A Slap Heard Round my Mind

For such delicate hands, they stung more than I would have thought when they came across my face with as much velocity as she could muster.  I have never been slapped before, though I am certain that this was not the first time the thought has crossed a woman’s mind or that I may have deserved it.  It was, however, the first time I have respected Staci that much since prior to spending a night in her bed all those months ago.

This was a day to make pillow forts in the living room and not leave the house without exceptional cause – it was cold, rainy and raw, a January mélange that threatened to become the definition of the term meteorologist use when they have no idea what’s going to happen, a wintry mix.  Unwilling to separate my ass from my man chair, I blew-off a friend’s party that I should have attended, before I finally motivated to shower, get dressed and attend another friend’s party later in the evening.  After queuing for ten minutes while clouds spat icy rain drops down my neck, I finally entered the bar that hosted the second party.  I said hello to the Guest of Honor and few mutual friends, before I was able to wiggle into a bar space to procure a beer.

I noticed Staci at the end of the bar but didn’t think that she saw me.  In the time honored tradition of men everywhere, I faced the opposite direction from that moment forward hoping that our paths would not cross.  I stayed for as long as I could take the excessively crowded bar, talking with people I couldn’t hear, and longer than I should have tempted fate.  Goodbyes were said and I made my way to the door.  When I was almost outside I placed my left arm into my top coat causing the natural craning of my head to the right.  That’s when our eyes caught in an “it’s dark in here, did she really see me, just keep moving kind of way.”

I spent the bulk of what was left of the night holding up the bar of one of my normal haunts.  There were friends all around and I moved through various groups having cocktail conversations.  I gave Staci no further thought, until I stepped outside for a smoke and felt a tap on my shoulder.  In the sliver of an instant before she said hello, I somehow knew it was going to be her. 

“You didn’t want to say hello earlier, Refugee? And please don’t insult us both by telling me that you didn’t see me.”

I ignored the later statement as I made a slow turn to face her and simply said “Good evening, Staci” and I know that I used a tone that pronounced and mocked the “I” at the end of her name.  “It’s been a while.”

“A while since you talked your way into my pants, fucked me and never called you mean?”

“That is a charitable version of events, but sure, we can go with that one.”

“What version would you like?”

“Staci, is there any virtue in doing a post requiem on this right now?”

“You know, Refugee, for all your high minded poetry and philosophizing, you are just another asshole who will say anything, do anything to get what you want.”

There are few benefits to smoking, but the extra moment of reflection that a drag on a cigarette provides is among them.

“I’m sorry you feel that way, Staci.”

“That’s it, Refugee; that’s all you got?  Sorry I feel that way as if you not calling was somehow my fault?  And maybe it was, because I should have known that you were full of shit.  You are nothing but a snake-oil salesman.”

Her voice had raised an angry octave since we began speaking.  I am glad that this wasn’t a poker game because I know all of my “tells” were on display.  I could feel the vain in my right temple surging, my right hand involuntarily clenching, and my jaw tightening.  Deep breath, stay calm.

“Staci, we have differing recollections of events, and maybe I should have talked to you about it afterwards.  Either way, we are not going to reconcile those recollections tonight.”

“Just tell me why I didn’t get a phone call.  Don’t you think you owed me that?”

“We talked one night; I was in a vulnerable place we had a little too much booze and ended the night at your place.  The whole time we were doing that dance, for all the time we have flirted around and at each other, you represented yourself as single.  When we spent the night together I didn’t expect to wake and see men’s shoes next to your bed that weren’t mine.  I didn’t expect to see the same brand of razor that I use sitting on your sink; and I damn sure didn’t expect to see pictures of you and your man on your fridge.  I don’t want to be anyone’s man on the side, and definitely don’t want to be that guy without at least knowing that I was gonna be that guy.  I never called because I didn’t owe you a call and you didn’t deserve one.”

I knew then as I know now that my inflection on the word “you” gave it an alternate meaning; and I could see in Staci’s eye that she heard it with all of the dismissive venom I had intended it. 

The feeling of her ring against my cheek lasted longer than the feel of her hand which had shriveled in the night air.  I’ve never been slapped before. Not sure I deserved it this time; but as I watched her walk away I thought “glad we weren’t inside so she could have poured a drink in my face.”


