R.E. Hengsterman | Daniele Murtas
Doubt has a subtle way of creeping into one’s subconscious- a skillful saboteur needing only a small crack to thieve ones confidence in buckets. I didn’t plan on starting my day this way; questioning my manhood. I’ve got big plans tonight and no time for doubt. But it’s come to that now; a persistent nagging doubt revealing itself between my morning piss and tooth brushing, reducing me to a weak, pathetic man. You know the saying, be careful what you wish for lest it come true. Well, that’s where I find myself.
A few weeks back I chatted up this twenty-year-old girl at work. It wasn’t the usual flirting. The dating scene had changed thanks to social media. And I was way out of the loop - unskilled in all forms of sexting, Tinder and Snap Chat. No, this was an actual human to human conversation. I suppose that’s why she gave me the time of day. We talked about music, art, movies and books we’ve read. She got none of my jokes. I got none of her social media references. We spoke different social languages. But despite our differences, the flirting continued. I spent afternoons listening to her denounce the dating scene and offered what advice I could. Last week she invited me over for sex. No dinner, no drinks. She just said, “Bring a condom.”
My first thought was this can’t be happening. Mind you, I’m fifty and divorced, two kids. Opportunities in the young hot female category don’t exist in my world. This was a rare opportunity; a Black Swan. She told me if I was thirty years younger, and on Tinder - we’d match. Not sure what that meant, so I played it cool while my excitement sky rocketed.
What the hell was I thinking? Out of bed, I struggled to knock out twenty push-ups. Gasping for breath with my gut peeking over my shorts, I caught a glimpse myself in the mirror and realized I may have overreached. It’s been nine months since I’ve had sex with someone my age and decades since I’d seen a twenty-year-old naked. Nevertheless, I leave the house with sex on my mind. But at some point during the drive the mental mind fuck of waning self-confidence distracts my driving until a single, large drop of rain splats the windshield, dragging me back to the present. With each subsequent passing mile more of my confidence drains.
There’s been a massive storm looming and the minute I pull into the parking lot the sky collapses, releasing everything trapped within the gray. I watch the rain water carry street trash into the storm drain. I would be better suited to disappear into the drain myself. But I refuse to leave. And for whatever reason the rain washes away the last vestige of my confidence. A reasonable person takes this as a sign; apocalyptic rain on the way to meet a lover. But not me, I’m not that smart. Instead, I sit in my car and draw comfort in the isolation and the pit-pat-pit sound of rain tapping the roof. I use the opportunity to buy time for the stimulants to work, lowering the window and extending my arm to catching rain drops. The water feels cool and alive, and I allow a small puddle to pool in my hands, using what I collect to rinse the sweat from my face. You see, I’d prepared for such an event - the lack of confidence and the responsiveness of my erection. I’d watched the infomercials and seen the gas station counter filled with sexual enhancement pills. They can’t sell if it didn’t work right? So, I stopped at a gas station on the way and waited for the line of customers to shrink to make my buy. As I loiter in the corner, behind and end-cap of pork rinds I find myself asking the question, “What the fuck am I doing?”
Back in the car I realize there’s not going to be an epiphany. So, I take matters into my own hands and try to build my confidence with a pep-talk
“I am a man,” I say aloud. “This is what men do!”
The pep talk does nothing and deep inside I breakdown. Anxiety fills the void left by the departure of my confidence, and I begin to sweat. I’m uncomfortable and damp in the wrong places with efficient cotton boxers collecting moisture in my crotch. I steady my hands and swallow two more gas station erection pills - guaranteed stronger erections the display says. A wave of nausea follows the ingestion. The package says two pills every 12 hours. I wait fifteen minutes and swallow two more. I toss the empty package on the seat as my heart sprints.
“I’m a man,” I repeat while staring into the rear-view mirror of my car.
With the concoction of Chinese herbs on board, I work myself into a frenzied state; rocking sideways and forward in my seat, squeezing the steering wheel hard and praying. The rectal pressure brings a hint of stiffness and I know it’s time. I pause for a moment and watch the porch light, the rain, and windshield fuse into a kaleidoscope of distortion. And I question whether I’ve overdosed myself on the blue pills. I rub my eyes and offer one final plea. Saying, “get hard motherfucker, get hard!” The radio plays an unfamiliar song, the wipers dance, and a pathetic feeling taunts me as I turn off the engine and head inside.
How did I become this limp weak man? I don’t have time now to go into great detail, but it’s a long, sad story. I will say I’m no longer myself and haven’t been for a while. But we can get into that later. Right now, I must chase the growing tingle in my cock.
Once inside the apartment we speak a few words. It’s more of a transaction. I rush to undress before my erection retreats, and I beg the same from her using words that hide my desperation. I shut the bedroom door and disappear into her.
When I awake, I find her legs tangled between mine. Misfired semen is still damp on her satin sheets and the subtle burden of her finger tips traces across my chest. I find her ear in the darkness and whisper I love you to soften the disappointment I know she must be feeling. That should fix everything. And I am forever grateful.