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Sopping Smooches

Sopping Smooches

A Story by barleygirl
"

continuation of my poem: Stormy Tickles

"

Waaaay back when my bipolar was undiagnosed, I just figured I must be a pathological nymphomaniac. Every man who intrigued me in the slightest was likely to be seduced eventually. Am I allowed to admit this, now that we’re hip-deep in the “Me, Too” era? Maybe I should start using a pseudonym when I write about my exploitative escapades . . .

Since I was bestowed with decent looks and other physical advantages, my seductions were usually successful, if somewhat reluctant at times . . . imagine that, back when the cultural anthem was Stephen Stills singing: “if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

Maybe you’re familiar with the cliff this story is headed toward.

Surely you know there’s always that one especially regrettable seduction, but being horny and headstrong, of course one crosses that red line with gusto. For me, Tommy has always been that lifelong regret. After being steadfast best friends for four years, I was too stoned and stupid to just leave it at that. But let’s start where things started.

In my late twenties I worked in an engineering/manufacturing shop that designed, built, and installed air conveyors to gently carry tipsy empty aluminum beverage cans. (Incidentally, yesterday I read the industry will be abandoning aluminum beverage cans soon). Our systems were installed in factories that made empty cans or filled them. I was documentation manager over an AutoCAD crew of some twenty young designers, focused on standardization so every system didn’t end up looking like a patchwork of different design styles.

In my experience, mechanically-inclined men loathe having to subordinate their inventiveness, seeking brilliance at every turn. It was my job to make sure they just built a standard air conveyor to fit in the slot it was designed to occupy.

At some point, a mechanical engineer named Tommy was hired fresh out of UC Berkeley. He was tall and goofy-looking, truly the quintessential nerd. Uneasy about being tall, his shoulders drooped causing his chest to cave in. I didn’t put this one on my seduction list. Since we occupied adjacent cubicles, with our expansive old-fashioned wooden drafting tables head-to-head, we ended up best friends after four years of co-managing projects.

The main thing we did together, outside of work: high-mileage bicycle rides. We logged hundreds of miles up and down the state of California. We did dozens of rides along various sections of the scenic coast. We crisscrossed the Great Central Valley and we took camping trips in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Being in his first high-paying job, fresh out of college, Tommy bought a $4000 bike that seemed to flash by like liquid lightning. Also, his legs were a foot longer than mine. It felt like an unfair match-up, but there couldn’t have been a better biking comrade than Tommy. Riding his bike, his awkward lanky body transformed. He melded into his machine, leaning into high-speed curves like a powerful dancer.

We did at least a couple rides a week, always spontaneous, without a plan. We’d throw a few things together for a roadside picnic and hit some country road, always picking a different direction to discover. We had stretches where we exhilarated in going as fast as we could, but we were both ready to stop on a dime and lollygag when exploration beckoned. I remember seeing an old rusted military tank on the side of the road. We stopped and crawled all over it and in it, pretending outlandish scenarios of play and imagination.

This is essential in an athletic partner. It’s no fun to be with a competitive jerk who can’t stop and mess around without checking his watch.

Every decent job I ever had in my life was destined for a buy-out that would end up with me unemployed. This time, our company was bought out by an Ohio firm. I was one of a dozen Californians invited to move to Ohio with the new company. At a time in life when I was recklessly game for anything, how could I refuse an expense-paid move across the country? I never lived anywhere but California.

I didn’t realize it until I lived through a soggy Ohio spring and a muggy Ohio summer . . . but this wasn’t my idea of paradise. So I broke my one-year contract, sold everything and rode my bicycle back to California alone. My problem-solving skills were a little outlandish and crude back in those days.

My sister gave me an iconic bumper sticker for my bike: California Girl.

No doubt, this was a wild and tumultuous time in my life. If I live long enough, I might try to write about the whole gut-wrenching era. I’m not that brave yet. And this current story is about the demise of my friendship with Tommy.

After riding my bike two-thousand miles, I met up with Tommy in Colorado. He brought his lightning ride so we could hit the Rocky Mountains together. After having my crotch pummeled by a bike saddle eight-hours-a-day for two months, I wasn’t thinking about how this might lead to a romp in the sack.

At some point Trisha Yearwood came on the truck radio as we were tooling around the Rockies: The Song Remembers When. Even thirty years beyond, I’m still transported to these times with Tommy when I hear that song.

