Elaine Bonow—Off Line
Off Line—Elaine Bonow
He may have been the most fascinating person I’ve ever known, but…He doesn’t seem to have an Internet fingerprint as far as I can tell.
What do you mean everyone is on the Internet right?
I only met him yesterday. I’ve looked but so far no real leads. And you know how paranoid I get of meeting anyone in person these days. It’s so personal.
How did you meet him? What did you do? Where were you?
I just went shopping at the Market, you know the Metropolitan. Since it is so nice out I was feeling really good. You know how you feel when everything just seems to be right.
Shit, I don’t think I’ve felt like that ever. You’re always so “Pollyanna” anyway. I don’t know how you can stand yourself.
Don’t be a hater. I can’t help myself. I got a little dressed up. I dug out that red sweater that shows off my boobs, put some lipstick on, let my hair down. And remember, it’s also almost Valentines Day.
Woo Hoo; I haven’t had a great date on a Valentines Day for ages. It’s been a long time singe Marko was around. Boy Oh Boy, did he treat me good, at least for the first couple of years.
Marko was a dick and you know it.
Yeah, but he was fun for a while. He spoiled me and then, ha ha ha, soiled me. But enough of that old crap. What happened, tell me and don’t leave anything out?
I was cruising the candy aisle and he actually backed into me. It was like a cheap intro to a porno.
That’s funny. Most of the time someone runs into you they are some kind of freak with spots or some old lady and her caretaker buying soup.
I didn’t think much of it or him at first. He was an older man; well not old I’d guess he might be around sixty. He is taller than me and looks like he is in decent shape. He was dressed all casual but not too young.
You’ve always had a daddy thing. Yo, remember that one old guy you hung out with, the one who loved going to the opera.
Yeah, Mr. Mike was fun. He took me to every single opera performance on the West Coast, San Francisco to BC. I just had to drive and he was happy. Plus we stayed at all the fancy hotels when we went even when we went to the opera here.
Too bad he passed. Glad he was doing something he loved. I’d like to be so lucky. Maybe I could find some one who wants to go on long walks on the beach and smell dandelions with the baby seals.
Girl, you are so cynical.
I think I am funny.
True that. Well, I was flustered because when he actually looked at me, I felt that tingly feeling, like, who is this guy and why haven’t I seen him before. I come here almost every day. I know everybody and they know me. I looked around, you know, looking for the wife or the children or his caretaker.
And? Was he alone? How did you talk to him or did he talk to you first? Or did you stalk him through the store, hiding behind coke displays and pretending to study the back of the olive cans.
He actually stopped me down the next aisle as we stumbled away from our initial crash. He didn’t even give me the usual lines; just that his name is Randy Butler, he plays piano for the symphony and ballet. He lives in an old Victorian apartment not far away, He’s single and straight he’s adventuresome and would like to get to know all about me.
Dang, that’s like a cocoa-for-cocoa-puffs kind of guy.
Hell yes! I thought so too but when we got to the counter all the clerks knew him by name and even asked him how the favorite ballet stars were doing, like they’d known him for a while.
Well, sounds legit and you say he wasn’t too doddering, too ugly or had bad breath?
No, no he seems very dignified and cool so I didn’t say no when he asked if I would like to get a coffee and talk. I’ve been so bored lately and it was such a nice day that I said yes.
That’s a fast turnaround. I’m glad it was broad daylight. You are usually so afraid of casual dating. I mean you going to coffee with him after knowing him for a good fifteen minutes is so strange.
I couldn’t help myself. Form the time we walked out of the store to the coffee shop I was more and more, how can I say it, enamored with him? He asked me all about myself and what I liked and he seemed to like the same things I did and more. He seemed to know so much about everything. Plus he had been everywhere plays all kinds of music on a ton of different instruments. He paints and writes poetry. He’s published for Christ’s sake.
But that’s only stuff he told you. How do you know he’s not so full of shit? I mean, girl, are you that naïve?
