Yeah, no, thanks. Thanks for asking. It was a lot of fun, I guess. Actually it was a lot of sitting around.
I don’t know why we were there for so many days. The producer, Eric, I think he, well, I think he’s kind of a nervous guy and he wanted to have the, sort of, I guess, the most opportunities to get the footage they wanted.
Eric and me and a camera guy, Matt. I really liked the camera guy, actually.
I don’t know why.
He was married, so.
Obviously. I understand.
Thanks for saying I’m beautiful. Even people always being told how beautiful they are don’t always feel beautiful.
I’m not being sarcastic. When’s the last time your guts were all puffed up with gas and bloating and period and you thought, Yes, thank you, I am beautiful? And beauty, I don’t know. Isn’t there something about the unfamiliar in beauty? Like, my point, I guess, is that it’s always you across from you in the mirror so it’s hard to be all, Oh, wow. Beautiful. Though, let me say, when I saw the footage Matt got of me, I mean, even those little blond hairs I’ve only kept around because I’m afraid if I start going to war with them they will come back darker and coarser, in the footage Matt got even those seem kind a lovely. I mean, not like they are mine so. So I could step back and say, Objectively, those hairs look soft and beautiful and sexy and perfectly acceptable.
We were barely in the air before Matt and I had covered all that getting to know you shit. Like, No, Silva is actually a Portuguese name. Yes, I am a model, but I’m actually a musician, I’m trying to make it as a musician. Actually, Matt even joked like you joke. He actually said, Should be a winning combo.
No, I’m not shitting you.
Yeah, maybe that is why I took a liking to him, he’s a genius like my sista. Get this. He’s a music video director, too. He said maybe he could make me—
I told you he’s married.
No, I won’t stop saying that.
I hadn’t seen any of the videos he’s made, but we watched a bunch of them.
What do you mean where? On his computer.
Yes in his room. Was he supposed to bring his computer to the beach? Come on.
He left the door open and he sat in a chair.
Yes, okay. I lay on the bed. It doesn’t mean anything.
Are you going to let me tell you about my trip?
Right, so I was lying on the bed watching videos and I got really excited about his work so I went and grabbed my iPod from my room and we listened to “Home Wrecker” and “Just One Weekend.”
What do you mean, Of course you did? Of course we did because those are my only finished tracks.
No, not whatever. It’s true.
He wants to do a video for “Just One Weekend.” I’ve got to save up some money or talk to the label.
I can’t— I’m not talking to you anymore.
Yes. He did offer to do it for free, but he was just being nice.
Why are you asking if he had speakers in his room? No, he didn’t have speakers in his room.
No. No. No. We didn’t sit there with one ear bud in each of our ears our thighs lightly touching. He took the iPod over to his chair and I watched him listen. His phone buzzed a few times while he had the headphones on, but he didn’t hear it. He liked the songs and I was really happy he liked them. I don’t know what he was expecting. He even said, “I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t Alt Country.” We sat there for a sec, then I told him about his phone. After he checked it, I asked if it was Eric and he said, “No. It’s my wife. Facebook memory. I guess a year ago, one of my kids, my youngest kid was sick. Threw her milk up all over my wife.” He showed me the picture she sent. There was Milk puke, all white and chunky, sprayed on her gut and in her belly button. “Bull’s eye,” I said. He smiled like the joke wasn’t funny. We made eye contact. He said, “Sorry, that was a good one. I was just thinking about something else.”
Look, stop it. That is not what he was thinking about.
No, not of course. That is not of course what he was thinking about.
Why would you ask about what her belly looked like? His wife’s belly?
A person is more than her belly. I am more than my belly. She is more than her belly. It did look pretty good, though. For someone who’s had two kids.
The kids are super-cute. He showed me on the plane. I mean, I saw pictures a few different times. We were just sitting around so much, so what else are you going to do? But on the plane, he was talking to this guy across the aisle whose wife was pregnant. He had his phone out to show that guy pictures. It was really sweet. The guy was really into it, too. I mean, I would never just start a conversation with somebody like that.
