I had traveled through the dead of night to a house that was located far south of the city where I had no experience of streets or directions. The snow still lingered in an unholy bargain with salt that had been spread days earlier by the city. The destination was a weary looking nineteen-fifties ranch home on a street of the same that was on its third set of owners. The walkway was only partially shoveled leaving my shoes wet and dirty by the time I got though the front door. They were the first article of clothing that I recalled removing, and later, the last to be found. I had hope to meet someone that I had some slight level of acquaintance with but was quickly disappointed. The rules of these affairs providing for a certain degree of acceptance even to those who were demonstrably far outside the usual circle permitting me to stay unhindered as well as for the most part, equally unacknowledged. The lights were low and it became apparent that the space was inhabited by several distinct crowds centered around a particular roommate. Each section being a sort of Balkan state where one couple or alternately a small ensemble were engaged in some form of intimate form of conversation or intercourse. I was soon happy to take refuge with the help of an unattended rocker in the living room a small drink tightly in my grasp.
I must have dozed off because when I awoke I was shocked to find most of the other guests had departed in the interim to other locales hidden within the space or to return to their own homes. That uneasy feeling of being a fish well passed its freshness setting in quickly within the room’s twilight. Leaning forward in the chair finding a couple of disrobed dispassionate young women going at it on the rug just beside me with an abandoned fueling my sense of indecisiveness to not attempt to disappear genie-like with a poof. The other end of the equation being to take a risk and follow through disrobing myself and throw caution to the wind by presenting myself, such as I was, to the equation. My libido nearly spun me physically around my own axis. Another maiden of extraordinary natural gifts was to my horror in residence just opposite lost in some narcotic bliss. Being the lifelong social coward timid of the uncomfortable possibilities of instantaneous rejection involving both scorn or succor from the police. I retreated towards the hall finding it equally disturbing that I no longer had either socks pants or shirt to comfort my distress. With as much stealth as possible I tiptoed away trying as hard as I could to create no disturbance that might give away my presence to any other recreationally foaling couples.
The bed and floor of the back bedroom was a confusion of scattered clothing. I rummaged incessantly about in the dark the only illumination coming through a narrow gap in the drapery. At any moment, another set of writing torsos might be unearthed beneath rumpled garments and a protest raised. But something was now evident that I had not counted upon. I was either high or dead drunk or both. My vision seemed phantasmagorical going in and out not reliably reporting with any verifiable accuracy the shapes and colors of articles of regular wear that might belong solely to me. Profound embarrassment was a phantom hounding me with the thought of an irate hand unexpectedly switching on a light and demanding to know what a barely dressed middle aged man was doing on his hands and knees going through everyone’s clothing? One by one I strangled socks and exhumed various garments from the gnarled piles of same strewn about. Almost attired save for socks, I brought my trajectory towards the exit at the end of the hall only to be shocked by the fact that a couple of the garments seemed ill fitting and were not mine. Secretly, though I was loathe to give in to admit it, I was still emotionally back in the lounge eyeing with wonder the unashamed nakedness of on of the ‘Scheherazade’s’ reclining in the shadows. Some sense of wicked secret delight told me to embrace the consequences, and tear off these rags and go stumbling forward, come what may! Had I not been so pathetic, or inconveniently a nuisance to a couple of the houses occupants, I might have followed through.
There in the light from an open bathroom door the two of them recently refreshed took very demonstrable pity on my plight. Under their watchful gaze, I redoubled my efforts to find the right combination of lawful garments, stymied only at the end by the elusive departure of one of my shoes. It took a long list of styles of men’s oxfords and women’s pumps till I realized that I was not looking in the front hall but a side bedroom and thereby leading to further confusion. Had there been a harlequin’s cap to don, I would have reluctantly accepted same at that moment. The bitter cold of the hour before dawn seemed a relief like some sort of just scourge for the inadvertent buffoonery that I had so foolishly fallen afoul of. My only regret being an unfulfilled desire to have risked reputation and plunged into the unknown of that lounge and straight into that unattended naked woman’s arms.