Chet Baker

I listen to a lot of Chet Baker. What follows is a short story about how I feel while listening.

Look at him sitting down in his apartment. A cigarette hangs loosely from his lip. Isn’t that good? I look at his hands. Weathered but strong; his hands seem to be an extension of his soul, they’re perfect. His wrists are delicate, they move in a fine articulate sort of way. his eyes pour into mine. I see the boy I first fell in love with; now husband, Chet. A glance of his can kill me from across the room. It’s like he is there standing before me like an open, unguarded child. He looks at me offering love. He asks if I would like to go into town for breakfast this morning. I love the way he asks me that. Every time he says it he says it like he doesn’t realize I know how lucky I am. We are in love. Chet is a man with lots of love. He loves everything he does. Nobody loves a trumpet, like Chet love a trumpet; I think it’s fair to say no one has ever loved Chet like I love Chet, and Chet loves me. We have the kind of love you can’t get anywhere else. We have the kind of love that takes lovin. Summer night’s I’ll strip naked and feel the cool breeze touch my hips and my breasts. I get naked for him and him for me. I’ll open the veranda door and I’ll open the window in the bathroom and I’ll soak in the tub with a candle and warm whiskey. Chet will sit on the toilet; play the trumpet for me till the water’s no longer hot. Over the years I’ve made my bed into our bed. I’ve had him like a bull; I’ve also had him in my bed, naked, innocent and crying like a cat. head in my-lap he’s cried. I’d sit there running my hand through his greasy jet-black hair. While he cried I watched. His curled toes, his thighs tense, his heart beating fast. I saw all this and loved.

Annie? okay, I’ll admit I loved her first for her looks; but that was only for a second, ok? I mean it. and ok, i’ll admit maybe at first I didn’t realize what she was going to be, but come on… you must admit that kind of a day is not your normal run-of-the-mill kind of day. She just sort of looked at me and said” Who are you? and I said hi, i’m chet. and she said “Who are you Chet?” And I said well I’m working on that but I promise to you that I’ll always be me and she just looked at me, asked me if I meant it, I said yes. She paused for a moment and said: “okay Chet, I’m fine with that so long as you promise not be ever be anyone else.” We both laughed. Ever since that moment we’ve been inseparable. She takes me dancing once a week and I just wait every day for her to come home to hear about it. I don’t know what to say, I love her all the same. She makes my hands and my arms feel good. She gives me the courage to play. I think about her and i think about the way she looks at me. She knows after every single day she has me and glass of something waiting for her at home. We’re partners her and me. I take her to Santa Fe and we listen to Willie Nelson driving through the desert. We’re partners. Souls. We may as well be driving through our lives in black and white. That’s how much all of this means to me.

Feeling washed out by the sun we both are dressed light. it’s a perfect day to enjoy. the kind of summer day where the plants and the vegetation and the asphalt seem to be radiating color; everything slightly amplified. We aren’t in the middle of things and we aren’t no-where. our lives meaningless to everyone but us. Chet has a tiny old convertible that probably wouldn’t drive much past 80 miles before it breaks down. He keeps in serviceable condition for days like this. I must admit it feels exhilarating and I even encourage him. I’ll put on a bonnet and take pictures of us for later in our lives and I’ll point to him and say: Look! how we were happy! I imagine him looking back and telling me “We still are” and I’ll believe him. I won’t tell anyone else this but on these kind of days I’ll leave the top button of my blouse unbuttoned; it’s for him, I catch him looking. His hand is placed on my exposed knee while wearing my white shorts; The wind hits my face and it all feels good.

Sometimes I would wander throughout america. on a bike, just lost; trying to find myself. I think Annie sort of saved me. even though I hadn’t even met her yet. I know that sounds so crazy. I would listen to music and I would cry I was so lonely. I was a true believer and I had no idea that you could meet a person and feel that way. I grew up on the road, matured on the road. I became a man sleepin in the dirt and I would cry and look at the stars. when I met Annie I finally met someone worth crying for. She was a sunset. She encompassed my life in shades of red and purple. She is the only person I let my guard down for. Even here, I’m not completely honest. I’m telling you truths of a kind but only Annie knows the real truth, my truth; and if nothing else, she is the only person on this earth who is going to have ever lived knowing the real truth. That’s an intimacy I’ll never give to anyone else, even you, with no desire to offend.

We’re sitting down and having coffee. I feel like we are in a movie. Everyone else is out of focus, extras except for us; we are clearly and sharply defined. he has on a red shirt and mustard orange pants and some comfortable shoes. Sometimes when he isn’t around I’ll orgasm to the thought of us having children together. I think of how he will be to them. I think of how he will hold me and how he will hold my children. Life is good. I’ll have another cup.

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