Princess meets Evan. Evan begins to put his plan into action.

Ivan Colt/Evan Colson is not intended to represent Stephen Colbert.

Colt smoked his cigarette silently, now and then rubbing at his mouth sores.  Then, unexpectedly, he said, “You know I changed my name.”

            “I’ve heard that.  I didn’t know.”

            “My name’s Evan Colson.”  He darted a glance at me.  “And I never wanted to change it.”

            Evan Colson!  I could not fit this into my mental Colt file; I had to see another manila folder and write the new name on it, cleanly lettered on unbruised oaktag.  I watched him smoke and look sadly at the wine bottle, and I finally asked, “Then why did you?  Change it? ”

            “My agent made me.  Years ago.  Long before the show.  I’m not Ivan Colt.  My name’s Evan. I’d like you to call me that, Princess.”

            I reached over and put my hand on his.  He did not draw it away, but neither did he return the caress.  I had come to understand that it was his way, though I still had no insight into his heart.  I said, “Evan Colson.  Evan.  It sounds like a different person.”

            He raised the beautiful eyes to my face and answered softly. “It is a different person, Princess.  This Colt you love, he’s a character I play, he’s a hat I wear at work.  He’s a good man, and I love him. I love him.   And I’m glad so many people say they want to be like him, but it’s him, not me, I am not Mr. Posi-fucking-tivity –“

            “Positivity man.”

            “Whatever!”  He voice was sharp and his eyes rebuked me.  “Do you understand me?”

            I swallowed my anger and said, “I understand.”

            “Princess, I believe you when you say you love Ivan Colt.  You should love him, and yes, your heart is more ardent than some people’s, but I believe you like I believe the other thousands of woman – no, I’m not comparing you to them!  Suppose you really are different.  It’s still that man on the screen you love differently.  I am Evan.  My last name is Colson.  Will you call me by my name?”           

I nodded.  I was already starting to get used to it, which is a thing I’ve noticed about huge surprises.  If you can’t change it, tell your head to deal with it.  I was looking at the same man I had been five minutes earlier; I was just looking at him through a different window.  Or, say, in a different suit.

And speaking of clothes, Colt – that is, Evan – was again wearing the bathrobe, but this time I knew he had on boxers.  The V of the robe had worked loose, and I could see the rising and falling of his chest and the sparse chest hair that grew there.  I imagined his nipples; I felt a stirring and bit my bottom lip until it hurt.  I didn’t realize it, but he was watching me.  Now he said, “My body belongs to me.  Nothing you do will change that.  Nothing can change that, no matter . . . what he does.  Do you know the story of Saint  — I can’t remember which saint it was.  She refused to abandon Christianity, and she was tried and sentenced to be raped in a brothel, but they couldn’t move her as the legend goes.  After she was sentenced she said in effect, ‘If I get deflowered by force, through no fault of my own, then I am just as pure as I was beforehand.’ I don’t remember how she was martyred but she was.”

This was the longest I had heard him speak, and I wanted to hear as well as understand him.  He said nothing else, and I tried to ponder on the story he’d told me.  He wanted me to know that I could not make him dirty.  That seemed wondrous to me, that he could believe that and that he would share it with me.  I thought, He does love me – he must love me.  Oh God, don’t let me strip him bare after he’s opened up to me . . . I didn’t realize that I was, for the first time, trying to put somebody else’s needs ahead of my own.  I think now that some of Ivan Colt had rubbed off on me.  But then, I just stared imploringly at Evan Colson, holding one of my hands in the otherand saying a litany in my head, Don’t touch him, don’t violate him,don’t touch him, don’t violate him . . .

He continued to drink wine and smoke, now and then gazing at me for a few seconds at a time.

“Evan,” I said.  His gaze fluttered up to mine and I had to drop mine to the table.  “Do you ever – have you thought – I’m wondering what would happen if we were together.”

He said nothing at first, and I saw from the smoke that he was sucking hard on his cigarette.  Then he said, “Princess. Look at me.”  I had to, not because he was my master but because I knew I deserved what he was about to say.  But he didn’t say it.  To my amazement, he reached over, took my hand and asked softly, “Together how?”

My lips were trembling.  “Together.  Like two people.”

He caressed my hand with his other one.  “You want to be my love?”  I began to cry.  “Princess, how could I trust you?”

I was hearing his sweet, familiar voice saying My love . . . my love.  The touch of his fingers was making me giddy.  Trust?  He wanted trust?  How could he not be sure of my love, how could he not tell that if only I were his love it would all be different – I wouldn’t need to hurt men, I wouldn’t drink and smoke –

But I could prove myself.

I looked him in the eye, and his were gleaming.  He was leaning toward me, holding my hand tight in his, the cigarette dangling from the corner of his swollen lip.

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Published in: on May 1, 2011 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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