This is Part One of a two-part story.
I wish she hadn’t tried so hard. Maybe if Madi Adams hadn’t tried so hard, I wouldn’t have taken her for granted. I know — it sounds like I’m blaming her. I’m really not. There’s no question — what happened was entirely my fault. Still, if Madi hadn’t tried so hard, I think I would have better appreciated the things that she did for me, all of the things.
Simply put, Madi liked me too much, certainly more than I deserved, and because she had so much affection for me, she did everything she could to please me. Unfortunately, because of all those things that she did to me and for me, I think she spoiled me.
You might be asking yourself — how could being on the receiving end of a woman’s affections, excessive or otherwise, be a problem? I’ve been asking myself that same question a lot lately. I know, it doesn’t make any sense, and it is evidence of how truly fucked up my thinking was at the time.
It’s ironic, because Madi always told me how lucky she was to be with me. I realize now that I was the lucky one, not her. Unfortunately, I was too stupid, immature, and self-absorbed to understand all that when we were together.
I guess that’s human nature. As the saying goes, “you don’t miss your water ’til your well runs dry.” Boy, did my well run dry! But I’m getting off the subject; that’s a whole different story, and right now, I really want to talk about Madi.
When I first met Madi, I guess I was just another jerkstick who didn’t know what he wanted, and so when I was done taking everything that she had to offer, I let our relationship fizzle out. That was bad enough, because Madi was probably as kind, loving, and sweet as any girl I’ve ever known, and that should have satisfied anyone, even me.
But what really bothers me is that if I was going to let it all fall apart, I should at least have told her how I really felt about her. Like I said, it’s ironic, after what I’ve just confessed, but the truth is that what I felt most was genuine fondness. I enjoyed being with her, liked Madi for a lot of reasons besides the blatantly over-the-top sexuality that, it seemed to me, was at the core of our relationship. I wish I had told her how I felt. I owed her that much. I probably owed her a lot more.
I know now that what Madi was really looking for was love, and, like so many guys my age, I was looking for sex, and, guess what, when I met Madi, that’s exactly what I found! Years later, I figured it out, figured out that she was in love with me all those years ago.
She never said so — was probably too afraid, because, as we all know, telling someone whose own feelings are a mystery to you that you love them — well, that’s a pretty big gamble. Madi was a lot of things, but she wasn’t a gambler. In the end, she never said it, and I was too dumb to read between the lines.
I was first introduced to Madi by her older sister Libby. Libby was married to a friend of mine Tommy Hayes, and Libby was friends with my younger sister Lizzie, even before Libby and Tommy met. Lizzie and Libby graduated from high school together, two years after I graduated from the same school.
When I was a senior and they were both sophomores, I can’t count the number of times that I skipped out of school with one friend or another, heading over to my mother’s presumably empty house to get high, only to find Lizzie and Libby already there with a joint or bong blazing.
Unbeknownst to me, Madi was a freshman that same year. I didn’t know very many freshmen, so I don’t remember her. She, on the other hand, told me later — the morning after our first time together — that she remembered me… quite well apparently.
Anyway, those trips to get high during school were my first introduction to Libby, and the impression that she made on me on those occasions was pretty well cemented in my brain once she started dating my friend Tommy. Even though she was two years younger than I was, I realized right away that Libby was a wild child, who had no trouble keeping up with me or anybody else, for that matter. She was also really pretty.
I always liked Libby, and there was little doubt that she liked me, too. A few summers later after Libby had graduated from high school and had been dating Tommy for a year or so, I received an unexpected invitation to their wedding. I was in college that year, but that particular summer I was working in Lincoln, which meant I had to make a trip back home that weekend in order to attend the “big” event. I was excited to go — figured it would be a pretty crazy party — but I have to confess that I had my doubts the moment I received that wedding announcement.
Libby was only 19 at the time, a year removed from high school. It was late in the summer, and it seemed like the wedding had been really hastily thrown together. I didn’t get the invitation until a week beforehand. Maybe it was that, or a whole host of other things, but deep down inside, I knew it was a crazy idea — Libby marrying Tommy.
