? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 1

Creative Nonfiction

Dan Skiar

When I Was Twenty-One


Once I met a girl on a train who wanted to have sex all the time. It was the thing she was most interested in doing. She was the caretaker of the 1770 House Inn which was closing for the fall, and since the owners were upstate, she had  the place pretty much to herself that September; and the town  basically closed up too. I could do it whenever she wanted for as long as she wanted. We stayed drunk most of the time. I had graduated from college and did not know what to do and since the pub in the basement was ours getting drunk and chain smoking Old Golds and having sex with this thirty year old woman seemed to make perfect sense.  I got a job painting mansions on the ocean.  It was a good job because you could be drunk and smoke and not worry about anything.  The boys and me played a lot of ping pong in one summer mansion in Amagansett. It was good to work and screw and smoke and not give a damn about anything.  The radio only picked up an easy listening station which was okay with me, especially when they played Jackie Gleason. There was no T.V.  We were nobodies in the town.  I had an old Peugeot bicycle.  She had a 1963 Saab station wagon from her ex-boyfriend who was 42 and some sort of music business executive that did a record with Stevie Wonder and she had her name in the album. I guess we lived like that until some time after Thanksgiving; and the minute I started to get attached to her (which was really dumb and she was smart enough to know this) we were through. Besides, she was not interested in college boys. And to tell you the truth, after a while she stayed in her ratty white bathrobe, strummed her guitar all day, smoked cigarettes, ate nothing but A & P apple pies from the box, and quit taking showers. (We saved the Old Gold coupons and had a pretty good pile of them by the time we split up.) The Inn had no central heating. She went to New Jersey to see her mother.  She said she'd be back but we both knew she wouldn't. I kept fires going in the fireplace, slept on top of the blankets so I never had to make the bed. I slept in my clothes.  Electricity and water were shut. No one knew I was there. I went to the frozen beach and drank at night and stared at the stars and waited.