I thought about that but he was telling the truth I swear it. He just knew too much. He invited me to go to the opera with him and not only that said he would introduce me to everybody. We are going to meet at the backstage door tomorrow night before the show.
I must admit that this does sound promising. It sounds much better than meeting someone on OK Cupid like I do. You should have seen the lying profile of the last geek loser I met on line. Bah. Ick. Yeck.
That’s just what I thought. This has got to be innocent enough. I’ll be all right.
Right, unless he is a late blooming serial killer. The question is what should you do about not finding him on the web? I’m there. You’re there.
I know, I know. I checked Linkin, and Facebook, Twitter and Pinerest. Nothing. Do you think there could be anyone, anywhere that is not on line?
I have heard rumors about that but I’ve never met anyone off the grid.
Well, I think I’m going to take a chance. If you don’t hear from me after tomorrow just come look for me in the Twilight Zone.
As I looked out on the quiet street before me I remembered the first time I saw her. A supermarket is not the best place to meet a woman. She might be shopping with her husband or for the family, and in this neighborhood with its proximity to the ballet and opera, most of the females who frequent this particular market are young ballet students, their mothers or totally focused opera singers with no time for dalliances.
I feel so lucky that I have a job a pianist for ballet classes and opera rehearsals. My job is fantastic, especially for someone who should be retired or doddering in a rest home. I get to do what I love every god dammed day of the week playing everything from Chopin Mazurkas to the Sound of Music. The best part of all is being around artists, dancers, singers and musicians, everyday all day long.
Being a professional musician is the end result of my early bohemian life and a long life so far. It keeps me being a very modern fellow compared to the other men I know of my generation, especially when it comes to dating and sex. That’s why this particular woman intrigues me so much, so much so I had to find a way to get to know her.
Truth is my fantasies about her were getting under my skin, just like Sinatra sang:
I said to myself: this affair never will go so well.
But why should I try to resist when, baby, I know so well
I’ve got you under my skin?
She was so different from the divas I dealt with daily. I overheard her talking to her friend one day and she had such joie de vivre. The ballet crowd from young to old, were so thin, so puny, so boring with their obsessions about proper food intake, how to enjoy eating salads without dressing, drinking eight ounce cokes mixed with water and smoking American Spirit cigarettes.
The opera singers were even worse, so self-centered and neurotic about their mouths and throats. God, I remember this one diva, Carolyn was her name, a stunning woman I courted that would have silent orgasms for fear of damaging her vocal chords. I got so tired of the silent grunting and the hissing humidifier I had to end that dalliance.
My life has been one long indulgence in art, music, dance and theater. You name it and I am there. I could never exist in a cubicle or even before the cubicle, the office and its atmosphere of oppression. I have avoided the routine life of family, kids, the inevitable series of affairs with even younger women until the wife leaves you and remarries’ your best friend who’s wife left him for the widowed high school English teacher.
I avoided all this type of scandal by never getting married. I love women too much. I can fondly recall all of the women I have bedded since the first; well it was she who bedded me when I was just a lad of fifteen. Ah, sweet Suzanne, my mother’s second cousin who was quite a bit older than me.
I have been discreet and loving for the thirty-six conquests I have counted. I don’t consider myself a rogue or a Casanova or a Simenon, the French writer who claimed to have bedded over ten thousand women. I think of myself, as a normal bachelor of a certain age who like Simenon, adores all sizes, shapes and hues of women. I don’t claim to be that prolific but at my age and reflecting on my life I’m glad to be free to chose what makes me happy and hopefully I have made a few women happy, at least for a while.
Right now I am glad I have something to look forward to, my date with the lovely Georgina, “but everyone calls me Georgie.” The first time I saw her I was intrigued by her vitality. Her appearance was unique from head to toe. I recognized those Fleuvogs she wore, shoes that look old fashioned but terribly hip. Most women of her generation wore those awful multicolored tennis shoes with those terrible clumsy white neoprene soles.
