Colliding worlds

Matt is my intimate but knows nothing about me while Eileen the acquaintance knows everything.


Tracy Quan
November 1, 1999 10:00PM (UTC)

Nov. 1, 1999

Saturday afternoon, Sept. 11

Dessert with Matt was a romantic antidote to Eileen's troubling
observations -- despite the question crossing my mind from time to
time: "What would he say if he found out?" I couldn't quite shake
it no matter how I tried.

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Like two naughty kids, Matt and I sat on my bed, sipping champagne
and nibbling on pastries. I have about a dozen extra sheets -- I
use them to protect my personal bedclothes when a client
comes over -- and I had opened a fresh one to use as a kind of
picnic blanket with Matt. So we were having our midnight snack
on a clean sheet that I've used many times with various johns.
Nervy maybe, but I had a strange thought:
Even though I'm lying to my boyfriend about my work, this
is my way of sharing my hidden life with him -- a private romantic
gesture.

"You're so organized," Matt remarked playfully. "Your bed's always
perfectly made up."

This brought me back to reality -- his reality.
I was startled and made a mental note to look less organized --
perhaps I should unmake my bed, to appear more natural, more
normal?

"I just like to keep things neat," I said, unable to stop myself
from picking up a stray pastry crumb. Could excessive tidiness give
my game away? I've always noticed that people in the straight world
aren't quite so fastidious as working girls.

"So," he asked, toying with my bra strap and slipping it down
against my shoulder. "What kind of trouble is your friend in? Which
one of your mysterious girlfriends is it this time?"

As we sat in the candlelight, it was Eileen's hypothetical comment
(not her present problem with Tom Winters) that came back to
me: What would Matt say if he knew what I really do? Would there be
an ugly, insulting break-up with lots of name-calling? Or would he,
like some guys, just go silent and brood for weeks on end?

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"Eileen's having a hard time," I told Matt, "and she swore me to
secrecy."

"Eileen -- I don't think you've mentioned her before."

I tried to imagine how I would explain Eileen to Matt -- he would
never understand how I came to know a girl so ... different from me.
Eileen has exchanged johns with me over the years because we
both have that Oriental look but all we have in common is our
work. Her life revolves around her family in Queens, her
baseball season tickets and bigger, better household gadgets. She
looks and dresses like any other Manhattan call girl -- but when
you get to know her, you start realizing that she hasn't completely
made the transition. The only plays she sees are Broadway shows
that tourists go to, like "Miss Saigon." Whenever I've been to her
apartment, the mammoth TV set is on -- two stations at once -- and
she thinks I'm odd because I never bother to upgrade my own TV.

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If I married Matt, I could find a way to stay friends with Jasmine
and Allison, but how would I go about introducing Eileen to my
straight friends? Everybody would ask: "How do you know her?"
You can't mix girlfriends from the business with straight
people unless they blend in easily. Eileen's too provincial --
I would have to "drop" her. In fact, she wouldn't even be
interested in my straight friends. If one of us stopped
working, she wouldn't bother to stay in touch, either.
Picturing this for the first time, I felt very sad and quiet --
as if someone had died.

I looked at Matt and pulled him toward me, explaining, "I'm sorry
I had to stand you up but she was upset -- and she's my friend. I
wish I could tell you --" But I felt sort of stifled, trying to
explain the urgency of this thing that I couldn't risk saying.

"It's OK," he said, gently removing my bra. "You can put it out
of your
mind for now." Matt has that slick ability with a bra hook that
very few
guys seem to have.

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Then, as he touched my breasts, I closed my eyes and remembered a
trick I
once turned with Eileen
-- we were kneeling on either side of my bed, this
bed, in our heels and stockings. Eileen's mouth was very busy. We
were
taking turns and her client was taking his time. We had used my
apartment
to see Eileen's date because hers was being painted that week. All
these
random details ran through my mind while I was kissing Matt: the
way
Eileen's mouth looked opening up around a man's cock, the color she
was
painting her walls (she had shown me a color sample), the thickness
of her
client's erection -- it challenged our jaws just a little -- and
the way I
had to keep adjusting my knees so my high heels wouldn't scuff the
wall ... Matt has no idea how intimate I've been with this girl
he's never met, even though Eileen and I don't think of it as
intimate. We never discuss anything larger than business or
boyfriends -- but maybe this is not a small thing: having men
as our common medium.

The idea of Matt observing my bestockinged self at work made my
nipples hard. When Matt reached down to play with me, he mumbled,
"God, you're wet," and I became extremely pliant. He couldn't know
what I was thinking about, but he realized -- I felt it in the
handling of my body -- that I was in a slutty, reckless mood.

Monday September 13

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First the good news -- Allison has enticed her subletter into
leaving by
using the money she had put aside to pay April. "I'm no longer a
homeless
hooker!" she said cheerfully, when I arrived at her 85th Street
apartment.
She was standing amid the clutter left behind by her tenant, an
itinerant
geek with a fondness for Mars Bars. Candy wrappers were
everywhere.

"He was very nice when I told him I needed the apartment back but
-- well,
you shouldn't rent to single guys," she said, staring ruefully at
the
computer manuals and comic books littering her carpet. "I just
couldn't
stay at Liane's anymore -- she's so controlling!"

"It's going to take three days to make this place
suitable for seeing johns," I said. "Who the hell was
this guy? He stashed all your
mail on top of the fridge!"

"Mostly junk mail," Allie said, pulling down a stack of dusty
envelopes.
And that's when we both spied the envelope from the Treasury
Department,
hand-addressed in that familiar scrawl. "What's this?" she said,
looking at
the postmark -- "July! This must have arrived just after I moved
out!"

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Tracy Quan

Tracy Quan is the author of "Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl."

MORE FROM Tracy Quan


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