He worked at a media company on Broadway, back when CD-roms were going to take over the world, and we were going to walk into the future by reading hypertext novels. That’s what we were told. I had already invested in this vision dearly, writing my college thesis on a hypertext, feminist revision of Frankenstein. A.’s boss wore linen suits and yellow lowtops, which satisfied our latent dreams of New York (as first cast in the suburbs)--a place where people would be bodypainted silver at parties and there would always be a silver person running around naked and metallic. It wasn’t rational but it was real to us. And important. (Eerily, the silver man figured in many friends,’ daydreams in other states on other coasts, though none of us knows to this day where he comes from). We’d take the boss in lowtops while waiting for our nude in silver.
As receptionist, A. arrived on time each morning, immediately unplugged his phone, and watched CD-roms for the rest of the day. He wore headphones and seductively winked at people walking past him, making like an Italian movie star. If challenged, he was prepared to explain that his father was dying of advanced colon cancer. This was true.
Mediocre sex held a special appeal, though he couldn’t have known this. Sex could be ordinary and life was specific: wanting was no longer vague and pertaining to all. It pertained specifically to a man with spoons and--as I saw later--a large net above a loft bed, strung across his ceiling. All his possessions fit in one 5’ x 5’ saggy ceiling-hammock. A. was a wide empty net, himself, a man without ornaments. I was a small tree encumbered by bells and shiny glass balls. Christmas is over! I scolded myself. It was time to be a sleek black seal. It was time to lean forward under the wind for advantage. Time to peel the second swimsuit off.