For Escort bayan one thing, Libby was way too young to be getting married. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, anyone who is 19 years old is too young to be getting married! In addition, Tommy was several years older than I was, so the age difference between the two was something like five years — not a big a deal at all if the younger of the two is in his or her mid-to-late 20s or early 30s, but a whole lot more of an issue if one person is 24 and the other is 19.
Still, it wasn’t age that was the real problem. Both Tommy and Libby had wandering eyes and short attention spans, and Tommy was just way too set in his ways to ever be a good husband to any woman. I just knew that marriage wasn’t going to last.
There is a photograph from their wedding reception that I saw a number of years later. It is a picture of Libby and me. I have my arm around her, and Libby has on this really nice dress, not a wedding gown, mind you, but a beautiful dress, nonetheless, and she was really made up — hair, makeup, manicure, pedicure — the whole kit and caboodle. She looked great! We both have these incredibly huge grins on our faces. Truth be told, we were both drunk and that explains those crazy smiles, but it wasn’t just that we’d been drinking. Apparently, the connection on display in that photo revealed something a lot deeper and more profound.
Years later, when Libby was seducing me one night, she told me a story about that photograph. It seems her grandmother saw the picture a few weeks after the wedding, and her grandmother told Libby right then and there in front of her entire family, including Madi — that the man in that picture with her was the man that she should have married. He was “going somewhere” she told Libby. Tommy, she said, clearly wasn’t going anywhere.
Tommy was one of my best friends, but by the time Libby told me that story, it had already been confirmed that both her grandmother and I were right. After only a year of marriage, Libby ran off with Larry, another one of Tommy’s friends. They moved to Minneapolis, and Libby divorced Tommy.
I had long known that she was desperate to get out of town, and even more significantly, that she really wanted to go to college. That was never going to happen as long as she was married to Tommy. All this occurred years and years ago, and Tommy has already had a second marriage and whole lot of other relationships fail since then, and he’s still exactly where he was then — same shitty job, same shitty house, same shitty life.
Tommy was just a poor guy from the wrong part of town that was born with “a hyper-developed proclivity for negative aspiration” — that was Tommy’s own self-analysis — but it translated into a simple reality: Tommy tried hard to be unsuccessful. The crazy part is that he was brilliant, especially for someone of such limited education. He read voraciously and was a really talented, street poet in the vein of Rimbaud, Ginsberg, or Bukowski.
At the same time, he seemed to believe that he could only be a true artist by struggling, and so, every time he had a chance to dig himself out of the hole he was in, Tommy, it seemed to me, tried to derail his chances for something better.
Tommy never did anything to help himself, and anybody else’s suggestions for college or any other form of self-improvement were met with utter derision. More times than I can count Libby and I and a whole lot of his friends told him what a good poet he was, and we frequently tried to buck him up in one way or another, but the encouragement always seemed to engender Tommy’s condescension such that you began to question whatever it was that you were doing with your own life, rather than Tommy considering some way to improve his own. The bottom line is that sometimes it was hard to be Tommy’s friend, much less, I presume, his lover, and so it was no surprise when he failed to be a husband with whom any woman could stay in love.
But this story isn’t about Libby or Tommy. It’s about Madi, and the only reason I told you all that stuff about Libby and Tommy’s wedding is because that was the first time that I met Madi Adams.
She and Libby look a lot alike — the sibling resemblance is pretty obvious, especially considering they’re only a year apart age-wise. Both were very slender with average sized breasts, though Madi’s were a little bit bigger than Libby’s. Both had these wonderfully taut asses that looked really amazing when they were shaking and shimmying.
Both had angular facial features and big, white, toothy smiles, though Libby had a really pronounced overbite that made her teeth even more of a focus on her young, pretty face. They both had long, brunette hair; caramel brown eyes; and slender, pointed noses suspended over plump, pink lips. And they both had these amazing eyebrows, really thin and dark, but perfectly proportional. But besides Libby’s overbite, there was one other noticeable physical difference between them.
On Bayan Escort the left side of Madi’s neck, she had a rose-colored birthmark about the size and shape of two quarters laid side by side and barely overlapping. It wasn’t that noticeable because Madi usually wore something around her neck — a sweatshirt, a collared blouse, or one of those sexy chokers — so the birthmark couldn’t usually be seen all that easily.
