SAPPHO 2_ Édouard-Henri_Avril_(24)


        Listen to me well, there, Horatio, ol’ pal, while you dream of things in heaven and on earth, do you want to know how fucked-up I am?

        The girl I love, my soul mate, yes, I said it: my soul mate, laugh all you want (I used to), she’s gay.

        So, OK, I’m a student at CSU Fullerton, a Botany Major, and I’m waiting outside my Introduction to Shakespeare class, first day, when here she comes down the hallway.  She’s wearing a snug cashmere sweater and a short skirt.  She’s got long hair, long arms, long legs, and she’s beautiful.  She has a pointed nose, a pointed chin, and her facial features are all sharp and defined.

        “Like facets,” I’m thinking as I imagine how I would sketch her face.

        She walks right on up to me and asks, “Shakespeare?”

        I pinch the corner of my eyeglasses, lifting them and settling them back onto my nose, and I say, “Yes.  Professor’s late, I guess.”

        She says, “I’m Sapphire,” and she seems to pause expecting a predictable reaction.

        I say, “Hey, Sapphire, I’m Aaron.  Sapphire: what a great name.”

        Sapphire says, “For a stripper, right?”

        It is too perfect.  I have a dollar folded in my shirt pocket and I withdraw it and hold it toward her, asking, “Are you a stripper?”

        Sapphire laughs and asks, “Only a dollar?”

        Then I am a little embarrassed at my sudden boldness and I put the dollar back into my shirt pocket and I say the only thing I can think, “I’m a Botany Major.”

        Sapphire asks, “So, are you planning on working for one of the new marijuana companies?”

        I grin and say, “Yeah.  Quality Control.”

        Sapphire smiles and sticks out her hand and says, “Pleased to meet you, then, I’m a Marketing Major.  You don’t forget friends, do you?”

        I do not hesitate to grasp her hand.  I think to myself, “Friends?” and then I hover in my mind above myself and sketch this situation: a gorgeous girl that I have just met is actually talking to me first, and she is being right up-front with me and then she is letting me touch her?

        Then Sapphire asks enthusiastically, “Hey, have you seen that new movie Gravity?”

        I reply, “No, not yet.  I thought it was just going to be all special effects and no story.”

        Sapphire closes her eyes and says, “O-o-oh, it is not,” then those lovely eyes pop open and she says, “Yeah, it does have great special effects.  See it in 3-D, for sure.  But the story is so up-close and personal.  It is about survival.  You think you are right there.  It is intense!”

        It was all like the way I’m talking to you right now.  Like two good friends.  I was saying, “Really.  I was wondering why George Clooney would take second billing in a movie.  I thought maybe he bankrolled it.”

        Sapphire said, “I don’t think so.  Anyway, I don’t want to spoil anything, so go see it for sure.”

        The whole situation was up-close and personal.  It was like an out-of-body experience for me by then.  I look like that actor from the ‘50’s, Wally Cox, and there I was chit-chatting with this total babe who was in the Megan Fox league.  I couldn’t quite assimilate it, but it was easy to talk to her.

        Other people were showing up and waiting for the class.  I saw people flashing glances at Sapphire, of course, and then looking quizzically at me talking with her.  A real Odd Couple.  The Professor finally showed up and we went in and found seats.  Sapphire deliberately sat right in front of me and turned and smiled and said, “Let me know how you like Gravity.”

        The Professor called her name for the roll, “Sapphire Curry?”

        What a perfect name.  She was Hollywood-ready.

        The Professor called my name for the roll, “Aaron Bender?”

        I might as well have been a banker with my looks and my name.

        The next time class met, Sapphire and me were early again and I talked to her about movies in general.  I spend a lot of time at theaters on a weekday night so that I might have the entire theater to myself.  Turns out she liked action movies as much as I did.  She was such a gorgeous tom-boy.

        I was saying, “I haven’t seen Gravity, yet, but I’m going to make time this week.”

        But Sapphire seemed a little preoccupied so I asked her, “Everything ok?” and she replied, “Oh, yeah.  I just misplaced my keys this morning and I’m trying to think where I could have left them.”

        I went for it, swallowing a rock in my throat and asking, “Hey, Sapphire.  You want to, to go to a movie, or something, some time?”

        Sapphire gave me a pained smile and replied, “Oh, Aaron.  I’m, I’m seeing someone.”

        I held myself together and said breezily, “I hope you know that you have ruined my day completely,” and I returned an embarrassed smile.

        Sapphire at least lowered her eyes demurely and smiled appreciatively.

        Well, of course.  There it was.  Nice try, Aaron.  The world made sense again.  Oh, boy, what a fucking relief.

