Flavor of the Week: Heart and Ball Torture

13 Aug 2014 | 06:56

    "Ball clamp!”

    Tim explained that when Trixie shouts out those two words, it’s his signal to stop talking. “You see, I talk a lot,” he said, straddling a well-ridden mountain bike at the corner of Hudson and West 10th streets. “Trixie used to be a dominatrix and a ball clamp is…” I held my hand in the air, another signal for him to stop talking.

    “I can use my imagination,” I said. One Thursday night while waiting for my yoga class, my friend Brian introduced me to the new guy by saying: “Tim’s got a date on Saturday night with some anorexic chick.” Tim nodded in affirmation, and added, “Yeah, and I think she hates me.”

    A couple of balmy weeks later, I was on my way home from work wondering if I should go to yoga or just go home and get on Facebook, when I noticed Tim in the middle of Hudson amongst yellow cabs, delivery trucks and New Jersey commuters, fending for his life astride his bike.

    “Hey Tim, how are you doing?” I asked through the traffic.

    “I’m anorexic!” he replied while navigating his way towards me.

    I repeated that phrase in my head with distinct pleasure. Any conversation that begins with a confession of mental disorder is sure to be titillating. Tim seemed like fun.

    “I haven’t eaten in two days,” he confessed while propping his bike on the sidewalk. “All day I’ve been walking dogs, riding this bike, and I’m just leaving the gym.”

    It seemed like the right question so I asked, “Are you hungry?” “No, my stomach’s all messed up over that girl,” he said. He had that “I-need-totalk” look on his face.

    “The one Brian mentioned? The anorexic one?” “Yeah, she’s really playing games,” he said. “She said she only likes me as a friend, but I know there’s more.”

    Having done my time on and off the battlefield of unrequited love, I felt I had something to offer skinny Tim and was certain that’s why the universe brought us together. The student was ready and I would be the teacher.

    “So, how does she make you feel?” “Awful! I can’t sleep; I can’t eat,” he said, compulsively checking his cell phone for the first of many times.

    “I understand…” and before I could finish, he launched into his epic tale.

    It started four years ago when they passed each other on their bikes on the Greenway. She didn’t look at him, but he was sure she noticed. He went back to that exact spot the next day, and they passed each other again. Thus began a ritual that would last over a year.

    The first time she lifted her head, he was listening to the Carpenters’ “Close to You” on his iPod. At the point when they made eye contact, he heard Karen sing, “Of golden starlight in your eyes of blue.” It was a sign, he thought: Trixie’s eyes were definitely blue.

    “Then I started to stalk her,” Tim explained. “Well, not stalk her, I just followed her home to the Lower East Side and would wait on the stoop across the street and watch her.”

    “Some might consider that…” “You see, she was a dominatrix and has major trust issues with guys,” Tim said. “It took her over two years, passing me every day, just to say hi.”

    “It’s progress.” “We worked in the same animal shelter but at different times. You see, there are all these crazy coincidences. She’s got me back doing dog rescue, and I swore I’d never do it again.”

    Tim told me how they’d spend every weekend together and talk a couple times a day under the guise of “rescue work.” But he knows the real reason for the calls.

    “Some people really mean what they—” I started to say, but he checked his phone again. He said she calls every night, and if he misses her call, he’s destroyed.

    “The thing is,” he said, wiping the sweat from his forehead with his tattered black T-shirt, “she hates men. She hasn’t had sex in over 12 years and said she never wants it again. I told you she was a dom, right?” “Would you be OK not having sex?” “She just needs love,” he said. “I’m breaking her; I know it.” Then he showed me the log he kept that tracked the time, date and content of every text message and phone call exchanged. “I read them over obsessively, so I can figure out the code.”

    Whoa. I began to wonder if I should be scared.

    “Last weekend we rode our bikes out to the Rockaways and were sitting in a park where there were like 20 senior citizens around us,” he said. Having done my time on and off the battlefield of unrequited love, I felt I had something to offer skinny Tim and was certain that’s why the universe brought us together. The student was ready and I would be the teacher. I hoped this would be the point of redemption, that he’d reveal Trixie’s tender side, maybe tell me she led the elderly in a sing-along, so I said, “Oh, that’s nice.”

    “Well,” he said, “she hung up her cell phone and screamed ‘Kill all people!’” I started to feel like an accomplice to a crime, one that would be splashed all over the tabloids: “S&M Anorexics Murder Seniors in Queens!” I started planning my escape.

    “I’d really appreciate a woman’s point of view on this. What do you think?” After a moment’s pause, I said, “I think she’s really got you by the balls.”