But at that wedding reception, Madi, too, was wearing a dress, and it exposed most of her shoulders and neck. That was the only instance in all the time that I knew her that Madi Adams ever wore a dress. And that night she was also wearing purplish/rose-colored lipstick that, I swear to God, was exactly the same shade as that birthmark. I know I was drunk and high, so all of this may come off as sort of pathetic rationalization, but, long story short, the similarity between those two hues led me to utter the most embarrassingly inappropriate comment I’ve ever spoken to a woman.
The wedding party and guests were sitting at a half dozen or so tables that surrounded the outdoor swimming pool at one of the downtown hotels. Tommy and Libby had booked the patio/pool area for the reception, and since just the bride and groom’s families and a few other friends were there, it was a pretty small gathering.
I was sitting at a table with Libby, Tommy, and some of the members of Libby’s family — her handsome, auburn-haired mother, her youngest brother Michael, and her younger sister (only recently introduced to me as Madi) — in addition to several family friends. Most of us were drinking a lot, including Madi, even though she was only 18 and had just graduated from high school herself.
For some reason, both Libby and Madi were spending all of their time talking and laughing with me, even though there were quite a few other people at the table who they (Libby, in particular) should have been paying attention to (like Libby’s new husband, for instance). But anyway at one point, Libby and Tommy got up and were posing for pictures with other people from other tables, so I struck up a private conversation with Madi.
We were talking about music, or movies, or something like that. But I couldn’t help noticing that spot on her neck. Even though in the moment I should have realized that it was a dumb thing to do — making a comment about someone’s imperfection that you can’t avoid noticing — I decided to say something to Madi about her birthmark. I didn’t know it was a birthmark at the time, and I was really only trying to be helpful, but I was drunk and stoned, so I know my judgment was impaired in some way, shape, or form.
Anyway, I really thought that she had mistakenly smeared her lipstick and it had somehow gotten onto her neck by accident, and even though her lipstick looked like it was still perfectly applied, I figured that she would want to know that what was supposed to be on her lips was now someplace that she clearly didn’t intend it to be. So, I said it.
“By the way, Madi, I think you may have accidently smeared some of your lipstick on your neck.” I said it deferentially, the way you might try to say something you assumed was helpful to someone else — you know, telling a guy his fly is down or that he’s missed a belt loop. Regardless, it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that you should never say such a thing to a woman, especially not a pretty woman, no matter what it is you’ve noticed. Thankfully, nobody other than Madi heard what I had said.
Afterward, she looked at me really strangely for the longest time without saying anything, like she was trying to gauge whether I was saying what I was saying because I was mean and trying to embarrass her, or whether I was just an idiot who didn’t know any better.
Finally, she must have decided on the latter, because she smiled and responded with unabashed openness and more grace and charm than anyone her age should have been expected to possess, “No, that’s not lipstick. I was born with this. It’s a vascular birthmark, a discoloration that’s sometimes called ‘a port-wine stain’ or ‘a firemark.’ You’d actually be surprised how many people have them — about one out of every ten. I’ve thought about getting it removed, but I haven’t yet.”
The look on my face must have been worth the money that the Adams spent getting me drunk that night. All I know is that I was instantaneously falling all over myself apologizing, calling myself every synonym in the book for what I was sure I had proven myself to be — “a fool, moron, idiot, imbecile, douchebag, dumb fuck….”
“Madi, I’m so, so sorry. I’m really, really ashamed. Jesus, I guess I’m just too stupid to know any better. Please forgive me. That really isn’t the kind of thing that I normally go around saying to someone I’ve just met. I feel like a fool.”
“You don’t have to apologize, and you’re not stupid. I know you weren’t trying to be mean; it’s a mistake that anybody could have made.”
“I doubt that. You have Escort to be a special kind of dumb fuck to say something as idiotically offensive as that. I know you probably won’t believe me, Madi, but I was really just trying to be helpful. I’m a moron, I know.”
She laughed. “I believe you, and you’re not ‘a moron’ or ‘a fool.’ Libby’s told me a lot about you. She likes you, you know, says you’re really smart. Besides, if you’re a fool, you’re still a pretty handsome fool!” Madi flashed me a big, toothy grin, and rather than assuming that I had just ruined any chance I had with this girl, I somehow understood that we would be sleeping together sooner rather than later.
