The room was a corner suite. I stepped into the parlor room. The furniture looked like it was someone’s grandmother’s house. Someone’s rich grandmother, I should say. Tony waved me toward the door to the bedroom, which was open.
“I’ll be right outside in the hall,” he said in a low voice. “I’ll knock three times if Digger’s coming.” And then he–very thoughtfully–left the room completely.
I stepped into the doorway, my hands jammed into the pockets of my denim jacket, and leaned on the doorframe.
Ziggy was lying in the middle of the king size bed, tangled in the bedclothes but otherwise naked. His skin was strikingly tan against the white sheets. He had a pillow over his head.
I assumed he’d been awake enough to tell Tony it was okay to let me in. Right? Tony wouldn’t have just sent me in there without warning Ziggy first, would he? If Ziggy had fallen back to sleep I didn’t want to wake him. I held my breath, caught between wanting to crawl into bed with him and run away.
Far, far away.
You tried that already, I reminded myself. So did he. Yet here you are.
What if he doesn’t want me here, though? What then?
He looked like he’d lost weight. I wondered if that was from grief or if he’d gone vegetarian or what.
His arm moved sluggishly as he pulled the pillow off his head.
“I can try to come back later if you’re too sleepy,” I said.
His head turned suddenly and his eyes flew open. “Oh shit, you’re really… I was dreaming that Tony told me you were here.”
Neither of us moved for a while. I was sort of frozen, every sense of mine tingling. I had heard his voice, heard it for the first time in so very long. That voice. God. Coming out of his mouth, not out of the radio.
“Come here,” he said then, very quietly, but I heard him perfectly well.
I took a breath but not a step.
“Come here, please?” he tried, and I found myself gripping the door frame. Not sure if I was holding myself back or keeping myself from running away or what. Tears pricked at my eyes and I was feeling entirely too many things at once.
I tried to say his name then but it came out a whisper.
Ziggy struggled to sit up, then, when I guess it was obvious I wasn’t coming any closer. His makeup was a complete mess and his hair was epic. He blinked as if trying to focus on me. “Hey.”
“Hey.” I could barely swallow and my mouth was suddenly crowded with shit I knew I should not say. Who was that on the balcony? Do you have any idea what I’ve been through? Etc. I groped for something safe to say. “Are you all right?”
Wrong thing. “No, I am fucking well not all right, no thanks to you!”
Maybe there was nothing I could have said. Maybe the powder keg was going to spark no matter what I said. And maybe he had as much a right to be angry at me as I did at him. That didn’t stop me from answering in kind: “Me? No thanks to me? How the fuck is it my fault!” I probably wouldn’t have been so explosively defensive, of course, if I hadn’t feared exactly that. Of course it’s all my fault. “I didn’t tell you to give executive hand-jobs at the theater today.”
“Don’t you judge me. Don’t you dare judge me!”
“And what am I judging, exactly? Your choice in men? Or your choice to act like a fucking whore!” Why did I say that? Why?
“You don’t know what it’s like!”
Angry, scared, desperate, hurt. This is what it sounds like: “What what’s like, to have sex with someone other than because I want to? I’ve never had sex for any reason other than that. Oh wait, except with one person. You.”
He started to cry, as tears spilled over quite suddenly and his chest shook with dry but nearly silent rasps. I wanted to hold him and shake some sense into him at the same time. Everything in my chest was shredded–heart, lungs, voice–and that must have been how he was feeling right then, too.
He found his voice first. “Well, aren’t you lucky, then. Aren’t you lucky.” He pulled the sheet over his shoulder like he suddenly felt the need to hide his nakedness and in one of those upended-ice-bucket-down-the-back moments I realized what he was implying–that I’d never been the subject of unwanted sexual advances, but he had. As usual, everything turned upside down or inside out in Ziggy’s vicinity. I’d meant it the other way around, that I’d never made advances at someone to try to get something from them, but I knew he had, I knew he did. This flip to thinking of Ziggy as sexual victim instead of aggressor…
…combined with his opening accusation that this was my fault…
I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t. “You’re as full of shit as ever.”
That sparked full on hysterics. He began throwing pillows at me as he screamed, “So are you! So are you!”
What a time for three little knocks to come at the door, eh? I pulled the bedroom door closed just as the door from the hallway opened.
Something loud hit the door and I jumped back. Ziggy must have moved on to throwing things other than pillows. I couldn’t really worry about that right then, though, because in came my two least favorite people in the world. They looked at me like the feeling was mutual.