I think, well, the woman was pregnant. Not super-pregnant, but one of those people, those women, who look like they’ve tucked a ball under their shirt. Something about their body type. Skinny ladies. Anyway, I guess it was unambiguous. Still I thought it was bold when Matt was like, “When are you due?”
No, totally. You wouldn’t— I mean on a bus or a streetcar or whatever, you wouldn’t automatically get up for this chick, ’cause, like, you might wonder about it—she’d have a coat on I guess, she didn’t have a coat on on the plane, I don’t think—but with a coat on, you would really not be sure. She wasn’t, like, holding her lower back or anything.
Okay, so, Matt asks, “When are you due?” and the husband jumps in, all super-sweet and proud. The wife, she looked relieved to not have to talk about it. She just put headphones in and pulled out a magazine.
So in between Matt and me getting to know each other, and Eric just sitting all tense by the window and occasionally interrupting to ask Matt if he remembered to bring this thing or that thing, Matt and this dad, the future dad, across the aisle are having these cute conversations. Like Future Dad would be like, How’s the sleeping thing? and Matt would give some answer like, Well, it sucks for a while and while it sucks you feel like the shitty times will never end, but then it doesn’t suck anymore and you can’t even remember what it was like when it sucked or how long it sucked for.
It wasn’t exactly that, I don’t think, but something like that. The part that was so interesting to me, though, was when the pregnant wife got up to go to the bathroom. He said. Well, what he said, that was something, but before he says it he looks me in the eyes then he sort of changes his focus a bit to take in all of me. Not in some sleazebag way. Still, it was hot, somehow, and I got this like rush of—feeling.
Yes, I did get— Yes. I was turned on.
I’m not being demure. Anyway, Matt’s look was like there was some calculating going on. Does that make sense? Like he was doing the old emotional math. Then he turns to the guy and tells him, essentially, to have as much sex now as he can because after the baby is born that’s it for a long time. It was amazing the way his words started piling up. He was talking fast, almost interrupting himself. Or like, it was like he’d had this five minute speech ready and rehearsed, but he’d only been given two minutes to speak.
I wish I’d been able to pay more attention, but Eric taps me from the other side and points to something out the window and asks me if I’ve ever been to Cuba. So I’m making small talk with him. When Matt finishes. I can see out of the corner of my eye that he’s sitting there awkwardly, his hands on his lap. Eventually he pulled out a book and started reading while I was listening to Eric talk about some Cuban metal band he saw at a festival on his three week road trip to see “the real Cuba.” It, actually, now that I’m talking about it, what Eric was saying was pretty interesting. Super interesting. But—
Matt did not want to fuck me.
Okay, sure, we were hitting it off. If he wanted to fuck me, he would have . . . I mean he would have done something to— To— Well, to do it. You know?
How could I miss it?
Think about it. Listen to you.
Shh. Okay okay. I am thinking about it.
What do you mean, Just tell me what you are thinking about?
Okay, fine. It’s actually like a montage. Do you ever wonder if we think like we think because of, whatever, TV and movies and such? Or if we—I don’t mean you and me, obviously, but like people. Mankind. Humankind— If we create things like montages because we have the technology now, but we’ve always had that way of thinking?
Fine. I’ll start describing the montage. Roll the film.
I have to close my eyes.
On the beach, he would never actually look at me, except really quickly. Or he might stare at a foot or something.
When I first walked out of my room with my bikini, that one—that hot pink one—he looked down at his feet and held his towel over his crotch.
On the beach, too, I could sometimes see his little man raise its head and flop over to the side as he tried to, you know. As he cleared his throat and shook his head at his open book.
No. See, I told you. There’s more— Actually, well. Although, that stuff’s sort of cute.
