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The Bathroom Mirror

by Valentine Bonnaire © 2004

Timbo was always trying to protect me from things.  He thought I was an innocent and maybe that's why he never really let on about his coke habit.  We went way back—all the way to high school.  He always brought me his poems for an opinion, and red roses.  I would sit on that wall on the lower field with my best friend and he was so damn cute with all that long blonde hair, but he wasn't Carlitos or Skeeter and unfortunately I liked them better.  He just wasn't dark enough.

Finally we were in college together, at the University of California and I was in the Art Department and he was in Business Economics.  I always asked him, "Why?" He was a poet trying to stuff himself into another reality just to follow in the footsteps of his nonexistent father.  Secretly he studied the Classics on the side and he introduced me to the concept of "hubris."

Not that all this means much now, does it? We traveled in a pretty small circle in those days.  Timbo was enamoured of me because I represented something exotically romantic to him, and for a while we'd be lovers on and off and in and around and between others.  I'd never let him get close, not really close in the way that he wanted.  He hated it when I finally got married.  I think he thought I sold out for a washer and dryer, and some stability, you know? How bourgeois. We'd been poets, once.  Together.

Anyway, there was this one summer.  It was really hot and clear that year and we spent a lot of time going down to Pasadena to visit his best friend Stevie B.

Timbo had a Triumph painted British racing green and we'd head down Pacific Coast Highway laughing with our wild hair mingling in the wind, his all blonde and mine tangly auburn.  The thing about Timbo was that he was too effeminate.  Both he and Stevie still lived with their mothers, and we were in our twenties by then.  It just wasn't copasetic.

Stevie was a bisexual and he was gorgeous.  The three of us made entrances everywhere we went.  Timbo was over six feet and impossibly Nordic.  I was anorexic and a model.  Stevie was, well - a golden West Hollywood boy personified.  I wanted him that summer.  I wanted all his bronze jasper-eyed sorrow.  That might have been the first year AIDS became a threat, because somehow I knew about it, however vaguely.

So there we were driving down the streets of L.  A.  and Timbo would say, "See that?" as he pointed up at a skyscraper. "One day that's going to say Tim's Bank." I never believed him, actually.

Unfortunately his father had founded a chain of restaurants like "Ships" that were popular in the early '60s.  Tim had some big footsteps to follow, but he'd never be able to make it.  He was just too pale and hairless, overall.  I used to think about that when we had sex.  Everything about him was vaguely scented with slightly sour milk.  He even tasted like that.  Milky.  His body was like vanilla pudding—too creamy to be male.

I met his father once in a steakhouse.  He said, "Look at those headlights" when the waitress came to our table.  I never got over that.  Stevie was with us and afterwards he said, "I'm tumbling, I'm tumbling," and he was bouncing off the walls and looking at me with those fierce golden jasper eyes that seemed to know all kinds of things about me before I ever said them out loud and I really wanted to do something with him because of the way that he was staring or something but it would have killed Timbo and so I didn't.

I had this fabulously chic apartment that was a coach house from the turn of the century and this one night, this one night after a long night out on the town we all ended up in my bed by mistake.

We'd been down in what was called "The Montecito Triangle" at the time and in this jazz place called "The Chanticleer" and then across the street to "Nippers" and then to what we called "The Wrinkle Room" or the Bistro where they had a piano bar, making one of our usual entrances and all the heads just snapped.  I could never drink to the level that they did and after two or maybe three I'd be lost somehow and we all had to go home by taxi and home was my place and my bed was there, my Greek Flokati white rug was there and we tumbled into them with the kind of freedom that you have in your mid-twenties that doesn't really ever come back does it?

I remember that night I wanted to fuck both of them.  Stevie and I were so tan up against the milkiness of Timbo and I could have except that Tim was really in love with me then and I knew it and so to do something like that would have crossed a line that would have been undefinable.  But, there was that moment of dead silence when you knew if anyone moved that the next thing was going to be pandemonium or chaos and our bodies would have moved together in unison.  I would have wanted Stevie on top, his long golden tongue pushing into me and his cock and Timbo would have been underneath whispering one of his poems into my ear and they would have filled me, maybe everyplace that was empty at the time and they could have, they could have except that there were rules to follow and Stevie thought that Timbo and I...

But I could feel his cock at my ass, Timbo's pale pink cock going in and out and Stevie's jasper lips moving over me in waves just whispering about the ocean over and over and over and I'd come and come between them just falling and we wouldn't have had to think about our fathers anymore and how they'd done us wrong by disappearing.

Stevie could've said, "I'm tumbling" and Timbo could've whispered about hubris over and over into my ear as they slid penetrating then withdrawing and penetrating over and over and the fact that AIDS was starting wouldn't have mattered.  In those days I wore "Magie Noire" perfume and they could smell me coming and I wanted to, god how I wanted to.  It's just that Timbo was always thinking of me as an innocent and he wanted to marry me and so how could I? How could I say what I really wanted in that moment? It would have killed him.

The next morning we probably had blueberry pancakes or something and tried to make light of what had almost happened and we never spoke of it again.  That's just how it was then, in the '80s, for me at least.  Sometime later one of our closest friends died of AIDS.  Jeffy—he'd fucked everyone and everything.  But then again he was a musician, and none of it seemed to matter.

© 2004 Valentine Bonnaire. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio:  Valentine Bonnaire's work has appeared at The Erotica Readers and Writers Association, Clean Sheets, and Slow Trains Literary Journal under various noms de plume. She is a contributing editor at Clean Sheets magazine, and this year hopes to write "that novel." Visit Valentine at

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