Amy and I met in front of the hotel where we were both living at the time. We were young then. She was a music student and I had a neat little business selling cocaine. She looked so cute in her tight black pants while gazing at my Bugatti.
“Great car, huh?” she remarked when I nonchalantly moved to stand next to her.
“Would you like to have a ride?”
“This is your car?”
“Now?” I said.
I had a large white one bedroom that overlooked the cobblestoned square, where the intoxicating perfume from a row of old lindens drifted up on to my terrace. She had a faded closet-sized studio in the back, with a paint-chipped slanted ceiling. It had in it the smallest single bed and a piano. Books and stacks of music were piled in unruly columns on the chocolate-colored floor, and an image of Robert Redford cut from a magazine was taped to the wall.
We must have come off as idiots in our attempt to push our lust aside with ridiculous small talk about things neither one of us could have cared less about. Who were we trying to kid? She ended up being the bold one as she unzipped her fly and sauntered over to the window to pull down the shade.
Consummately enamored with Paris, she breathed her French as if she was trudging up a hill. She styled herself a gamine and let her mousy brown hair fall loose and long past her round shoulders.
She was a wild little monkey. Instead of retreating to the bathroom to take care of herself like other women I knew, she would insert her diaphragm while lying on the bed. On her back with the sheets kicked to the floor, she’d smile and wink at me while I waited. Her pointed arched feet were like the tips of butterfly wings and I got so big and hard from staring into her pussy like that, I thought I would explode. Then she would offer me her ass.
Although there was no love shared between us, I felt possessive enough to ask, “Why Robert Redford?”
“Because he’s gorgeous, silly!”
“Shouldn’t you have a picture of Beethoven up there instead?”
Back then one could safely keep a small lucrative business such as mine. The city had other things to worry about. Its structures were collapsing and sleazy crime was everywhere. I wasn’t so impetuous to expect my luck to last, so it was no surprise when the big shots moved in to take advantage.
I stepped off the elevator to hear her playing on my way down the hall. Instead of pausing at her door to listen, I impatiently rang the bell. Only hours remained till my return to South America.
In place of the silky kimono she always wore in a way to suggest her nakedness underneath, she had on a skirt and a blouse. I saw her red espadrilles tied up her ankles and I wondered if she was going out. Was there someone new already?
“Pablo,” she said with that frothy delight that still haunts me in my dreams sometimes, “I finished my piece and I want you to hear it.”
In all the time we spent together, the tawny brown upright dominated the room, yet I had never asked her to play. I stretched out on the bed but the pillow I shoved behind my head kept on having to be adjusted. With perverse eyes, I watched the muscles in her back undulate from measure to measure while her hands glided up and down the keys.
I recognized the theme of the Chopin Ballade immediately. She took hold of it with a passion that managed to touch my myopic soul, but by the time the music had accelerated and swelled to its climax, the air around us had changed. Her hair was pulled up in a chignon, and I bid farewell to our narrow erotic island.
Denise Falcone is a writer who lives in New York City. Her work has appeared in Blood Orange Review, Foliate Oak, J Journal, Why Vandalism?, Kerouac’s Dog, Perhaps I Am Wrong about The World, Antique Children, and others.
Copyright © 2012 by Denise Falcone