We ended up in Durango eventually, where a huge mountain-biking festival dominated the area. We headed for the festival because it sounded like a fun idea, but it was too crowded for us. We hit the hills in his four-wheel-drive. I remember traversing narrow, barely-there trails and almost getting stuck a few times. We slid down a steep slope sideways as Tommy wrangled the useless steering wheel. In time we came upon a long-deserted mining town. We both had a nerdy mechanical streak and our explorations were sublime, narrating imagined scenarios of this mining operation in its heyday.

This being late September, afternoon heating incited tumultuous uplifting clouds and warm downpours. There was this one kiss in particular. We were drenched and standing face-to-face. Tommy hunched his shoulders over me protectively like a human umbrella, but rivulets of rain washed over our tanned faces and bare shoulders. At that point in our friendship, we weren’t inclined to get all kissy-face. That’s why it surprised me when Tommy overcame his shyness and landed a big ole sloppy one on me.

The sensation of being showered with sopping smooches was startling. I’ve never tried the drug “ecstasy” but I’ve heard it heightens your sensory perceptions and that’s exactly what this kissing session felt like. We became groveling pigs reveling in a long stretch of splashing, snortling sensations. I’ll never forget that kissing.

Should I end the story here? Or do I have to explain the demise?

It’s humiliating to admit how stupid I was. I was thirty-two and Tommy was twenty-eight. After we checked into a quaint mountain cottage together, Tommy called his parents and lied. I couldn’t believe it. I was unreasonably convinced that he should be more mature than that. He couldn’t tell his parents he was staying in the Rocky Mountains with a woman?

I kinda took it personally. Incredulous, I hatched an evil plan.

Previously I’d taken a photo of Tommy standing on a Pacific Ocean overlook in the Big Sur wilderness. He pulled down his jeans to show me he was wearing the red-hot chili-pepper boxers I’d given to him. He looked awkward and adorable with his britches around his knees, so I snapped the picture without delay. A sparkling expanse of ocean spilled to the far late-afternoon horizon.

I sent this photo to Tommy’s parents with the ironic intent to introduce them to the son that they might not realize is a fun jokester, not a saint. I told myself this was done with good intentions, but deep down inside, I knew I was being a b***h. This was the end of our friendship. I had dared to dabble in the twisted familial relationships that tortured him more deeply than I realized (in some ways, worse than my own childhood hangups).

Let it suffice to say I’ve been blessed with a number of male best friends since this time. I did learn from this regrettable mistake. A best friend is always worth so much more than a hip-bouncing pounce of passion.

© 2019 barleygirl


Author's Note

barleygirl
This explains my reference to "Durango" (Colorado) in the poem "Stormy Tickles" . . . photo is of Tommy & me around this time.

My Review

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Featured Review

ah, the California Girl. interesting romp back in time. you tell it in a matter-of-fact manner but can tell that it's not. an important occurrence from your life i believe. you relate it affectionately and very realistically. a case of kiss and tell. can't help but wonder what ever happened to him? ... :)

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I love what you're saying & thank you for your honest observations. Even tho there's a bunch of raw .. read more



Reviews

I read this story ( incomplete) last night I couldn't post my thoughts because our internet was gone( again) and I was left with beautiful young Margie bicycling in my thoughts. I believe you did Tommy a favor, even though it didn't seem that way then or even now... every time the whole incident enters your mind . If you hadn't posted that picture of Tommy to his parents, it would have been very difficult to end that relationship and you opened the eyes of clingy parents as well, they had no idea how to treat a grown up son. When you write and publish all these stories, you must have a separate book of your cycling experiences. That would encourage more to see and experience that beautiful country. As always a brilliant and beautiful writing leaves your readers wanting more . Uma grande beijo.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Being bipolar, I was very hyper & I packed much living into my life (I barely sleep). There are so m.. read more
I loved going along with you on this iconic bicycle odyssey that was a watershed moment in your life ((Margie))! You describe those glory days so well and memorably. Your life story is so fascinating, so free and fierce, filled with highs and lows- bicycle trips are a perfect metaphor for it. Your landscape and imagery just keep me fascinated- like the sun shining on me as I read through. And that photo of you and Tommy is so poignant. You look so beautiful and happy. Every line and paragraph flow connectedly and seamlessly. Your earthy sense of humor and honesty shine through it all- “Maybe you’re familiar with the cliff...” the single line paragraphs are brilliant. You made mistakes (Who didn’t?!), you lived, you learned, you teach us. Loved this! It’s Tommy’s great, great loss....