        Sapphire didn’t just abandon me, apparently, and she said sweetly, “I saw Runner Runner.  I hate to say it, but Justin Timberlake was good.”

        I gave her a mock look of incredulity and I said, “I’ll have to see it, now,” and then I made a sad puppy-dog face at her and I added, “Alone.”

        For some reason I didn’t feel demolished by this strike-out.  I still felt that I was in the game; still felt like we were sharing…something, I don’t know what.  Anyway, call it a delusion; I didn’t think that there was “no chance”.

        When the class ended I was walking out beside her, not saying anything, but still with a gooshy warm feeling, some kind of emotional connection, as we stepped into the busy hallway.

        Suddenly there was this other beautiful girl who came right up beside Sapphire and arrested her momentum.

        This beautiful girl said to Sapphire, “I found your keys,” and she handed them to Sapphire.

        Sapphire said, “Oh, Chloe, thank God.  Where were they?”

        Chloe smiled and said, “I found them between the couch cushions.”

        Then Chloe kissed Sapphire full on the mouth and said, “OK, gotta go.  See you tonight.”

        Sapphire smiled and then glanced at me and she turned and walked away down the hall muttering to me, “Later,” without turning around.

        Oh, my God.  My stomach fell.  I just stood there in the middle of the hallway, being jostled.

        The next class I got there early again.  Sapphire was coming down the hall.  Even at a distance I was looking into the sparkle of her eyes.  She stood before me and said, “Hey.”

        I said casually, “Hey.”

        I forced a smile.  She hadn’t committed a crime, I reasoned.  Then the self-pity voice in my head just had to say, “Except stealing your heart for the fun of it,” and I argued with the little wimp, “Fuck you, how is this her fault?”

        Sapphire said softly, “Want to talk about it?”

        I said, “Hey, it’s OK.  You don’t have to say anything.”

        Sapphire said, “I like you, Aaron.  I wasn’t trying to hide anything.  Well, I guess when I said I was ‘seeing someone’ I was being…”

        I said, “Hey, no, no.  It’s OK, really,” then I grinned and shook my head, “It just figures.  Would it help if I wore a dress?”

        Sapphire laughed.

        I said cheerily, “Hey, I finally saw Gravity.”

        Then we talked about it until everyone else showed up and we went into the classroom.

        I had to laugh at myself for thinking the classic, “Too bad she’s gay.”

        Yeah, too fucking goddam bad for me.

        Next class Sapphire wasn’t there.

        I couldn’t stop thinking about her and for the next two classes she was AWOL.  Me?  I was Absent With Out a Lesbian, I thought bitterly, chastising myself for not letting go.

        When she finally showed up for the class again, she was late and she didn’t look at me but I saw she had been crying.  Can I tell you how that made me ache?

        I followed her out of class and, striding beside her, I said, “Sapphire, what’s wrong?”

        Sapphire said with a quivering lip, “I don’t want to talk about it,” but then she said after a moment, “Chloe and I had a terrible… a terrible fight,” and she grimaced as she fought to restrain bursting into tears.

        I said, like I was trying to put out a fire, “Hey, c’mon, that happens to every…couple.”

        Sapphire said, “She was cheating on me.”

        I could only say, “Oh, shit.  I am sorry, Sapphire.  Do you want to talk about it?”

        Sapphire tried to smile and she said to me, “No, thank you Aaron, but, but no,” and then she hustled away from me.

        That night I lost my job.  I was working nights at a sheet metal fabricator.  It was good money but it was extremely boring standing in front of a press all night.  I was almost relieved to be let-go, because I was living on four hours sleep a night.  But now I would use up my savings really fast paying rent.

        Next class I was early as usual and I was really happy just to see Sapphire approaching.  But she looked drained and depressed.  It was exacerbated because she was so beautiful.  It wasn’t right.

        I said, “Hey.”

        Sapphire sighed, “Hey, Aaron.”

        I asked, “How’s it going?”

        Sapphire shrugged and said, almost crying again, “It is over.”

        I said, “Oh, shit.  I am so sorry, Sapphire, really.”

        Sapphire said, “Now I have to find an apartment,” and she shook her head.

        I felt a burst of cold adrenaline in my chest and I just blurted, “Sapphire, I just lost my job and I could use a roommate.  Just for a while.  Until I find another job.  You are more than welcome…”

        Sapphire looked at me and started to say, “Aaron, I don’t think…”

        I interrupted, “Just roommates, Sapphire.  I’m not stupid,” then I joked, “Well…”

        Sapphire snorted a laugh and then covered her mouth and squeezed an urge to cry.

