what lies beneath

I didn’t know people still came here, to Pravda.  The last time I was here, I was married and drunk on dirty martinis.  Except I don’t know if they were martinis at all.  I don’t think I’d go to a vodka bar and not drink vodka.  Maybe I just ate crumbled egg and red onion; I don’t remember.  I do remember the couple sitting within earshot of our table, remember hearing them talk about me as if I weren’t there to hear for myself the things they said.  It happens a lot lately, people back talking.  "She lost all her magic," one woman said to the other, "when she put her hair back.  In that move, she withdrew."  I don’t know if he heard them.  I never told him about what I’d overheard.  Back then I cared a bit more than I do now, but maybe that’s not true.  I might have waited a beat, then pulled the band from my hair as if it were the subconscious language of my body.  I might have kept it up.  I don’t remember.  What I do is that I’d made my way up the spiral staircase into the ladies room, returning to our table, my panties moist in my fist.  I nearly missed a step, which would have been more of a story, but I didn’t.  Instead I pottered back to the table, smiling, and handed them to him beneath our table.  He asked for the check.  The ladies didn’t see my bare subtext.

Tonight I didn’t bother with underwear.  He went down on me at 7:30, just when I should have been arriving at my friend’s flat for twisted cheese straws and a board of bacterial bliss by way of cows, sheep, and goats.  Arriving for Rioja and where’d you get that top, lipstick, bracelet.  I decided not to put my underwear back on, wiggling as I checked my lipstick in our mirror.  This way, I said, you’ll still be with me.  But when it came time to hail a cab to Pravda in the cold, that’s all I felt.  The perfect destination in the biting cold of winder (it should be called winder instead of winter): an underground Russian vodka bar and the mystery of night.



  1. We made wondrous and unexpected love. I had plans at 7:00. Sitting at an outdoor cafe with a girlfriend, I really wanted to be inside with him. Laughing. Or eating. Making love again. Without time to shower, he was still in me, but I was out.

  2. Really not trying to be one of those critical knobs who pop up in the Comments, but is your boyfriend cool with you announcing to the world that he went down on you? I know this blog is successful because you're not afraid to share intimate, personal details, but that's in kind of a different category. I mean, geez…poor guy's got his picture all over this website. Some guy on the subway could sidle on up next to him and go "Hey Suitor, did you see Jeopardy! last night? Oh! That's right, you were going down on Stephanie at the time."

  3. I hope the risque story is not a reaction to the accusation that you've lost your magic (or whatever they said)…you have nothing to prove…unless you think you do…

  4. Scanning a bit too quickly, I caught "going down on me" and "bacterial bliss."

    Next time I'll be more careful to read each line at a time :)

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