She is pretty, tiny. College Street pretty, Bar Italia pretty,
tight black pants and shoulder-length hair pretty, confident,
sophisticated, city and sex pretty. Hide inside your fist tiny,
ceramic figurine tiny, five-foot nothing in heels tiny. And
she is walking past the laundromat window where I sit and wait
She is familiar. I have seen her exposed somehow. Unclothed
before me, but not in my bed, not in her bed, not together.
Naked in a picture, perhaps, in a magazine, or website, a television
program or a movie, and now, here she is, lit by the afternoon
sun - alive, real, striding with purpose.
She comes inside, moves past the industrial washers and I stare
with lazy intent until I remember the who, where and why. It
was fall of last year, in September, a small room called Holy
Joe's, reading aloud from her book Lie With Me. She seemed
tiny then, sitting, and now, as she checks the remaining time
on her dryer, tinier in proportion to her bravery, her boldness,
not because she wrote about sex - worse - desire, and wrote
about it like that: "My elbows weakened. My mouth
touched the floor. My ass moved up in the air like a dog."
We listened as strangers, as priests, to her confession, not
only, but admission. It was literature as erotica and vice-versa:
"I felt like a lioness under her king. I wanted to look
up and lick him, clean him and stroke him." The illicit
blush of the voyeur denied by our invitation, as we stood or
sat in dark corners, listening without comment.
Full Name: Tamara Faith Berger, with modest shoulders not meant
to bear the weight of one name, much less three, nor the assumptions
I project. Tamara Faith Berger is in the laundromat beside the
chocolate factory east of my apartment, sparking my arrested,
adolescent imagination. I must look away to avoid being caught
It was fiction she read, the first time she had done so, the
premiere an acknowledgment that the material was difficult to
present publicly, an affirmation that erotica is better private,
meant for bedtime peering, not dramatized in early evening,
not in a room called Holy Joe's, and certainly not amplified
through a mic and mixer.
Shy at first, but already after a few sentences emerged a cadence.
She read with confidence as she pleaded - with the audience,
with herself, with her new lover: "Having sex where I felt
like I was drowning and he was floating over me with a life
jacket laughing." We listened because we could do nothing
else after "I knew all he wanted was sex from my mouth"
How long did it take, that evening? Was it five or seven or
ten minutes? Longer? Less? At the mid-point, air was still and
stiff like the men. Words replaced oxygen with expectation and
"Well..." This is all the host could say afterwards,
when he hit the mic. For nothing more could be said, needed
to be said, should be said, about the pretty, tiny woman with
the pretty, tiny pink book filled with hard cocks, wet pussies
and hot expulsions.
She exits the laundromat; re-enters a few minutes later, just
as her clothes tumble, tumble, tumble, halt. She stuffs her
shirts and pants and socks into a hockey bag.
Have I, once before, recently, used the same dryer, the same
washer as she? Have our unmentionables shared the same dark,
intimate sudsy space?
"There was this time when I went out by myself,"
she wrote in Lie With Me, "and I wasn't wearing
Ryan Bigge has seen through
paper and wire, loads.