The sentence Sparkle wrote on the back of the page was a blunt proposition. It was taken from the main character in the story of mine that she was critiquing. The tale involved a guy, a girl, a cheap motel, and the proposal of an evening of vigorous copulation. I looked at what she wrote and laughed. She was about the only woman I’d met at that point in my life who would write such a thing to a guy she didn’t really know—joke or otherwise.
I drank my beer and wondered if she was serious or being a goof. It was just part of her flamboyant nature. Maybe I’d call her bluff. Maybe I’d ignore it and see if she ever brought it up. A couple weeks went by and I saw her in class a couple times a week. The only time we talked to each other was as we departed the English building and there were always other people walking along with us. Her daring proposition turned into something that was no longer in the front of my brain.
One late Friday afternoon I had finished some work in the Radio-TV building and cut through the student union on the way across campus to where my car was parked. I had nothing fun planned for the weekend but I was looking forward to sitting out in my lonely little apartment outside of town and reading, maybe watching some sports on TV, studying, jerking off. The usual stuff you do when you live alone and nobody is coming over to visit.
I looked in the direction of my name and saw Sparkle sitting on a couch with a friend of hers. I walked over to them, she introduced her friend, brief chit-chat ensued, then the friend looked at Sparkle and said she needed to get going. Byes all around. Off she went.
"Have a seat, Wil,” Sparkle said.
I dropped onto the couch. I looked at her and couldn’t think of a single bit of small talk that she wouldn’t mock. She, on the other hand, had no problem getting the conversation started.
“Do you read the comments that people write on your stuff?” she asked.
“Some of it. Mostly it sounds like they didn’t read it. They just write sumpthin’ because they’re s’posed to,” I said.
“I know what you mean. You never write anything interesting on my papers, Wil.”
“I try to,” I said, “I guess I’m not very good at constructive criticism.”
“Are my comments about your writing constructive?”
“Some have been quite eye-opening,” I said.
“Oh?” Sparkle said.
“You busy tonight?” she said.
“Nope.” I said.
“Wanna?” she asked.
“I’m not paying for a motel, Sparkle. But I have a nice apartment and no roommates.”
She stood up. Grabbed her huge shoulder bag, and a stack of books off the couch and looked down at me.
“Let’s go,” she said.
On the drive to my place we stopped at a DQ to eat. Farther up the road Sparkle asked me to stop at a small strip shopping center. She ran into a drugstore and came out in a few minutes with a small paper bag. When she got back into my little two-seater I looked at her with a questioning look.
“Tooth brush,” she said.
“What? Are ya fuckin’ movin’ in or sumpthin’?”
“No! Jerk. I care about oral hygiene! You do own toothpaste I can borrow, right?”
“I suppose,” I said.
As we were clomping up the stairs on the outside of my apartment I considered that this was a really bad idea. More than it being a bad idea, it had crossed my mind that it wasn’t my idea. Not long ago I was musing about calling her bluff. She had called mine and then some.
Still, walking behind her on the stairs I realized that there was a lot to work with when it came to Sparkle. A helluva lot.
I showed her around the apartment and Sparkle said, “About what I figured. Too neat. Too orderly.”
“Sorry. I could mess stuff up if it would make you feel more comfortable.”
“I’m not uncomfortable at all,” she said.