The Wrong Kind of Music

by Phil Good

Brian and Nan in Bed,  New York City, 1983

He'd opened her bedroom window, Diana discovered. She could hear the cars whizzing by on the rain-slicked street outside.

"Is that all right?" he called from the bathroom.

"I love fresh air," she lied cheerfully.

"Reminds me of the theme from The Bodyguard," he said, stepping out of the bathroom, toweling himself dry.

"Pardon me?" She looked him over carefully, surprising herself by her lack of embarrassment. Flat stomach, smooth skin, every bit as adorable as when she'd first seen him dancing earlier that evening.

"The song. I had this other girl friend once. We'd come home from a date and were making out on the couch, you know, like the two of us were a few minutes ago. This schmaltzy song was playing on this old radio she had, a big wooden monster left over from the ‘60s, something about eternal love. I asked her what the song was."

"The theme from The Bodyguard," Diana said, turning from where she'd been hanging up his pants and shirt in her closet, "I haven't heard it in years."

"I hadn't heard it at all. Must have been on top 40. She asked me what kind of music I listened to."

"What kind of music do you listen to?" Diana asked, trying to draw him into the here and now.

He sidestepped her question and looked around the room.

"I need the shirt." Taking it from the closet where Diana had hung it up, he let his towel slip, uncared for, to the floor. "Just to cover my shoulders. Anyhow, I came into the kitchen the next morning for breakfast and she's got my station playing on the radio. Same thing when I saw her again that evening."

I'm really not interested, Diana thought as she studied the towel. Why do you imagine I want to hear about your last conquest? Talk to me. Talk to me the way you were talking to me downstairs, about how beautiful I am, how you like my laugh, how you want to spend the night clinging to my breasts.

She'd been taken instantly by his voice, deep, warm, resonant. Now, it just droned on.

"We pretty much spent every night of those first weeks by ourselves, weekends dancing, weekdays cuddling while she worked on her lesson plans—her students were a grade ahead of yours, by the way, fourth instead of third. "Then, one day, she announces she'd like to give a dinner party, make use of all those fancy recipes of hers. I ask what I can do to help, and she tells me not to worry, she has everything under control. Put me off a little."

He'd put his shirt back on, and slipped under the covers as cool as you please. I guess that means he’s spending the night with me, Diana thought inanely.

"You start spending weeks together with one person and you begin to think you and that person are one. Not this time. I show up on the afternoon of the party, a Friday I think, with a bouquet of flowers and she puts them aside, not even in water, because they don't fit into her decor or something. I'd come early, figuring we might mess around before dinner, but, no, she's got plans for that time, too. Long warm bath, hour and a half putting on her dress.

"It's a great meal—I'll give her credit for that—but I'm bummed because I'm not part of it. Part of the decor maybe, along with the pewter candlesticks and the damask tablecloth, but not part of her household, not the significant other I'd imagined myself to be.

"The guests who rate all this fuss consist of a single couple, John-somebody, who she works with and is always talking about, and his wife. My girl and John talk continuously, about work mainly, while John's wife pouts, looking as left out and upset as I feel.

"I make one nasty comment—about the string beans being canned, not fresh, and, well, I fall asleep after dinner. She isn’t pleased. We're in the bedroom—God, we even make love, and she says she's sorry, she doesn't think it's going to work out. I put my clothes back on, check my hair in the mirror, and when I come out, the radio is back on her station, W A V E, the Waaaave, with Kenny G and Whitney Houston to see me to the door."

Diana crossed to the closet as he finished his sentence and took out the pants and shirt she'd just put away. Now, she held them out to him.

"I hope you won't be too upset," she said, "But I seem to be coming down with something. It probably would be best if you didn't spend the night here after all."

As he clumped angrily down the stairs, she closed her bedroom window, shutting out the noise.