I saw Johnny’s head for the first time that night. He followed me into the bedroom, sat on the bed and took off his baseball cap. Underneath he was wearing a blue stretchy skullcap. I watched as he pulled it off slowly. He looked away. This was a routine for him that only became nerve-wracking when he cared too much. Springy blonde curls surrounded a thick band of hairless scarred skin running down the middle of his scalp like an uneven dissection of his brain. He had a large birthmark that took up half of his forehead and extended into his hair.
He was respectful. I said, “let’s get undressed.”
He was skinny and his body had some random bumps and scars in funny places. He had battle wounds and a faded tattoo of a rabbit smoking weed. I ran my hands over his back. He smelled like baby powder and his skin was smooth and warm. I felt the delineations in the surface of his flesh, the slightly rougher parts, the sporadic protrusions. I felt along his ribs. They seemed too close to the surface, only protected by a thin layer of skin. I touched his head and as the room lightened I examined the birthmark. It was raised and very dark and had a little irregular bubble under the skin just before the hairline.
He pulled me closer. I heard gospel music faintly on the radio. I felt the rhythmic pulse of air from the fan as it described its arc. I watched my bedroom wall change texture and color as the sun rose higher.
He kissed my ear and I was overwhelmed with sudden love. I loved him because he was flawed and reluctant to expose himself. I loved him because his job was washing dishes and he found the joy and meaning in it. That was good enough and I was kind of blind. I always tried to pay attention but he knew more than me.
We kissed for a long time and then he lowered himself over me, kissed my belly button and my thighs. His tongue pressed against me and into me too hard at first. When I came it was intense. Wave after wave wracked my body and I was left gasping and drained. My mouth went dry and I gulped down water so I could kiss him again. I turned so I was flat on my stomach underneath him. I felt heat radiating from his chest against my back. When he came he just sighed. He was very quiet the whole time. I only heard him say, “oh, god…”
Johnny slept until 2:30 and then I drove him home. I felt safe. He helped me reclaim some gratitude. He waved goodbye to me from his porch and I felt hydrated.
Nikki Thomas was born and raised in Los Angeles. She was a straight A student who couldn’t follow the rules and spent as much time in the principal’s office as in the library. At university she opted not to join a sorority and instead filled her free time cruising Hollywood bars and parties, hooking up and getting down. Nikki is a bad girl with a heart of gold. These are her stories — consider it our Monday treat for you.