I loved my time hanging out with them. Even though it wasn’t feminist-approved

I met him when we were separated, a few years back. It didn’t work out. But he taught me a lesson.

It was a party where the grill was hot, the beer was cold, the music loud, and the men, boisterous. I’d brought homemade chocolate chip cookies. Weird; right? But the biker I was dating loved them, and so whenever I would hang out with the boys in the club, I’d bring cookies.

Biker and I dated, briefly, and he once took me on a 235-mile ride across two states, part of a contest. We looked for towns ending with specific suffixes; he earned points in the contest for each one we visited, memorialized with a picture. I loved being on the back of his Harley Fatboy; my long, post-surgical, too-skinny arms wrapped around his belly. On the straightaways, id let my hands rest on his thighs and lean into his back, feeling his warmth and inhaling the scent of leather. I felt protected and safe: id been very sick for a long time, and carried no more than 120 pounds in on my 5–8 frame. He was tall and broad and strong and so damned smart. Despite his misogyny, women loved him: his strength, bravado, machismo. We liked each other because we were both (braggarts alert) smart and funny; we shared the same birthday, and we got each other. Except for politics. Those were off limits. But our “thing” petered. peteredout without it ever being a thing.

He liked to have me around to argue with and, frankly, to look at. I was ok with that. I liked the boys in the club. I was 42 and had never in my life experienced anything so brazenly rebellious and anti-social. Id also never felt so desired, because of the conversations I would have. Those men listened to me; they respected me as a woman with strong opinions.They liked me. And I liked them. A lot.

We met, the man who broke me but made me realize: ain’t no damn guarantees. He taught me a lesson, at a clubhouse steak night.

I had dropped the cookies in the clubhouse and grabbed a small plate, picking up a piece of perfectly-cooked steak, along with a PBR, and found a space along the perimeter. I noticed him immediately. Sweet face, bold eyes unafraid to look directly at me. We chatted; how do you know (the president), and I laughed and told him our history. And you, I asked? Are you here with your wife?

PBR and Jaeger can make a girl bold.

Welp, no. No girlfriend or wife. He was there with someone from another club. They stopped for a bite and were headed to the next state over, as he had a date. I laughed then: I don’t step into other women’s territory. No no, nothing like that, he told me. It was a first date and he’d rather stay with me and keep talking, but he’d promised her, and a promise was a promise.

I liked that; I respected that. Still, I gave him my digits on the off-chance it didn’t work out.
We bid goodbye: I didn’t know that he first went into the clubhouse to ask permission to date me. As though I was some sort of child/chattel. But I learned that that is just how things are done in that world.

He left with the friend. I thought I’d never see him again and proceeded to get shitfaced on PBR and shots of Jaeger. I met someone from another club: He was sexy and dangerous and I remembered him from a long-ago court case. He was also a complete gentleman. We flirted like mad and pictures were taken. I gave him my number. Thinking he wouldn’t call, after all, as I was a good girl. Straight. No trouble. Not interested in trouble. I was wrong.

The next morning, date-guy called me. I was shocked. And happy. But then my phone rang and I let him go. I called the number back. It was the Enforcer. Well, not him, but an associate. Calling from a burner. The enforcer wanted to talk to me. The associate gave me the number and I hung up: scared to death.

I called date guy: Oh my god WHAT SHOULD I DO? i asked, in a panic.

You have to call him back, he said, and explain the situation: you met someone. And you’re into him. You?, I asked. Yes, he laughed. Me: Is this going to cause you trouble? I asked him. No. I don’t think so. Just be honest.

Enforcer was lovely. Truly: lovely. He told me: no worries, and he wished me well.

I hung up and called date guy. We made a date for us, that night.

Back in my apartment. ShowerShaveWait. He arrived; his bike Foretelling his arrival.

He’s in my shabby apartment for all of 3 minutes and he grabbed me: spun me around. Kissed me on the mouth.

I died and went to heaven, those lips felt so fine. Perfectly melded to my mouth. Took charge. Owned me, a little. Me, in my Own Space. Kind of liked that feeling of, You decide. You tell me what to do. Here: I give that, to you.

We were like that for a few weeks. I emphasize that because I want you to know: you can meet someone and know within moments if it is real and true and good

It was. So easy. So fucking easy. Words flowed. Feelings exchanged. You want fries with that? Cuz your ass shakes.

I did and didn’t and did. Owning me. Leaning in. Deep and hard and dark. Cold rushing rushing through me.

And then. He showed me his gentle side and I was lost. Lost in him. With him. Leapt out of the car to kiss him. Brakes. His and mine and pull me IN to him.

Fuck. It was all so perfect.

Until it wasn’t.

I’ve a small family, being as my parents and older brother are dead. And my Baby Daddy is an only child.

I’ve two sisterfriends; 40+ years of friendship. So when it was time to go to a bday party for one of the littles? I didn’t hesitate. And maybe I should have.

I was in the parking lot of a fast-food joint, calling Him. It was all cool; I can’t wait to see you again, he said. And then? Silence.

Couldn’t reach him. Weird, I thought.

The next day I was to cook for him and texted; Hey Baby! What time are you coming over?

We need to talk, was his reply. And I knew.

I knew.

I had Kiddo; I tried desperately to reach Him: Tomorrow, he said. And I knew.

The grr And groan gave it away. I’d waited all day and then there he was: kindsweetface Over his leather jacket. He looked broken. But determined.

Baby. What? I asked. Come on. Come on in.

And then he was pulling me into him: She had come back. She saw the pics of us; how happy we looked, and she came back. She saw in him the possibility. And because he loved her — he really did love her — he was going back. And just like that: our magic our place our US? Was over.

It was the first time in my life that I was ever broken by another person. I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I walked. I walked up and down the Main Street, crying screaming weeping.

It was some weeks before I decided I was strong, once again. But I did. And we talked. Until he texted me to call him; after all, we were adults. Right? So I did. And I got her.

Stop calling, she said. We are happy. Leave us alone.

Ok fine, I said. But I’m just returning his call.

I’m waiting tables. Trying to earn some extra cash. Look over the railing and HERE HE COMES WITH HER and FML: I’m s’posed to wait on them?

WellHE thinks so. Until I say: no. No no NO AND FUCK YOU for bringing her here.

Fast forward. Two years. I’m still with baby daddy who has now had an affair. Late night text WHATSUP?

? I say? WhoDIS?

It’s him. They’ve been married for less than a month and he came home and SHES MOVED OUT AND TAKEN ALL HER SHIT


Good luck with that, I say