        I said, “Think about it.  You’d be helping me.  We wouldn’t be the worst roommates ever, right?  I’m gone a lot.  I have a great DVD collection!  I won’t have any problem with, with…”

        Sapphire said, “My being left-handed?”

        I grinned and said, “Yeah.”

        Sapphire said, “I really don’t know, Aaron.  It would be weird.  I don’t think you realize…”

        I said, “I realize that we are friends.”

        Where did that come from?  It was brilliant and sincere.  I guess it was true.  We were friends.  There it was.

        Sapphire said softly, “Thank you, Aaron.  I’ll think about it.  I will.”

        A week later she moved into my apartment.  The only problem was: I knew I loved her.

        Remember what you had said?  “You’d be in love with her even if she ate small children.  This is every guy’s fantasy!  She’ll be making out with her dates right in your living room.”  Well, that sure wasn’t my fantasy.

        Remember you had warned me?  “Don’t try to keep her like some kind of pet.”

        I had protested, “We are friends.  We’re just helping each other through a situation.”

        Sapphire liked sports a lot more than I did.  I rarely was interested until playoffs but she was a baseball fan.  I found that out before she moved in and I ordered the cable deluxe sports package just for her.  Of course I pretended like I had it all along but after a few questions I knew she realized that I wasn’t a sports fan.

        Sapphire wasn’t just a sports fan.  She walked the talk, or should I say ran the talk.  She participated in the Tough Mudder race.

        Tough Mudder events are hardcore obstacle courses designed to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, over one million inspiring participants worldwide to date, and more than $5 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.

        When Sapphire told me about it I knew I would have died as a participant but I was still chagrined when she said, “The race is next month.  Want to come and cheer for us?”

        She told me about her Tough Mudder training workouts.  I decided that I couldn’t procrastinate any more my resolve to get in shape.  I wrote down the workout.  She smiled at me as she dictated, “Three times a week.”

Light Jog

Grapevines (running sideways)

Side skips (each way)

High knees

Butt kicks

Spider push-ups (lifting knees to elbows)

Jumping jacks

Squat and press with a weight

Skip rope for two minutes

Mountain climb (on hands and feet with a slippery piece of paper under your feet)

One minute rest


Turkish Getups (holding weight with arm straight)

Run for two minutes

Crawl Outs

Ski jumps (side to side)

Side plank dips

One minute rest

Plank climbers

Leap frogs

High knees

Pull-ups with shuffle

Quick feet (run in place, drop and do a push-up)


One minute rest

Butt kicks


Run for two minutes

Triceps dips

Jumping jacks for two minutes

Scissor jumps

One minute rest

Run Burpees

Towel pull-ups (chin-ups with towel)

Run two minutes

Squat jumps

Ski jumps (side to side)

Side lunges

One minute rest

Warm-down stretching

        I asked Sapphire if we could work-out together and she grinned and said hesitantly, “OK.”.

        Sapphire looked so good, glistening and making it look easy.  I was like a little brother trying to keep-up.  She laughed at me sometimes.  She goaded me like a coach.  But it was fun.

        The event that year was held in Los Angeles.  I drove her there and Sapphire met up with her seven “girlies” as she called them, her team.  There were guy teams too, of course; firemen, cops, jocks.

        Four hours later I was there at the finish line to cheer her on.  She was cut and scraped and covered with mud.  After all the “girlies” had hugged and, yes, kissed, Sapphire came over to me, still breathing hard and she said, “I was electrocuted, bleeding everywhere, cramping in muscles I didn’t know existed, and definitely saw a bright white light on several occasions.  Ten miles!”

        Sapphire went with her “girlies” to celebrate.  I told her not to mind me and I drove back to the apartment alone.  She didn’t come back until late Sunday.

        Sapphire had a flex-time job with a staffing agency; she was a “headhunter” for client firms and she said, “I’ll try to get you something.”

        Well, I was in better shape physically but mentally I was more retarded than ever: I would think about Sapphire when I jacked-off.

        I forced myself to go to a club and I actually got laid but I still was thinking about Sapphire the whole time.

        Too soon Sapphire was seeing someone new.  Alexandria.  One of her “girlies” had stepped up their relationship.  Alexandria reminded me of the actress Scarlett Johansson.  Under any other circumstance I would have felt damn lucky to associate with her.

        Sapphire was still cautious.  Her breakup with Chloe had scarred her and she was taking it all a lot slower and (I was glad) she didn’t want to rush and move in with Alexandria.