16 Responses to A Slap Heard Round my Mind

  1. I-66 says:

    Anyone who cheats on someone with someone else should not be getting indignant about not having received a phone call, especially after having been exposed. That she didn’t argue against you is telling.

    Her indignation stemmed more from the long, albeit shallow, history between us.

  2. f.B says:

    “I faced the opposite direction from that moment forward…”

    I know that move. Time-honored, indeed.

    And I agree, the indignation seems a little misplaced. But what do I know? Maybe that was her razor, shoes she wore as part of a Halloween costume, and her cousin in the photo on the fridge.

    I understand her indignation, and perhaps had I told this story a little better you might too. It was… complicated.

  3. J says:

    I enjoy reading your blog and this is the first I have commented. I have developed a lot of respect for you from your admittance of mistakes made and your outlook on life. However, in this case, I am disappointed. If you cared for her, a discussion was required. If you did not, a venom filled accusation would never have occurred. That said, a smack is issued when someone is unable to respond verbally, for which she should be ashamed of her lack of physical control. It sounds like everyone behaved badly at both instances.
    While romance and mystery is wonderful and required, the ability to discuss issues is a necessity before further complicating the relationship sexually, especially when considering how drunk or emotional the participants may be.

    J, thank you for reading and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Liebchen says:

    I always like your writing, but there’s something about this post that’s especially striking. Like I’ve been there – or been around this situation. I don’t know that that’s a good thing.

    (I’ve also done that facing the opposite direction thing more times than I’d care to admit.)

    Thank you, and I think that we have all been around the first part of the situation – avoiding someone in a bar.

  5. First, I really enjoyed reading this. The fact that you got slapped to muster up such a post is on the sucky side of things, but you’re a great story teller.

    And I can’t believe she slapped you. Stupid bitch.

    I have to admit that there is a part of me that is really glad to have the experience. I think that some parts of society where more civilized in the time when a man knew being slapped by a woman marked him as a cad and ascribed virtue to the woman.

  6. tutugirl1345 says:

    I love the way you wrote that. You should’ve slapped her back.

    Short of a persistent threat of grievous harm there is almost nothing a woman could do to me that would lead me to raise my hand to her.

  7. Fearless says:

    This post was definitely worth the wait.

    Thank you, and thank you for sparking me to finally write it.

  8. awww damn… and i wanted to be your first..

    but you know I would like it, that doesn’t count.

  9. Sara says:

    Very little in life hurts more than realizing you have made a mistake, are in the wrong or are leading a life you are unhappy with. It sounds like the slap hurt her more than it could have ever hurt you. In a way, I feel sorry for her.

    In that same vain, my words hurt me more than her, and more than her slap.

  10. Lemmonex says:

    You so had that coming, dear.

    I never denied that I at least suspected that I did; but, Mama, I [depended] on you to tell me the truth*

    * first drink’s on me for the first person who can name that tune, without the aid of google.

  11. Lisa says:

    That was just brutal all around. What a dreadful situation to wake up in and then to have to rehash. And how difficult to be her. Not to suggest that you’re not special, but I wonder if she’s slapped a number of men?

    I am sure I am not that special, but not sure if this is her standard modus operandi.

  12. I-66 says:

    And when he diiiiiied, all he left us was alone…

    I look forward to buying you a beer sometime…
    Papa was a Rolling Stone was in fact the song reference.

  13. KassyK says:

    Oh no, I-66 beat me. Papa was a rolling stone!

    Yes, but there will be other times for you to demonstrate your superior skill at naming obscure musical references.

  14. ella says:

    i think the slap says more about her than it does you. i wonder if she had an “oh shit” moment after you left, you know – the one when she discovered that her man’s shoes and stuff was laying around and it was killing her to know if you had seen them or not.

    I have no idea what went through her head that morning, and now that I have written this post I am starting to rethink my role in things. At first light, there was anger and embarrassment for me, but how much of that did I use as an excuse not to call – not sure. At some point, I am sure that it just became too late to call.

  15. brookem says:

    warrented or not, i just don’t think i could ever be the type of woman to deliver a swift slap to a man. it’s just not me.

    I think that is a product of the culture of two generations past – or at least that is what old television shows and movies suggest.

  16. Meg says:

    HI RR, just wanted to say thanks for the link-love over at DC Blogs today. I tried to leave a comment there but the message said I had to be logged in. That happened once before over there. Buggy.

    Anyway… love your blog! Thanks again.

    Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food

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