Watching her these past few months I noticed that she had quite a few pairs but my favorite were the lavender suede ankle boots. I do love short boots on a woman. Georgina was of medium height built of soft curves and glorious breasts. I couldn’t help notice because she seemed to always wear soft v-neck sweaters, her neck swirling in scarves, like a Parisian grand dame accenting those luscious breasts of hers.
It was easy for me to find out a little about her from the store clerks. I found out she was single and had a thing for expensive chocolate which in my vast experience meant she like to be indulgent and in my humble opinion that particular weakness of hers was an omen of sweetness in a lady.
My opportunity came somewhat easily or should I say I took advantage of her in a nice way. As her back was turned I was able to carefully bump right into her backside as if by accident. Working in the theatrical world for years had given me a certain ease in this world, nothing forced, nothing untoward, no moves that might seem ungentlemanly.
I caught her eyes of surprise at the initial bump and looking surprised, myself backed away as if embarrassed. In the next aisle I gave her a smile and a little bow, and started a little chat. I waited for her to checkout and escorted her from the market. She didn’t resist and I made a suggestion that we should meet for coffee the next afternoon and that I would love give her a tour of the opera before the performance, only if she thought that I wasn’t being too forward.
That was only yesterday. Standing here now in the window of my quaint flat I do hope that our rendezvous will go well. I have everything planned in case she falls for my charming self.
Georgie was on time, as she usually was, and Randy was already inside Café Lladro chatting with the barista who seemed to know him, a good sign.
‘Oh super, here you are as promised,” he said and kissed her on both cheeks. “You look fantastic. Pink suits you. Thanks for meeting me.”
They ordered tea and sat in the window. “I thought I would give you a tour of the backstage after our tea if that’s alright with you.”
“Yes that will be perfect. Here’s a little fact about me. I spent a few years traveling to all of the operas on the West Coast with an old friend of mine.”
“Great, you will be tickled then. We are in between productions right now.”
“ I love the opera or should I say I’ve learned to love the opera. My job was to drive wherever we could, from LA to BC. My friend Mr. Mike was a fanatic. He passed away a few years ago. Old Age. It was wonderful. We would stay at great hotels and eat at fantastic restaurants. My only real job was to drive his big minivan. He could get around with a cane in one hand and me on the other. He was a very sweet man, and he paid me too well for having so much fun.”
As they sat and talked she noticed his slight British accent. He was quite interesting and they seemed to be able to talk and laugh easily like they were already friends.
They walked the three blocks down to the backstage door of the opera house. Randy, greeted by everyone, introduced her, “Meet my great new friend, Georgie.”
His attention towards her made her feel special. He was the best of gentlemen, opening doors, walking at her pace, and paying close attention to everything she said. He was knowledgeable about every aspect of the magic of the theater.
“Hey Georgie, if you don’t think I am too forward, I thought we could go back to my apartment and listen to some music.”
Georgie attempted to think about his offer. It had been a long time since a man had made a fuss over her and she quite liked the attention. She said, “I know I should say that I have an appointment or it’s time for me to go home or some nonsense like that, but to tell you the truth, I’m having too good of a time hanging out with you. I’ll go for a bit and then I must go. Ok?”
When they left the opera house it was raining and Randy hailed a cab to take them the few blocks north to his apartment on West Olympic Place.
“We’ll take the elevator. I live on the top floor.” He opened the door to his cozy apartment, helped her with her coat ushering her in.
“What a great apartment you have Randy, have you lived here a long time?”
He explained his apartment to her and his love of beautiful objects. He turned up the gas fireplace, which provided a soft glow to the room. “I hope you don’t mind a warm room. I just love to be warm especially on a rainy day.”
“Oh I understand completely. That’s just how I feel too.” Georgie sat down on one of the overstuffed chairs that faced the fireplace, unwound her scarf and settled in comfortably tucking her dress around herself.