Then Matt had to shoot me for the commercial. Or Public Service Announcement or whatever. Eric had three bikinis for me to try on and I’m getting changed in Eric’s bathroom and I notice he’s got condoms in his open . . . his . . . those little, like, sometimes leather—
—yeah, toiletries bag. His open toiletries bag.
I go out in the first bikini and Eric and Matt scrutinize me and Eric is all asking questions like, “Don’t you think her breasts look too flat in that top?” and Matt’s like, “I see what you mean. Sure.” Then Eric would have me lie down on the bed, which made sense because I had to lie down in the video. He’d stand up on the bed, he’d get down on his hands and knees and look at my breast and my crotch. I flinched when he pointed between my legs and asked me to adjust my suit. Then he’d have me flip over and look at my ass. Each time he’d put hands on either side of me on the bed. I could feel him breathing on the back of my thighs.
Ew is right. With the first bikini he tried to get Matt to come over, but Matt said, “I can see from here.” Eric shook his head and snorted and, like, hot air and maybe some snot sprayed all over me. I actually used his hand towel to wipe it off before I put on the next suit.
As Eric was getting on the bed to check out the second suit, Matt’s phone starts ringing and he picks up.
You’re right. This totally isn’t a montage anymore.
Yep. A full-blown scene. Only I forget the dialogue, exactly, but I know that from what Matt said into his phone that Matt’s wife was missing work because one of the girls had a fever and that there was some other trouble. Matt went outside to finish the conversation and Eric was pissed about it, snorting like some bull or pig. Getting very barnyard. I told him, “I’ve gotta pee,” just so I could get out of there, out of that room with just Eric, and get myself behind a locked door. He wasn’t happy about it, but he lifted his arm and let me free. In the bathroom, I stole two of his condoms.
You’re right, Eric does sound like a creep, but—
No, I don’t carry condoms with me.
I just don’t. You think I have sex with people all the time?
You know I don’t. It’s not my style.
Ha-huh. . . . I— Uh. Yeah. Yeah. You got me. I was going to say that there were beautiful waiters and there were. Bartenders. Guys paid to dance with guests. But no, it was Matt. I was obviously thinking about the possibility.
We picked a bikini and we drove to a section of beach that Eric had found. Matt spent more time looking at the scenery than he spent looking at me when I was on that bed. Eric watched—
Nah it didn’t hurt my feelings.
I swear it didn’t.
You’re right, I noticed. Obviously, I noticed. I’m telling you about it. But it felt— I knew he’s trying to be respectful, right? I made sure he was watching when I stripped down to that bathing suit.
Yeah I did, for sure, and wiggled my hips into the bargain. As sexy as I got in me. Tried to channel my inner stripper.
Why thank you. I hope I did a great job.
That’s right. He got that shot of the little blond hairs. With the camera in his hand now, Matt’s crawling all over me, too. Straddling. So different, though. He apologized anytime his jeans brushed against me or this one time his elbow bumped into my thigh. Even apologized when he breathed on me.
Sure thing. You can take the Canadian out of Canada, but, no, can’t get that Canada out. Eric’s Canadian too, though. As far as I know, so.
’Kay, but there’s this other shot Matt got. It’s like, it’s not a zoom but the camera is moving up my legs, up between my thighs. A tracking shot? Anyway, my ass cheeks look like a pair of the Rocky Mountains.
In the best possible way.
Like I got booty.
Like that British guy, that British narrator, um—
Yeah, David Attenborough. Like David Attenborough’s gonna talk about the, what is it? Rain shadow? I think that’s it. The rain shadow of my ass.
Eric said, “Damn,” or something equally predatory and appreciative.
No man, I make him sound dangerous. I could take him.
Okay, last story.
Sorry. You have work to do. You’re trying to get a degree or something.
Happy to help you procrastinate, sis.
