If 2 days can be considered a long term relationship after 2 days had passed we had reached a milestone in our relationship because she told me her name. Her name was Suzie.

I was glad she had finally a name that I could call her as in spite of having gotten as familiar as two bodies that had explored every inch of each others mystery could get, not to have explored her name, in fact not once having called her anything, not having wanted to call her tramp or even baby like she insisted on calling me, each time signaling another coiling dance of flesh and sweat, I was glad I could now call her Suzie.

It might seem strange that I had not asked her before but, like I said, we were a little too busy to do much talking, unless sighs and moans and the epithet baby could be considered an advanced language. It wasn't that strange. I have a hard enough time remembering what happened five minutes ago without having to remember the name of someone who might not be there five minutes later. but now, it was different. It was a "relationship". Her name was Suzie.

I didn't make it easy. I told her that I had had more than enough relationships in my life- that I had lived too many lives- that I was tired of craziness and that all I wanted was to have some uninterrupted time to find out what it was to be human without the temptation to leap head first into some new disaster zone. I told her all that and then, just to make sure, I told it all to her again, and I meant it.

For her part she said she knew. Don't ask me how. She didn't explain. I suppose you could chalk it up to woman's intuition if you believe in such things but intuition wasn't just a woman thing because it happened to me as well. I believed her.

Believing her probably started when she asked me how long it had been since I had walked barefoot on autumn leaves. It must have been the right question because it brought tears to my eyes and, I swear, the smell of autumn leaves, the sound of their crunching underfoot, the way the woods felt in the autumn and, mingled with it, for God knows what reason, the unmistakable smell of horses fur. The feel of it against my cheek was so real it made my hair stand up on end.

She took me in her arms, and later led me out onto the deck.

The room she lived in was a converted garage attached to a sprawling house built out over the lagoon on pilings. It was owned by rich people, a judge and his wife, who came out every few weeks for the weekend. She was the caretaker, for which she received free rent and the run of the house when they were gone. They weren't expected again for a few weeks and she first invited me to move in with her and then, in the same breath, suggested that, because it was such a wonderful sunny day, we sunbathe naked on the deck. Not having any particular destination in mind and wanting to see where this would lead I agreed to both. Seeming to have known my answer before I spoke it, she danced off to get towels, cheese and tea, fresh fruit and english muffins and another small box with flowers on the lid that she set down next to her towel with a mysterious smile.

We had been lying torpid in the winter sun for a couple of hours when she lifted herself to a seated position and scratched beneath her breast. I watched her curiously, not because of the scratching but because, when I finally got a chance to look at her, undistracted by the heat of passion I realized that she certainly wasn't a classic beauty. Her breasts were small and sagged, her hips were wide and her legs gracelessly tapered down to large feet. Her lower body reminded me, if anything, of the haunches of an animal, with it's coat of fur. She was an example of the mysterious transformation that clothes and makeup made in a woman. Just as I began to see her with a more critical eye she noticed me watching her and her sudden smile erased all that I was adding up in my mind as if the sun had hit the jackpot in her face and turned her to diamonds.

She began to laugh.

"Not exactly a beauty am I." she said matter of factly, as if, being a woman, she knew full well what men thought.

I must have made some subtle sign of acknowlegment because she nodded her head.

"Uh Huh." She said and in that moment, as the sun glittered between the strands of her wild hair, as her smile spread wide and her eyes crinkled at the corners with a playful happiness no amount of beauty could have done anything more than detract from her over all impression of exotic sensuality. I felt as if this improbable woman could very well be my downfall.

We nibbled cheese and oranges and sipped our mint tea. She sang softly, her voice trembling with unexpected changes in a haunting wordless melody. Finally she opened the mysterious flowered box and picked a pack of cigarette papers from within and pulled one loose.

"You get high don't you?" She asked and for some reason I found it funny. I laughed and nodded and she smiled back and rolled a fat, Jamaican joint she lit with an old zippo lighter.

She drew in a lung-full and passed it to me.

"This is killer." She said, her voice narrow and squeaky as she spoke around the smoke.

I took a hit and it rose up into my head like a geyser of light.

I handed it back sunk down on the towel and stared at the sky. Above me a lone seagull circled staring down as I stared up. Suddenly I felt as if we had exchanged places, as if I stared down on us at the top of her crinkle haired head and my body stretched out in the full sun. I looked old and out of shape and I wondered at how different I looked than I imagined. Time had taken it's toll and times toll coupled with the alterations that the plastic surgery of my disguise had made in me made me, in that moment, unfamiliar to myself.

I closed my eyes. the sun was hot against my lids and a hot glow suffused the darkness. Her singing filled my head. I felt confused and unstable and glad she was singing as her voice soothed and seemed to ground me to the earth. Tumbled thoughts collapsed one upon another like a fragile deck of cards that the thumping of my heart had undone and scattered. I wondered if it was too late to start over. too late to expect anything but to be trapped in between the pages of a book I had already closed. With her presence the possibility existed for something new but how could I trust her. how could I trust anything? I knew I didn't trust myself. I had betrayed myself too many times, in too many ways. Would it, could it be different this time?

"Don't worry baby." She said. "I'm here."

Her words- the juxtaposition of them to my ever deepening spiral into darkness, seemed to comfort and calm me as if, somehow, she knew and wanted me to know that I wasn't alone.

I was confused. Too much had happened too soon and I wasn't as flexible to change as I once was. It used to be easy to shift gears. once, effortlessly, I could move from one state of reality to another seamlessly. it was like the science fiction time warps or at least it used to feel that way and I never looked back. maybe that was the secret, to always look forward and never look back because what was behind would trip you up every time if you acknowleged it in any way but now there was too much past and not enough that I felt was ahead of me. I had covered too much ground and the wild places in the heart, those uncivilized corners where there were no rules were narrowing down to nothing.

But here she was, another woman, offering to perform the trick again if I could only suspend belief long enough for the magic to work. I wasn't sure I could.

By the third hit I wasn't sure I was still on the planet Earth and Suzie was whispering in my ear about how we could move to Hawaii or Fiji or someplace, anyplace and live on a beach but I didn't want anything exotic. I'd had too much of those fantacies and I knew they didn't work and I told her so.

She just smiled like she knew it all along and then I realized, without her doing anything but smiling, that she had known it all along- that she was just testing me to see if I was real or just another thrill junkie looking for kicks. Then she told me what she really had to say, that she wanted us to live right here where nobody would bother us and we could go for long silent walks on the beach and make up songs- where I could write and she could paint and sing and we could make love and sip mint tea and watch fire sprites dance above the logs at night on the big couch in front of the fireplace until we fell asleep and then wake up and live another day as if it was the first.

It sounded so simple I thought there must be a trick someplace, some hidden trap door to fall through into the snake pit and I told her that too and she just smiled and her smile, well, it made me feel foolish and I told her that too, not really sure why it was so easy to be with her and to tell her everything and to not be suspicious of her, or myself.

Time passed. We grew older day by day but each day I felt younger, lighter, free in a way I hadn't felt ever. I thought it would never end.

Was I wrong.