Randy glanced at her appreciatively. He liked women who wore glasses because they seemed intelligent and sophisticated. He liked her dangling earrings and gold chains too. Plus he liked women whose bodies had substance and her full natural breasts tantalized him. “Would you like some tea, luv? I’ll put the kettle on.”
While the water was warming he sat at the piano. “I’ll play something for you. I picked out a piece by Astor Piazolla called Libertango. I hope you like it. When he finished he said “ I love to play Tangos on a rainy day.”
“Thank you Randy. Yes, I loved your playing. I studied the Tango once upon a time. Piazolla is a particular favorite of mine.”
They discussed the tango over herbal tea happy to find that they actually liked the same things. Georgie said, “All this tea and I think I’d better find your bathroom.”
“Oh, I should have pointed it out earlier. It’s just through the hallway on the left.”
Georgie got out of the chair gracefully and found his neat and tidy bathroom. She liked to snoop in people’s bathrooms anyway. As she was getting ready to leave she noticed three small black and white framed photos on the wall. Looking at them closely she saw what seemed to be a young man with long hair who looked just like Randy with his arm around what looked like three different members of the Rolling Stones. She looked carefully and there was Randy with Mick, Randy with Keith and Randy with Marianne Faithful. The background appeared to be somewhere on the French Riviera. She was pleasantly shocked and curious.
When she returned to the living room he had put on some Bossa Nova. It sounded like Sarah Vaughn, her favorite singer.
“Georgie I do think we should celebrate our friendship with some champagne plus I bought you a little present.”
As she walked past him he took her hand and gave her a twirl, pulled her into him. They danced easily for a few minutes.
“You are such a smooth dancer Randy,” she said as he led her back to her chair.
“Ah but you are very light on your feet and you follow so well.” He opened the bottle of champagne and poured some wine into two beautiful crystal stems.
“This is delicious bubbly Randy.” Georgie giggled as the bubbles tickled her nose.
“And look what else I have for you. I hope I chose the right ones.” He pulled the other chair closer, touching his knees to hers as she opened the brown box of Fran’s chocolate truffles.
“Oh yes, my absolute faves. I’ve got to eat one right now.” She picked one from the box of sixteen and ate it with joy, lightly licking the residue from her fingers. “I just love chocolates, especially bittersweet chocolately goodness and this is so good, so very good with the bubbles.” She jiggled with joy licking her lips.
“That’s good. I’m so glad you’re pleased.” Her pleasure excited Randy immensely. He got up and paced the room.
“Oh no, it’s almost five. I have to check in with Karen. We have a deal in case you might be a serial killer, although I don’t think I have to worry. I’ll text her the AOK.”
Randy sat back in his chair and indicated to Georgie that she should put her feet on his lap, which she did. Her text completed Randy said. “Would you mind if I took off your boots, Georgie? I’m an expert foot magician.”
“Well, I’ve already allowed you to ply me with goodies so I think I might let you but in trade tell me about those photos in the bathroom. Who are you really?”
“Ok, you have a deal Georgie.” Randy started unlacing Georgie’s right boot. They were not to the knee just above the ankle. He peeled off her pink sock exposed her foot and pink painted toenails.
“That does feel good Randy. So tell me where were you born?”
He undressed her left foot and she wiggled her toes and reached over to get her glass of champagne. “I was born in London, my mother was born in London and my father was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He was an early immigrant, a student studying on a scholarship after World War II.”
“Oh that explains your exotic look. I couldn’t quite figure you out.”
Randy sipped some more champagne and poured the rest of the bottle into Georgie’s glass. It was dark outside now but the apartment was glowing softly by the light of the gas fire.
“Your hands feel so warm and soft.” Georgie knew she was getting into trouble now but she felt powerless to resist. His hands were firm and strong but also gentle. He never pressed too hard he knew just what points to press, where to pull and where to push.
“And you Georgie, tell me about yourself. I can’t quite place who you are and where you come from?”