Alright. So, we are having dinner and Eric gets up to take a call from his partner—business partner—and Matt says, Let’s get the fuck out of here. We get out on the beach and there are all these other people walking up and down and it’s dusk and I actually fully forget myself and I wrap my arm around his arm.
I did forget myself. It was a mistake.
I’m not saying I wasn’t all for what it meant. Like, it was an action I could stand behind, an action that I meant, but not what I intended. It was too late, though, obviously.
Well, he squeezed his arm in towards his body and put his hand on mine. I looked up at his face, not sure I should take it to mean anything and he smiled and laughed and turned red. We sat down on the beach because, he said, “It’s hard to walk with an erection.”
Don’t tell me what he didn’t say.
I told you we didn’t have sex. Sleep together. Fuck. Didn’t I say that?
Sure, I had my hand on the inside of his thigh on a beach as the sun went down. I had my head on his shoulder. I laughed at his jokes. He’s talking about hard-ons and his hand is exploring by back and my side, even brushing the side of my breast as he plays his shaking fingers up my rib cage. It seemed bound to happen. He was shivering. I asked him if he wanted to go inside. “I’m not cold,” he said. “Let’s go inside,” I said.
We were walking back to the hotel hand in hand when he stopped. I was like what’s wrong and he went, “Agh.” We were like almost back to the hotel when he let go of my hand and said, “Sorry. Someone is texting me like crazy.” I stood ahead of him a few steps. He looked strange in the blue light from his phone. I saw him shaking his head. I didn’t want to ask what the texts were all about, who they were from. Mood is a thing. For him, but also for me. I’m not some home wrecker. I’m not the girl from my song.
No, I’m not. I’m just a free person trying to get with another free person.
What do you mean, Nobody’s free? That’s a bit philosophical for you, isn’t it?
That’s a point. Obviously that’s the issue, right?
You don’t need me to tell you that it was his wife. Texting. She was really sick and his girls were sick, too. “I told her to call my mom,” he said, irritated. “She’s asking if there’s any way I can come home sooner.”
He couldn’t look at me. His eyes would find me for a minute—for a millisecond—then he’d look out at the ocean or up at the sky. He might have been crying. He told me he was sorry, he wasn’t feeling well. He repeated that he was sorry, squeezed my shoulder and walked off towards his room.
Ha ha. Um. Yeah. No I didn’t come home with the condoms.
I told you that I didn’t sleep with Matt.
Not some hot Cuban, either.
Eric, obviously. I don’t know why. It wasn’t very good.
He wasn’t, he’s not, dangerous.
I think I’d just prepared myself to sleep with someone.
Don’t call me that. You should know better.
Sure. I’m sure you could guess. He came too soon. Not that I think I was going to come. I wasn’t that comfortable with him, that’s what I’ll say. I’ve got to be comfortable with a person, feel like they aren’t judging me if I’m going to come.
I think Matt had the same flu his family got. He stayed in his room our last day. And Eric got kinda possessive. The flight home was way less fun. We all took a cab together.
Eric was trying to convince Matt to come in the cab and he kept saying no, no, no. Then Eric went to the bathroom and Matt started saying goodbye to me. I asked him to come with us. He didn’t say anything, just nodded. Eric got back from the bathroom and said, “Okay then, Matty. I’ll call you later.” Matt said he was coming in the taxi and Eric acted all surprised.
I know you gotta go. I just. Let me finish. We dropped Eric off at his office. So, Matt lives sort a around the corner from me. The cab went to his house next. I told him, Well it was nice to meet you. He nodded. Said the same thing back. He wasn’t looking at me at all. We stopped in front of his house. “Guess, I’ll see you,” he said. I told him where I lived. “Maybe I’ll see you,” he said. He squeezed my hand, opened the door, then got out. Before he closed the door, he pointed to my hand and said, “You should probably wash that.”
Maybe it was because he was sick. Maybe.
Toronto, Feb. 2016
Emoji sequence: writer, director and music video maker Scott Cudmore
Story: Lee Sheppard