed. I keep my hand there but it stops roaming.

    Now there are wolves going after a wildebeest calf. The wildebeests protect the calf by herding around it. The pack of wolves gains on the wildebeests. I’m aroused and she can feel it. I start rubbing her chest a bit lower. Too low. The hand again. And “It’s OK, you don’t have to.” What does that even mean? But she’s not taking my hand away. Back to the ass.

    Time for the special move. I take my phone and put it on a pillow to her left. I roll her over so her back is to me and spoon her. No protest. I scoop my arm under hers and hold her, my wrist resting between her tits. I stroke her hair and smell her. Goddamnit. I want her. She needs to want me. She does, but it’s too soon.

    My hand is large enough to span both of her tits. The best part is the gentle slope between them. I touch that part on that side with fingers of the same hand. She puts her hand on mine. It might be encouragement, but it feels like protest. But she doesn’t move my hand. Alright, back to her ass.

    Now, I’m gripping her bare ass. Her skirt is way up. I pull her right cheek up and squeeze. Then, I’m the one to pull away first. That’s the way. I run my fingers down her leg, landing near her calf. Massage, then lightly touch. I remember seeing a diagram of what to do with which parts of the human body for sensuality. The outside of the leg is for grabbing. The inside is for light fingertips touch. I go with that.

    Back to her ass. I grip the right cheek again, harder. I push closer against her. With the right cheek lifted, I can touch her panties where her crotch is. There’s her hand again. Now she makes it clear that it’s too much.

    I take my phone from her and roll over, several feet away from her. What? Nothing. Why? I don’t know. She looks at my eyes. I look at hers. What? Nothing, don’t worry. Why? I don’t know. There’s a lot that I could say, but it’s not time yet. That will come later. She wants me back against her, so I pretend everything is fine.

    “This show is kind of boring.” Do you want to change it? No. Then why even say it?

    We’ve rinsed, now let’s repeat. Right back to where I started. Hold her, arm between the tits. Now my hand is lower, though. Two steps forward, one step back. Rub. Caress. Grip. Grasp. Too much. Her hand is on mine again. Back to the ass. I’m not even watching the show anymore. It must have been an ocean with some dolphins or something. It’s bad that I don’t know. I’m too goal-oriented. She could feel it and I could feel her feeling it.

    Grasping her ass, rubbing her panties now. She pretends she doesn’t feel it. How could she not feel it. Fuck it. Now my dick’s out. She brings her hand to mine to slow me down and I take her hand to put it on my dick. She pulls back. But my dick is between her ass cheeks. And she’s still against me.

    She pulls her hand back so she’s not stopping me from touching her anymore. I touch her panties again. Hand comes down. She stops me.

    Alright. Let’s take you home. What? You got work tomorrow morning and you said this show is boring. Let’s go. Why? She looks at my eyes and I look at hers. Really? Yeah just tell me.

    I’m horny and you don’t want to do anything! I don’t usually just say it like that but she said she wanted to hear it. Yeah. I’m sorry but it’s the first time we meet. Yeah. I know. Oh well. Let’s go.

    She gets her things. I’m sorry. It’s no problem. Out the door. Up the steps. She’s walking behind me. My phone’s in my hand. I keep the Netflix show running and hold it so she can see it. I don’t hate her; I just don’t want her in my room anymore.

    Out the gate. On the bike. Left earphone for me. Right earphone for me. You can go to her place two different ways. We came from the left. Now I feel like going to the right. The right is a narrower, rockier path. It turns onto an even narrower path with the river on one side and rice fields on the other side. Where are we going? Your house. She probably thinks I’m gonna kill her.

    Are you OK? Yes. I’m sorry. It’s OK. It’s just… Yeah, I know. It’s the first time. She says something too soft for me to hear it. I park the bike in the middle of the narrow road so we can talk for a minute. It’s late. There won’t be other bikes, anyway. What? I’m sorry. Listen, it’s OK. I understand. We just don’t match up. I like girls who know what they want. I like girls who like me. She’s silent. She understands, too.

    Right onto the main road. Left onto the smaller road. Right onto the tiny cobblestone shortcut. Rice fields on both sides. She grips my sides. She definitely thinks I’m gonna kill her. Right off of the shortcut. Main road again. I feel her relief. Left onto another road. One more right. She recognizes the area. She holds my chest.

    Slow down, she says. There’s her place. I almost miss it. Right into the alley. OK. I’m sorry. Maybe next time. My smile is sarcastic. I turn my bike around. Her eyes are pleading for my forgiveness. They don’t receive it. Goodnight.

    I’m back home in five minutes. She’s texted me five times. She’s sorry. She doesn’t do it the first time. Next time she can show me how well she can treat me. I collapse onto my bed.

    I’m tired.


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