Let the Mother Worry

Tracy Gonzalez

I think it would be cool if we had a hotel party. In our hotel room. The one we will get when it snows.

We could invite men with beards and only cool women, only a few. Also, men without beards. And bald men and black men. Also gay men with tattoos. And men who have just experienced loss. We would have bottles of Jack and an assortment of minibottles of Boone’s Farm we bought at the dollar store because we thought multicolored alcohol for a dollar was too awesome a thing to pass up. People would BYOB of course. That’s what bathtubs filled with ice are for. Look how fast it fills up, the dark multiplying on the white like pancreatic cancer cells!

Some people bring McDonald’s hamburgers. Others bring chips and processed square-shaped treats with cheese flavoring in sturdy boxes. It’s a feast of greatness.

“Give me some of that blue one!” “I want red!” Everyone wants to drink the Boone’s Farm. “It’s like the Gatorade of booze!” Booze is in quotation marks. It’s Boone’s Farm after all.

The room heats up with bodies and no place to put the bulky coats. I want to sit in the middle of all of the men but it’s hard. They are everywhere. I settle for little sits here and there. They don’t know how I am doing that dual thinking with them that men do with women, how I am sizing them up like sex prey while my mouth does something else. They don’t know how I am really taking them in. Smelling them. Small touches. Brushing back hair. A test of their wrist pulse. How their neck takes to the pads of my fingers. Assimilating them. It’s what I do. I can’t help it. Heartbeat. Breath. Blink.

You watch me from all the places you are. I have not stopped keeping track of you. I can see you high-fiving me with your eyes. You are smiling like you never have before. We know this party is a fucking success and it hasn’t even gotten rolling yet. Somebody turns up a smoky, funk-based song and you grab the man you are chatting with and begin to dance. I clap. “There’s my girl!” I yell and it’s like gravity slips and the men slide toward you. Buckle against you. Yours.

There’s my girl, I whisper, licking my lips as they bury you inside the song and sweat.

I can see the top of the door to the room, opening and closing, opening and closing. Stoking the fire of the room over and over again. Bodies coming. Bodies leaving. Bodies. Bodies. Bodies. The only way they could be counted is if they could be killed.

It’s a joyful chaos.

In the bathroom, the bathtub. Everybody wants to piss next to the cold beers. Especially me. It’s a great thing to be sipping a beer, releasing a beer and looking at beer all at the same time. I am fully aware of how drunk I am based on this thought I am having. I think of all the future pissers this night will bring, how wrecked the tile will be by morning. I apologize to the tile. “They mean you no harm.”

I wash my hands and fix my hair in the mirror. Always fixing my fucking hair. I can hear how loud it has become in the other room. In another life, the one I left back there, I would be concerned. Worried we’d get thrown out. Here, in this faraway place, where it’s just you and me, I don’t care. I am who I am supposed to be here and a lot of people in that room only know this real version of myself and it feels clean and sharp. Flawless.

I exit the bathroom and one of the wonderful men grabs me around the waist, verbally admires the curve of it and nuzzles my neck with his drunken face. His beard is scratchy and his arms are strong. I let myself go with it and my heart inflates and explodes inside my chest cavity. I want to tell him he should be thankful for my ribs and skin otherwise he would’ve been covered in chunks of heart muscle and gore. Then, I do tell him. When I am drunk and happy and feel loved I have no walls. He asks me why and I tell him about the explosion and he kisses me on the mouth like an old drunken boyfriend. He lifts me and carries me, as best he can, through the crowd of the room. A sack of potatoes. The men part the way, a slit in the sea where I want to swim.

He carries me, which is twisting around, which is the leaning and thrusting of forward and backward. All I can think about is how my ass is on full display and how everyone is taking pictures of this spectacle and how they will end up on Twitter or Facebook and how I will have to make jokes about how the camera adds ten pounds. I hold my breath, try to feel lighter.

There are so many hands smacking my ass I think of the multitude of gangbang porn I have watched and enjoyed. All of those different hands, different ways they are telling me I am a bad girl. When I start to get excited is when he lets me down and I punch him like it was no fun at all. The punch hardly dents the fabric of his shirt. The punch is a kiss on his arm mouth. He dips me like he’s my daddy but my feet are not on the tops of his shoes and his mouth is too close for a daddy’s, the moment held too long. My hair touches the floor, my chest hot with his breath. All I hear are shutters going off, flashbulbs.

I know the night has been long but the night is also standing still. So many positions have been changed it seems as though the room has redefined its space several times over. I see you by the window, then by the couch. The same mirror appears on every wall. Our dual king beds are side by side, then head to head, then on separate sides of the room, our nightstand moves everywhere but the ceiling. The floor is long gone. I can hear you laughing but I cannot see you until, all at once, you take my hand and pull.

In the closet, the quiet. We hold each other and breathe. Our chests heave up and down together — part of the same skin. Telepathically we communicate everything that has happened to each of us since the party began. Everything up until this moment. When all the information has been transmitted, we drop our arms and you say, “It must be the Boone’s Farm,” referring to our new powers of communication. “Remember when we were alone and scared?” I ask. We laugh. We remember. It was our lives for so long before we came here. To this hotel, in the snow, in the far away.

Someone knocks on the closet door. So polite. And we are pulled, with an “IT’S MINE!” toddler force, and our feet fly. We fly. Far. Mine is a soft landing. I hear yours, into song, and then you laugh and then do not. The light changes from a hot orange-yellow to a faded tomorrow-might-never-come and for a moment all I want is to be back in the closet with you.

A man yells, “Let’s roll!” and I am turned several ways, hands chloroforming my face. Or coats. Or beards. These bears of men. Such musk. It’s a drowning. My drowning.

My shoes come off. Your hair is in my mouth and then it is not. Something rips. A song changes into another and I wrap my arms around it like it will take me somewhere. It does and I dance. So many fingers find their way into my mouth and I suck them all. I pay tight attention to




The night goes on with the so-much-more becoming less and less. We are all shopworn: the men, the few women, us. Our skin thins out like the inception of lace. Everything is lazy and sour. The bathtub cancer has been cured, its sickness now settled on the tile, the carpet, countertops; shards shining. Everything is slow or melted. What might be the sun or the end of mankind is glowing the backs of the curtains like a mother shaking the cold shoulders of her blue-skinned child. We are that child. We do not try to find the light. Let the mother worry, we think, hearing each other perfectly.