From Page 90:
Next stop is Bella’s to give Julie our paperwork. She takes it and begins her spiel*. “We have a full house of girls and the pipefitters are in town till March. They come in at all hours, day and night. What name did you decide to use while you’re here?”
“Do you have any problem with just using my own name?”
“I’d prefer you use a fake name. Some guys get attached. You don’t need a stalker.” She takes an envelope off a shelf and hands it to me. Inside are photos. She hands it to me. “This girl went out on a date and he took her out to the desert and nearly beat her to death before he left her there for dead.” A storm begins to brew on her face and her voice cracks. “The bastard came here with the plan to hurt her. It took us two hours to find her.” The pictures don’t show the girl. One is bruises. Another a black eye. Then a busted lip. I scan them and hand them to Richard. Julie breathes as if fighting for self control. She looks at me. “I’ll not abide* anyone hurting my girls! We cut all outdates to only men we know and I take everything up to their first-born as security.”
I won’t be dating off premise but I take her advice. “I’ll go by Trinity.” Next is the City License I’ll get when my exam results come in. Then I’ll be a ‘working girl’.
The room has only two drawers so I use a suitcase to store my work clothes. Richard is sorting out the food from the cooler to the refrigerator. The cats are slinking around on an expedition into new territory, sniffing and pawing all the new furniture and fixtures.
I think about the last driving day. Fans of light beamed down between the layers of clouds. And then, the universe turned white. I couldn’t help but be moved by the glittering beauty of the snow even in the midst of navigating its dangers. It was a surreal* white vastness. All points of reference* had disappeared. There was not even a hint of the horizon point. Our only point of reference was ourselves. There were no other colors or shadows. No contrasts. The endless purity erased perception of space or place. This scene with the whole world as one tabula rasa was the point when my energy began to return. I realize now, that at Bella’s, even though it was hectic and confusing and I was self-conscious, it felt good. The energy was in tune with my own. As long as I have myself as a point of reference, I won’t get lost.
Day one and Julie is off. I’m greeted by a woman around sixty years old, gaunt*, with long bangs, and brown hair blunt cut at her shoulders. She has the look and the husky voice of a woman who has smoked a lot of smoke and drunk a lot of Jack*. She scoops up her puppy, a fawn colored mini-mutt named “Honey”.
spiel - to talk or say (something) at length
abide - put up with; tolerate
surreal - an oddly dreamlike quality.
point of reference - an indicator that orients you & reveals boundaries
gaunt - Thin and bony; angular. emaciated & haggard; drawn.
Jack – “Jack Daniels Whiskey”- a reference to her alcoholism & obvious hard living.
From Page 186:
Observing in concrete terms how others ‘value’ what I bring has also changed Richard, too. He’s learning something about my worth and has lost interest in random encounters where the guy only has an erection to offer. Don't get me wrong - he still gets excited about mixing things up sometimes & part of our deal is that we offer mutual respect & nonjudgement regarding each other’s turn-ons. It's just that as my gumption* grows, his desires evolve.
Some of this is related to the stage in your life*. It would be cool, though, if you didn't have to be as latent* as I was - & bust through some of your internal barriers sooner than I did mine... It’s no use trying to repress* who you are. It won’t work anyway. If you’re sexual, rather than trying to excise* that from your life, find a way to express your sexuality in a way that works for you. Swinging is one alternative lifestyle but it’s not the only one. Prostitution is working for me but I’m not saying it would be right for you. The breakthroughs of asserting yourself, assigning value to what you have
to offer, figuring out what it is YOU want and growing the spine* to claim it as well as understanding your own role and responsibility in your sexual SELF-affirmation – those things can be done in many settings. There's so much joy & uncomplicated fun available if we can only screw up the nerve* to claim it. Decide what you want for yourself - formally - on paper. Decide "I want my life to be like this" "This is the person I want to be" & list what YOU have to DO to make it happen - including telling Aaron what you need from him so you can move yourself to the next level. ‘Just Do IT’. That's how you begin.
As he leaves the squeaky clean bar, Richard comments, “We need to start packing. I don’t want us to have to rush tomorrow when we go to pick up the rental car.
gumption - boldness of enterprise; initiative or aggressiveness; guts; spunk; common sense
stage of life – (20’s - 40’s) “Intimacy v. Isolation” in this stage, men & women must learn to be intimate (physically & emotionally) w/another adult. Erikson felt we must resolve earlier developmental issues in order to become intimate. To form an intimate relationship, lovers must be trusting, autonomous, capable of initiative, & understand themselves. Failure at intimacy brings a painful sense of loneliness & isolation.
latent - in existence but not active or manifest; inactive potential; it’s there but it’s dormant
repress – To put down by force; quell; To exclude from the conscious mind; To hold back
excise - remove by or as if by cutting
spine – (aka backbone) the capacity to form strong ideals & the strength to stand up for yourself
screw up the nerve – being able to face danger & fear with self-possession, confidence, & bravery.