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Tommy had fled from my mind in recent years, but writing this brought things back for me. It makes m.. read more
Annette Pisano-Higley

4 Months Ago

You’re not going to believe this Margie, but I have one like this in my past- same name too!!-Whaa.. read more
barleygirl

4 Months Ago

I had a number of bad "Tom's" . . . I actually have an aversion to any guy I meet named Tom! *smile*.. read more
I myself have bipolar disorder as well. Never been in a relationship, and romance isn't my thing, but I enjoyed reading the story for what it was. If you ever made a book that goes a bit like this short story, I'd buy a copy for sure.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

4 Months Ago

Thank you for sharing & I'm buoyed by your last remark! Due to a brain/neck injury, my memory & abil.. read more
How enjoyable it is to read this. Whereas I was too inclined to attach myself to women, you exercised great caution. It is what it is, you were the only person you could have been, and you lived some glorious times during those chapters in your life. Hopefully, Tommy is no longer angry and just looks back and laughs. The $4000.00 bike reminded me of one of my navy buddies who got his driver's license taken away for hot rodding on base. Next day, he bought the fastest, raciest bike he could find.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I've been at the cafe 3 years now & I'm finally feeling the love so strongly that I can open up abou.. read more
Ahhhh Durango...that part of the country is magical. I lived in Grand Junction as a child and western slope of Colorado is beautiful. The friend sex thing is one thing, but the bigger picture about the pic you sent them brings this piece to a whole new level. It is difficult to know what lays in those tortured minds and hearts and what he may have gone through growing up. There are things I have yet to write that I would not write with my dad still living, now that he passed, I am still hesitant. Awkward and so very real, this piece is perfect and honest and that's what makes reading yo a little ray of sunshine every single time. Great job Margie!

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

It's always great to have you stop by & read me, but this review really touches me, big time. Tommy .. read more
Regrets. I've had a few.. but then again, too few to write home about.. you make several very interesting points here my friend and as always, your self disclosures will go no further... my lips are sealed except to say that some one once took a pic of me similarly unattired and sent it to an ex..... N :)

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I usually don't post these on FB, but this one I did, becuz I do not care what people think of this .. read more
Neville Pettitt

5 Months Ago

You ma'am are a lady & I'll have the eyes of any man that might suggest otherwise :)
By the time a person has gone through much of life, it is quite unusual to not have done something regrettable
They most often turn into, just move ons.
I have done some bike riding and the thing about this story that impresses me is your cross country ride

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I have 200 hand-written pages of my bike sojourn, yet to be transcribed into a proper story. I think.. read more
john l smith

5 Months Ago

A lotta pedalin 2 do
sorry
what I find ironic in your life's experiences Margie, is not so much the regret (though we all have them) but what we are able to say and communicate now, we were unable to do way back then.... when we are young we haven't learned yet the value of friendship and how it is key to even the best soggy smooches... it is often not what we know in a friendship, but what we don't know that is the source of our regrets, our misdeeds, and downfalls...

yes there was a more open sexual awareness, especially for women back then and this was a good thing, but the emotional ties behind this were still (and are still today) under the influences of a male dominated social system and society.... women, consciously or unconsciously demanding equality in every aspect, including sexuality and sexual relationship.... a wham bam thank you ma'am applied to women still left out the connection between people.... friendship I think means more than knowing what some one likes and shares, but also knowing what is feared and kept hidden... are we able to open up to a friendship and share everything or do we keep things closed and hidden???? even when the sex is good there is still a question of what kind of relationship do we have??? friendship that has meaning can and should last a lifetime, whether sex is involved or not... This is not the same thing as a marriage or permanent togetherness... but both are personal as well as social... it is very difficult in a social setting of look out for number one (self) and conquest, it is very difficult to have such friendships and sexual encounters, that are equal, and mutually supportive and caring..

Probably went way beyond with my comment Margie, it is now meant as critique in any way, just my sharing some thoughts I have learned from my regrets in the relationships I have had...



Posted 5 Months Ago


redzone

5 Months Ago

a ps here: you do write and share parts of your life with us Margie... you pull us into your life i.. read more
barleygirl

5 Months Ago

I understand what you're showing me here. You had a fulsome response to my story, sharing so many of.. read more
redzone

5 Months Ago

you always share the you of you Margie and that is something that makes you and your writing so enjo.. read more
well your seduction in write is still going strong Dear Barley Girl! I am a sharer of similar bittersweet regrets stemming from my neurologically questionable soup as well...from a time of not fully understanding. when we get a yellow paint jar labeled blue how are we to know that is yellow? somewhere down the lines we discover it but the mistakes are already made... and the regrets still linger! Then you right in write and hug the world with your words. I enjoyed this bike ride

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

5 Months Ago

After my howling winter hiatus, I felt that I was better able to pour myself into this one, like my .. read more

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Added on March 20, 2019
Last Updated on March 20, 2019

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barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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