        Did I tell you that Sapphire kept the two cats that she and Chloe had?  Chloe didn’t care about them and Sapphire couldn’t handle them since they were a reminder of their relationship and she couldn’t bear to take them to the pound, so I said that I’d adopt them.  They became mine technically: Butch and Femme.  “Cute” in a way.  Sapphire didn’t think that Alexandria would like her to own reminders of her previous relationship.

        I used my generosity to “cash in” and ask Sapphire about lesbian relations.

        Sapphire said, “There is no rule that one has to be a butch and the other has to be a femme.  We are normal people who love each other.  And there are no gender definitions just because one works and one stays home.”

        Alexandria understood why Sapphire had moved in with me but she was jealous, or suspicious, I think, of my reasons.  I thought that she went out of her way to demonstrate that Sapphire would never think of me “that way”.

        Alexandria sat on the couch with Sapphire and we three were watching The Matrix again, a classic that Sapphire said was one of her favorites.  The lights were low.  Alexandria sat against Sapphire with her arm around her and looked at me and bluntly asked, “So, what do you think of lesbians?”

        I did my best diplomat impression and I pontificated, “Um, I think it is normal.  Ever since there have been people there have been gays.  I think it is just a natural outcome of the shuffling of the genetic cards in sexual procreation.  There is a spectrum.”

        Alexandria challenged me, saying, “So gays are just unavoidable fall-out?”

        Sapphire looked at me.

        I said quickly, “No, no.  Traits cost energy and they are not maintained in nature unless they are either totally neutral in survival benefit or they are positive in survival benefit.  Gays have always been here.  In fact, since even a neutral trail is hard to ‘justify’ in terms of evolutionary energy, I think that it must be essential to humanity, to the sexual process.”

        Alexandria seemed a little annoyed that I was being so reasonable in front of Sapphire and she suddenly asked me, “So, are there gay plants?”

        Sapphire laughed and I followed, thinking fast for an answer and after a moment I just said, “Well, there is my graduate thesis!”

        The atmosphere calmed and we went back to watching my DVD of The Matrix with the lights down low.  But out of the corner of my eye I saw Alexandria turn Sapphire’s face toward her and kiss her deeply.  I saw the sparkle in Alexandria’s one eye on me, like she wanted me to watch.  Then Alexandria slipped her hand up Sapphire’s thigh and under her skirt and she began to finger-fuck her.

        I got up as quickly and as gently as I could and I went to my room and shut the door and laid myself down on my bed and took deep breaths and tried to think about anything else.

        I noticed pretty soon that Sapphire and Alexandria were always drinking wine, always celebrating something.  They were excited to be together.  I could see that Sapphire was starting to feel carefree again.

        At the same time it seemed that they were always crying about something, like they were looking for reasons to be emotional.

        I also heard them having sex almost every night.  Sometimes (since I was now getting buff with Sapphire’s workouts) I’d actually score at a club and bring my date home and we’d listen to Sapphire and Alexandria and then we would both get worked-up.

        I was starting to look forward to those times when Sapphire would get worried wondering why Alexandria hadn’t answered a text message, or why Alexandria was so late without calling.  It was those times I would be her sympathetic ear or her shoulder to cry on.

        What the hell was I?  Don’t answer that.

        But a few months later it happened.

        Sapphire suddenly said to me one evening as she and I were watching my DVD of Avatar, “Aaron, we need to talk.”

        I thought apprehensively of the old Seinfeld line about relationships, “Nobody needs to talk,” and then I said, “OK?”

        Sapphire gave me a radiant smile and said happily, “Be happy for me.  I have big news.  Alexandria asked me to marry her.”

        While my mind went “What?!” my mouth just opened.  After a million microseconds I said enthusiastically, “Whoa, that is great.”

        I initiated a hug like I was grabbing a life preserver on a sinking ship.

        Sapphire was beaming at me and I sensed she had more news but in the ensuing breach of silence I asked, “So, so tell me, when did this all happen?”

        Sapphire said, “Alexandria and I have been talking about it for a while.  She asked me yesterday.  It was so beautiful.  We were at her apartment and suddenly there was a strange noise coming from the kitchen…,” she paused and put her left hand fingertips to her quivering lips and continued, “Alexandria pretended to be concerned and we both walked into the kitchen and, and all my girlies were there and they all started singing I Think I Want To Marry You, by Bruno Mars, while, while Alexandria got down on one knee and proposed to me,” and then Sapphire couldn’t speak any more without crying and she held up her engagement finger with the beautiful ring that sparkled like Alexandria’s eye that night she started finger-fucking Sapphire right next to me.

        I said with my frozen glee, “That is just great.  Really, really great.”

