Disclaimer; Believe me, I know how dangerous telling a story like this is when the parties being talked about have the potential to turn into Glenn Close Fatal Attraction level stalkers, but the fact is, I have changed the names and fictionalized just enough that they might not even recognize themselves, and they never really liked me that much any way. Thirty years later they will have forgotten all about me, and my paranoia about it is merely the symptom of old age and looming insanity. (At least, I pray that it is so.)
As I got to know Ysandra better, I learned that some women are particularly self-absorbed and even downright mean. She was a pleasant enough person to talk to, and I had been attracted to her dedication to education as a no-nonsense sort of teacher’s aide. But she had a dark side. She believed that she was more or less the center of the known universe, and we, who had the privilege of orbiting about her, owed her what her little black heart desired. She liked to go places and do things that cost plenty of money. She liked me to pay for it. And this I gladly did even though a teacher’s salary was not exactly lucrative in the 80’s. We went to Austin together quite a bit. My parents lived in a suburb of Austin at the time, and she had a sister in the city with whom she could stay. We went and saw The Phantom of the Opera when it came to the Frank Erwin Center. I don’t regret spending the time and money with her, broadening my social horizons and learning how to live larger than I ever did as a lowly country boy from an Iowa farm town. But there were surprises too.
Ysandra’s sister and husband lived in a rather unique apartment complex. It was a fortress-like five-story affair on Manor Road with a gate where you had to speak through a sliding panel and give the name of the resident who invited you to enter. The reason it was so secure was because it was an entirely clothing optional establishment. They were nudists! And I was still a sexually repressed little prude dealing with my secret issues of shame. Ysandra had all kinds of yucks and giggles at my expense whenever I had to drop her off or pick her up there. She was not dealing with issues, and didn’t mind naked people… or even being naked in public herself. I turned bright shades of red-violet in the presence of young women not wearing any pants. Thank goodness my parents lived fairly close, and I didn’t have to stay there too.
After the first time we visited Austin like that I was forced to explain to her about my secret problem. She was slightly sympathetic to my discomfort, but firmly believed that what was good for her was good for everybody, and insisted the way to overcome fear was to confront it. She put me on a path of accepting the inevitability of becoming a nudist myself. It was supposed to be the cure for me, and she intended to enforce it.
Now, this is supposedly a story of two girlfriends at the same time, and Ysandra was fully aware of Abby, the Reading teacher. She accepted that Abby lived next door and was a rookie teacher who needed guidance. She felt about her about what you would expect an alley cat to feel about another alley cat that was eyeing the same canary in a cage. Ysandra spread all kinds of nasty rumors about Abby in her Spanish-speaking gossip circles, and those came back to bite me a couple of times when I may have been the source of the vicious half-truth. (In my defense, it didn’t seem like a vicious detail when I told Ysandra about it. The devil was in the presentation.) I had to learn to keep the relationships separate.
And keeping things separate was hard because Abby had very little in the way of self control. I could not tell her about the secret that neutered me because it would almost instantly slip and become public knowledge. She enjoyed life in a very sensual way. She wore the shortest of shorts, the tightest of dresses (even in school), and she wore her considerable bosoms like a pair of headlights, lighting up everything male with testosterone in it ahead of her. She was almost child-like in her feigned innocence.
I told her from the very beginning that Ysandra was my girlfriend to try to curb her enthusiasm a little. It didn’t work. She apparently respected Ysandra, and feared her slightly. But that wasn’t enough to keep her from visiting me late at night, watching my TV and eating my food and making plan to go places with me without regard for how all these things might look to the First Baptist Church Ladies whose fundamentalist Christian values might get us both stoned to death. And I was too intimidated by my own reactions to her to tell her stop and leave me alone.
So, I will leave this perfidious narration here for the time being and save the story of the fatal strip poker game for the next post in the series. And I must say, I did actually turn red with embarrassment writing this post, so that next one will probably make my head explode and be the end of me.