I returned the smile. “That’s awfully nice of you, Madi. I say something really classless and offensive, and you offer me compliments in return. Unfortunately, that makes me feel even worse.”
She laughed. “Well, maybe I can think of a way you can make it up to me.”
“Anything! You name it. I promise I’ll do it.”
“Really? I didn’t think you’d be that easy!” She giggled again.
“I feel bad. I’m not the kind of guy that takes pleasure in saying insulting things to girls.”
“Well, I’ve got an idea. If you want, you can take me to the blues festival next weekend. If you say ‘yes’, I’ll forgive you immediately!”
“Sure, I’ll take you, but…” I paused to think about what she’d just said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about… what blues festival?” Even though I lived an hour away at the time, I prided myself on knowing the cultural happenings about town. Unfortunately, there weren’t that many of them at the time, so I was surprised that I didn’t know what she was talking about.
“They’re having a blues festival out at Mt. Crescent, the ski hill north of Council Bluffs. Libby told me you like blues music, so I thought you might wanna go.”
“She’s right; I do like the blues, but I don’t know about any festival. Who’s playing?”
“Well… a whole lot of bands… I think a fair number of local ones… but also some big-name people…. It’s an all-day thing. I don’t really know very much about that kind of music, but I do remember one name… Buddy…” she paused for a moment trying to remember, “…Guy, I think. Does that sound right — Buddy Guy?”
“Really! Buddy Guy! He’s great! I’ve seen him before, but he always puts on an excellent show. You’ll like him; I promise you.”
“Good! They’re selling tickets at the Performing Arts Center — that’s just a couple blocks from the clinic where I work. I’ll pick them up.” She smiled the prettiest smile I think I’ve ever seen, before continuing. “Lucky me, I get to go to the blues festival with the renowned John Jameson!” She clapped her hands together like she was genuinely excited, and for a brief second, she showed her age.
I stared at her like she was crazy. “Renowned? Jesus, you don’t know me very well, do you? And, by the way, you don’t have to buy the tickets. I owe you, remember? I’ll buy ’em. I insist.”
“Well, the ticket office is closed on Sundays, and I thought you said that you were going back to Lincoln tomorrow. We might want to get them sooner rather than later — it could sell out. Tell you what, I’ll buy ’em, and you can pay me back, okay?”
“Deal. So, it’s next Saturday, right? What time? When should I pick you up? And where?”
“Well, Libby thought we could all go together…” She paused for a few seconds, and I sensed that she realized her mistake. “…the two of us, and she and Tommy. Why don’t I meet you over at their house at, say, one o’clock? That way, we’ll get out there by mid-afternoon.”
“What do you mean, ‘Libby thought we could all go together’? Are you telling me that you two had this all planned out? Have you and Libby been conspiring?” I smiled at her. She knew that I’d caught her in her little scheme. She got a guilty look on her face, but didn’t say anything, so I thought I would let her off the hook. “Madi, I thought that I was going to take you to the festival to make up for the crass and tactless thing I just said to you. If you wanted to go with me all along, why didn’t you just say so? I would have been happy to go. Now, I’m not really repaying you for my idiotic remark, am I?”
A kind of sheepish smile spread across her face. “What difference does it make? Besides, you said you’d pay, so I’m holding you to that. Let’s leave it at that!”
“Okay then.” I shrugged my shoulders.
It struck me as significant that Libby was apparently trying to set me up with Madi. For some reason, I always suspected that Libby was interested in me herself, but now she was married and to one of my best friends, to boot. She was off limits as far as I was concerned. Whether or not I was off limits to her was an entirely different matter, but at that moment, that wasn’t what I was thinking about.
By that time, it was getting dark, and the DJ started spinning some tunes, so people began dancing over on the other side of the pool. Pretty soon I found myself dancing with Madi in between periodic trips out to my car to get high. It was a pretty crazy night, and sometime before I asked someone who wasn’t so wasted to give me a ride home, I remember kissing Madi for the longest time in my car in the parking lot.