Georgie released her feet from his hands sat up and leaned forward. The champagne had gone to her head and she felt flushed by the heat radiating from the fire and the heat from Randy’s hands. Her hair once nice and tidy pulled into a bun was now loose and when she pulled her hair from its restrictions it fell into a glorious thick mane.
“Well as you can see by my hair I am part Asian, well actually, Hawaiian. My mother is Hawaiian and Japanese and my father is American, well part native part white. I am a true mongrel.”
“Oh that’s why I find you so beautiful, so very beautiful.” Randy’s hands reached up and his fingers pushed her hair back and brushed her breasts very lightly. Georgie didn’t move. She didn’t say a word.
Randy continued to explore the top of her dress. Her traced the outline of her brassiere and unbuttoned the top three buttons exposing pink lace. “Your skin is so beautiful. Are those freckles I seeing this dim light?”
He continued his delicate probing of her dress and under garment tracing the lines of the bra with his fingertips. Georgie closed her eyes and licked her lips and smiled at her new lover. It had been a very long time since she had been touched so deeply. She thought to herself—I’ve got to slow this down a bit. I don’t want him to think I am so easy.
At that moment Randy pulled away from her and said, “I’ll get us some water. I think I’ve a bit too much excitement right now.”
When he got up from the chair Georgie took that moment to go to the bathroom. “Oh my god,” Georgie said to herself in the mirror “My panties are wet. That man is making me hot.”
When she came out of the bathroom, he handed her a nice cold glass of Perrier, which she drank gratefully. He had turned on a light by the sofa and changed the music to Sinatra love songs. She sat on the sofa and he sat right next to her without saying a word.
He put his arm around her and leaned her back. With his right hand free he put his hand into her bra and squeezed her left nipple. Georgie let out a groan and he kept squeezing until her nipple was hard as stone. He didn’t kiss her mouth but kissed her neck softly and gently. He laid her down and then reached her right breast with his left hand.
“Oh Georgie, your breasts are wonderful, such luscious nipples, are just what I like, Oh Georgie, Georgie.”
“Do you want me to take you in my mouth?” She whispered breathlessly, her mouth, already open, her tongue waiting.
“No darling, not now. I want to please you. We’ll have plenty of time, plenty of time.” He lifted up her dress and lay on top of her panties his body fully clothed. She could feel his hard on against her. Like the foot massage he knew just where to put pressure on her and he let her grind against him until her panties were wet and tight against her clitoris, until she couldn’t stop.
“Oh, oh Randy, you’re gonna make me come now.” She shuddered and gasped riding him until she was done. Instead of letting he go he kept the pressure on her until “Oh my god Randy, I’m going to come again.” She howled “Oh, oh, oh.”
He then eased off of her slid down and kissed her thighs. “Before you say anything girl, I want you to know that you have made me so happy today. I don’t want you to think I am going to just have this one date with you. I would be honored if you would have it in your heart to see me again and I hope again and again.”
Georgie pulled herself together, re-gathered her bun, straightened her glasses and buttoned her top. “I don’t know what to say. I hope you won’t think I do this with everyone I just meet.”
“Oh don’t say that. I feel a special bond with you Georgie. I sought you out. I want to know you better, give you more treats and have us become great friends.”
“Ok, but I’d really better get my little trampy butt home now. I have a lot to think about.”
“Then I’ll call you a cab only please promise me that I can take you out on a real date, dinner at a nice restaurant maybe some Tango dancing, I’m a great tango dancer you know, and then I’ll fuck you properly.”
Georgie laughed at this thinking that his proposition sounded like a good idea. She had been too lonely for too long. “It’s a deal then Randy Butler. I still want to know all about you and the Stones.”
“That, my dear, will be a pleasure to share that with you. I have some real treasures from those days. If you ever want to we can go visit any of those guys at any time and hang out. I’ll also confess why you couldn’t find me on line. It’s because I’ve changed my name from those wild rock and roll days. Nothing sinister I assure you, it’s just so I can be a private person. I hope you will understand, my darling girl.”