Are You Writing About Me?

by S.A. Augustine

Most of the time she was quiet as we drove toward the ski resort. This terrified me. Caution be damned, I had to know.

"Shayna, what are you writing?" I asked boldly.

She laughed. "David, you know I'm working on my new novel."

I kept my eyes on the icy road. I had to find out. There was just no way to avoid the dreaded question. It happened every time she started writing something new and got so quiet. I'd lose sleep if I didn't ask.

"Are you writing about me?"

"Oh, David."

"Are you? Am I in it?"

"No, not really. You know I use traits from all sorts of people, but I never use anyone exactly."

A flashback. "Except for that guy Keith."

"Oh, damn." Shayna closed her notebook as the car ground to a halt in the parking lot. "I never should have told you about that. Yes, I based my character Sam in 'Sex Around the World' on my old lover Keith."

Now I was quiet.

"Oh, David, I love you. I just have to write what I have to write."

Boots, skis. "OK, let's go."

The chair lift ride was long and cold. Neither of us spoke. I wondered if she was thinking about Keith.

Goggles on, poles up. "Don't be mad, David. I write erotic novels and stories. It's all fiction."

Pausing at the first viewpoint. "I'm not erotic?" I hated myself for not being able to stop.

Shayna glided off.

Transition to the next bend. "Yes, of course you're erotic, David. I just have to gain time and perspective and distance from people before I can write about them."

"You mean you'll write about me after you dump me?" This conversation was going downhill. I couldn't help it.

Total exasperation. "OK, OK, I'll write about you."

Meeting in the lodge, Irish coffees steaming. "What would you like me to write about you, David?"

"I don't want you to have to write about me." I could barely stand to hear my voice.

"No, it's a great idea. I read this concept once in a book, about the experience of 'writing on demand'. They suggested setting up a booth at a fair and just writing exactly what people asked you for. If it makes you happy I'll write about you. I've written you dozens of poems, you know."

"Yes, but you never mention me in your important work."

She turned her big blue eyes on me. "True."

Coffees sipped, boots refastened.

"I do love you, David. I will write a great sensual tale about you, full of wonder and insight and hot sex."

Chairlift line again, and things were looking up. "Thank you, Shayna. I promise never to ask you again if you're writing about me."

Kisses, hugs. "Maybe it will be a bestseller. Shall I use your real name?"

"You could always call me Keith."

Laughter and sighs. "You are my perfect erotic man, David."

I was finally past being tense. "Ha -- you know that saying? 'I am erotic, you are kinky, they are perverts'."

On the chair lift again, spirits rising. I knew I would never again bug her about her writing, and I would never mention Keith again either. I would be a perfect lover, the better to be written about.

At the top of the mountain. "Race you to the end!" Shayna shouted.

I was only a novice skier. I found her a half hour later in the lodge, boots kicked up on the fireplace hearth, scribbling away.

She was quiet again.

I bit my tongue.

I fought it.

But it was a different question. And it just slipped out.

"Are you writing about me yet?"

©2001 by S.A. Augustine

S.A. Augustine writes and studies in Boulder, Colorado

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