        Then Sapphire got serious and she took my hand and said, “Aaron.  There, there is something I want to ask you.  I talked about this with Alexandria and we made a deal.”

        I was thinking, “What?  Best Man at a lesbian wedding?”

        Sapphire said, “We want to have a child.  As soon as we can.  Aaron, Alexandria said she is OK if you want to be the sperm donor.”

        While my mind went “What?!” my mouth just opened.  After a million microseconds I said, “What?!”

        Sapphire looked me in the eyes and said, “Don’t you see?  We can make good what could never be between us.  I do love you, in the only way I can, Aaron, but we can never be.  You know that.  I think I know how you really feel and I want to give you the only happiness that I am able to give you.  If you can agree.  If you can’t, I will understand, but I will be sad, Aaron, honestly.”

        I flapped my lips and stuttered, “What, what does Alexandria think of that?!”  All of my emotions were colliding in my brain pan, in, in… a fiery curry, and I began to laugh.

        Sapphire thought I was making fun of Alexandria and she said to me, sounding to me a little hurt, “Alexandria said that she would agree to this under one condition…”

        And then I realized why she sounded hurt as she began to hurt me, saying, “Alexandria says we must agree never to see each other again.  And you must not, cannot have anything more to do with the child…or me.”

        How far did the world spin while I just sat there blinking at Sapphire?

        Sapphire said, “OK, I know that’s a lot to take in, Aaron.  If you want to be the sperm donor just tell me in the next couple days, OK?  OK?” and she kissed me lightly on the lips.

        I was just blinking like a toy, sitting there.

        Sapphire then said, “I’m going to be staying at Alexandria’s from now on.  I’ll be gathering my stuff over the next couple of days.  You have been a true friend, Aaron.  Aaron?”

        I congealed enough to say, “Yeah, yeah.  Yeah.  No problem.  Sure,” and I waved like a mechanical toy as she went out the door.


        I looked dumbly at the TV screen and Avatar and I actually wished I could have a female avatar so that I could then be with Sapphire.  That was the extent of my grasping at straws.  Either way I was going to lose Sapphire and I knew it.  This was it.

        Time to grow up, Peter Pan.

        The next day I stayed home and I tried to grow up.  To know that Sapphire might bear a child of mine was the only ember of love that I could possibly hope for.  Maybe it wouldn’t be so unbearable.

        That evening I laid myself back on my bed and was staring at a kaleidoscope of myriad memories on my dark ceiling.  I heard the front door open.  Sapphire had come back for something.  I heard rustling as she must have been gathering a few things.  There was a strange noise coming from the kitchen.

        Then Sapphire came into my bedroom, backlit by the golden kitchen light.  She wore a token transparent baby-doll nighty.  I was reduced to a pair of eyes on top of a Louisville Slugger hard-on.  She stepped straight toward me.

        She was holding two big glasses of wine and she said, “Don’t worry; I’ve had two myself already.”

        I took my wine glass but I just set it on the nightstand and I reached for her and she knelt onto the bed and embraced me.  I squeezed her too hard and wolfed her tongue and fell back and she exhaled through her nose and made an alarmed “Mmmm?!” sound and then we both snorted wetly but I plunged back into her mouth.

        With an inebriated astuteness she lectured to me in husky whispers about the electrical connection between her nipples and her vagina.

        She guided me precisely to her G-spot.  I had always thought that it was just a legend.

        Time became heat and humidity and sweat and softness and tongue and teeth.

        Sapphire suddenly grabbed and held my wooden bat.  She knew when I was swinging for the fence too soon.  She held me against herself in a seventh inning stretch and she actually spoke softly and coolly about baseball.  I laughed at her clever little joke.  But she made sure that the game went extra innings.

        There is a botany term dissilient which means “bursting apart; bursting open”.  Sapphire and I were at last extremely dissilient.  I couldn’t know for sure if Sapphire had faked-it.  I prefer to believe that she had not.

        I gasped with certainty, “That was a baby!”

        Sapphire smiled and whispered to me, “If it’s a girl, I’ll call her Ruth.”

        I wasn’t invited to the wedding and I was kind of glad, anyway.

        The last time I saw Sapphire she was jetting-off on the back of Alexandria’s motorcycle after saying good-bye to me.  She had surreptitiously nodded at me and I knew that she was pregnant.  I felt blue, like crying.


        I now have been married and divorced three times.  It was always the same: I was “emotionally unavailable” and I was “never satisfied”.

        Lately I have been daydreaming and hoping that one day I’ll answer a knock at the door and then standing there will be the child that Sapphire and I share.



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