By Patrick Alcatraz
Brownsville, Texas - Those who study such things say men can see something interesting in just about every woman, whether a salsa smile coming from behind the counter of a taco stand, a fleeting glimpse at a friendly leg inside a beaten bar, or a fine-sloping back carrying some semi-attractive woman across the international bridge - one of those utilitarian backs quick to allow for concentration on the essence of a meaningless sexual encounter. It is something to behold. I reel at my times here all those years ago, when my border adventures included a few flawed beauties willing to fall for Rome. This is not to say that they will go under-appreciated on my ledger; it just means that I can expect notes of gratitude from the Holy See in my book upstairs.
Ruth was her name and she worked downtown, answering phones and filing paperwork. I was the guy who moseyed in pretty much every day, looking for morsels of news to pass on to the crippled, under-achieving local masses. My job at the newspaper kept me busy, but there were free moments for the rest of life's booty. Much of what happened during those months rests at the bottom of a suitcase-load of dusty, yellowing papers and news clippings. Was it worth it? I used to wonder about it, because it all ended up costing me my marriage and the love of a woman who, I think, did love me. Ruth came and went, followed by some other fanciful sweetheart out for a good time. That one lasted a roll or two or three, maybe four. It was easy to be stupid back then, much easier than it is now. Perhaps it was the music of the times. Maybe it was just me being stupid. Or it could have been me being stupid in a herd of stupid people. This town can - and will - drag you down to the gutter in a jiffy, as they say in peanut butter.
Ruth would come to my apartment and stroll into my bedroom, ask about the bed-sized flag draped across the mattress, and then proceed to undress, the flower-draped nylon dress floating down to the ugly, shag carpeting. It was noon and a quickie was all we had at hand. In the more-physical evening romps, we would end things with a cup of coffee in bed. I always wondered what women think when they go back to the office after being laid for lunch. Do they answer the phone while lipping sperm off the sides of their mouths? Do they think about the thrusting while jamming paperwork into the files in the file cabinet? They should come clean.
Still, Ruth was a strong chick. I say strong, meaning it in a sort of "spirit" way. She only cried once, and that was at the end of things when she told me she would be marrying a guy from Matamoros and I said something about that likely being the best thing for her. When I'd see her in her office after that, she would smile and shoot a soulful look at me, the all-too-human message easily understood. To her great credit, she never fucked me after telling me she would be marrying. I drifted off to some other woman down the hall, corkscrewing later to one working on the second floor.
And then the emotional wars ended. Things were shakin' in my life. Packing came with the knowledge that someone else would take my place in town. One fine morning, my black Scirocco roared out of town, gears and tires in a scream and my window to Brownsville closing by the second behind me. They also say you can never say goodbye to a woman you've known intimately. I dunno, I dunno...
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