At the time, he was my physical ideal, the embodiment of my perfect fantasy. When I noticed him at the gym, my heart lurched.
He was the image of Conan the Barbarian, but his flat baby face was much sweeter. He had long silky blond hair, and a musclebound physique that had won him the title of Mr. Michigan. He told me later that he’d stuffed his ponytail into a hairnet for the contest; bodybuilding is a conservative sport.
One day, we lifted weights side by side, silent but buzzing with sexual tension. His voice was so quiet, I had to strain to hear him. He offered me some Ritalin, explaining that it would give me a better workout. He dismissed my fear of a heart attack with a sly little smile.
I invited him to follow me home. It felt surreal as I glanced at his truck in my rear-view mirror. My husband was away on business. I was out of control.
After the first time, we settled into a routine. I would lead him into the bedroom, take off my clothes, and dreamily watch the action from outside my body. He was like a Warhol Superstar: He was Joe D’Allesandro, maybe after a lobotomy. He was as simple as he was beautiful. He was a blockhead.
He liked to come over after a shower, his hair still wet and a freshly rolled joint in his pocket. We didn’t have much to say, but sometimes he shared his peculiar ideas. He hoped for a huge earthquake, and planned to watch it from a hill near my house. He liked fat girls, so I found a catalog of lingerie for fat women, and we looked at it together laying in bed.
As time passed, I found myself resenting him for being so vacant and placid. I started to hate him, but he never noticed. He stared straight into my eyes when we made love, without blinking. It was thrilling, even though there was nothing to connect to.
Toward the end, I enjoyed mocking him, since it didn’t bother him. I ordered him to strike ridiculous bodybuilding poses, commenting on his gleaming white butt, which he carefully protected during his marathon tanning sessions.
I can’t remember how I broke things off. But he continued to show up at my door every so often, even long after I had remarried. One day, years later, he called me from some city up North to tell me that he’d never stopped thinking about me. I made him repeat it, that’s how surprised I was.
God only knows what I was looking for back then. But I didn’t find it in Mr. Michigan.