Let us press on.
As I was saying the other day, before I got overwhelmed with rantiness (for which I apologize since, let us agree, Zhang Jiehai is scarce worth the time) I’d spent an afternoon looking for a date.
Though those feelers I’d put out came up dry that day, they made for a busier weekend, as each of the women I’d called suggested meets over the next few evenings.
So now it was my turn to put off Holly and Joy, and make time for Sweetie instead, Sweetie who I had not seen and not much thought of since our last encounter. She messaged me from work and suggested we meet for dinner, and since (for me as much as her) this was merely the prelude to sex I took her to the Quanjude restaurant just near where I live, so that it should not take us long to get to bed. It’s a trifle touristy, full of foreigners and fake Qing stuff, and the duck is a little greasy. But it answered to the purpose.
Naturally she arrived holding her gameboy in her hands, engrossed in whatever vapid game she was now playing. This was perhaps just as well, for, having been out with her a few times by this point, I had more or less exhausted all I had to say to her. Having almost nothing in common with her, there was little to talk about. So while her game buzzed and twittered away I leafed through that day’s Spiegel, exchanging the odd comment with her.
But our conversation picked up a little as we ate. She told me about an affair she’d had in the months since I’d seen her. As I mentioned before, she works in a Japanese company and, like Ellen, she seems to have to put up with some weirdness.
Now her boss was a Japanese guy, married, older, and a real brain, too. He’d graduated from Stanford while still a teenager, and was fluent to native speaker level in a fistful of languages. She’s known him a few months and one night, things `just happened.’ But it got fucked up bad, and soon. For he does not trust women, having come through a tough divorce; and is highly traditional and things a woman should be just-so. As Sweetie is highly untraditional, the path off the rails was clear right there. But it went to smash far bigger than just that.
Sweetie knew the wife, too, and had spent time at their home. `That must be quite tough, to have to pretend in front of her?’ I said. But Sweetie was insouciant. `No, not really.. I can do that easily.’
So after one dinner these three shared together, the wife suggests she stay the night, it being late and wet, a situation in which, in Shanghai, finding a cab is next to impossible. And so she stayed, and, a little while after she’d gone to bed, the guy came to her. “I guess just to say goodnight,” Sweetie explained, “But passion took over.. I asked him if he’d locked the door, and he said he had.. and I checked it, too. But then somehow it was open and his wife saw us.. saw us fucking on the bed. And when she saw that she just turned away.”
Upshot was, Japanese guy decided he wanted Sweetie to move in full time, and treat his wife like her sister (which she said to me with a snort of scorn.) The wife, for her part, was unmoved. This was but her duty, as she saw it. The guy told Sweetie – “When we got married I told her I would never divorce her, as long as she did not leave me, but that if I met a woman, and something happened, I might bring her home..” And this, it seemed, was quite acceptable for the wife. It’s a fucking shitty piece of behavior on his part, since clearly an offer like that would not work both ways, and if she took a lover a guy like that would just do one. Scumbag. This wife’s lot is tough, to hear Sweetie tell it. She is merely a slave, walks dutifully behind him, waits on him hand and foot; while he is drinking and laughing with cronies she sits stock still in the next room, tending the tea so she can bring it to each guy as soon as his cup is empty; cannot work, cannot socialize, can do nothing but housework, nothing but tend to him.
And then he tried the same attitude on Sweetie; so, the next evening she said she was going out for a walk and he, “Wait until we are ready to come with you.” She explained she wanted to go on her own, wanted time alone; and he did not like that. And so this putative relationship soon blew up into arguments and fights and she got out of there, back to her own flat.
After our meal it was to this flat she wanted to go, rather than back to my place. And that was fine by me – better, in fact, since it meant I could leave in the morning when I wanted, rather than, if she stayed with me, chafing and fretting until she left.
Not, of course, that she quite said ‘Let’s go back to my flat to fuck.’ Instead, she used the line I generally use, that she could ‘show’ me her flat. So into a cab, and off to Kanping Lu kissing, caressing, touching as we went, to a rather pleasant, leafy part of town, where she had a place on the top floor of a five storey flat. As I walked up the steps behind her, my eyes played across her butt, her legs, the tight short black skirt, the black stockings, looking forward to what was to come, knowing she would soon be dying under me. I fast-forwarded in my head to how it would be when I undressed her, what color panties were waiting my gaze under the fabric of her clothing.
Unusually for a woman, her flat was an absolute mess; but a sexy mess, with bras and panties strewn everywhere, some clean, drying on racks, some dirty, slung to the floor. Reds and greens, silks and satins, frills and bows and laces, blues and blacks…
She made some half-effort to tidy up, before I stopped her telling her it was sexier this way, stimulating; so too was the unmade bed, the duvet half on the floor from when she had got up this morning. I liked it like this; clearly she had not prepared for my arrival, had had little thought of seeing me when she began her day. It was a titillating idea, that she had got out of bed with no particular plan, that her mind had roamed to me and she had called me, sought me, and was bringing me back here to fuck. I liked the casual way of it, the simplicity, and the intimacy too – to see her bedroom as it really is, her life raw, not prepared. It was also sexy because mess like this is more generally the province of a teenager, and while she is 23 or 24, the strewn lingerie made it seem like the room of a younger woman.
And so while she freshened up I lay on the bed, reaching down to pick a pair of panties from the floor, feeling their slick silk texture under my fingers, pressing them to my nose to inhale her scent, and once again running through in my mind what was about to happen.