The next time we saw him, he was dressed head to toe in brand new leathers: chaps, harness, boots, even — despite the heat (or maybe because of it) — a jacket, all of it custom-made to Frank's specifications. He and Ellie had played out a few fantasies the night before, and Frank had surprised him by giving him the entire outfit. This wasnt too out of the ordinary, we told ourselves. Men had given Elliot things before: clothes, jewelry, tickets to Europe. But what made this all the more exceptional was that, for the first time we'd seen him that summer, Elliot was wearing something above the waist.
This bothered me, for some reason. Ellie worked too hard in the gym to waste the effort by covering it all up. But I held my peace on the matter.
For days afterwards, we watched Elie act like a fourteen-year-old who'd just discovered what to do with his hands. It was a bad case of Cupid-hits-a-bullseye first love, and I found myself vicariously enjoying Ellie's romance blossom... perhaps a bit too much. Oh, sure, Doc and I had been together for a long time, long enough for both of us to know that, despite the occasional hiccup, we were in there for the long haul. But as much as I might have preferred otherwise, he hadnt been my first, and it got me to thinking about the ones that came before him...
Like Jerry — aspiring model by day, waiter by night. He wanted me to tie him up and threaten him with a professional purgatory of covers on the catalogues for canola seeds or heavy industrial equipment.
I just couldnt get into it.
Or Lowell... sweet, innocent Lowell, who knew we were right for each other by the end of our first dance and then manifested his undying love with a possessive streak a mile wide... and then, because he was Catholic, would go home and feel incredibly guilty about it all.
Oh, and Carl. Big, tough Carl. A former lumberjack and oil field worker, now a cop, who could never accept just how much he truly enjoyed women's underthings.
To be continued