Melanie Klug: Esalen Lodge

Spring '13 TOC


I didn't know he was behind me until he screamed.

"You slept with John."

I stood at the silverware dispenser with my back towards him. I pulled a knife out of the white plastic bin and inspected it. Carefully placing it on the china plate next to the roasted garlic and kale before turning around.

He never wears anything under his overalls. I caught a glimpse of the nipple I bit last night through the side opening. The smell of his browned skin and freshly composted soil invaded my nostrils.

"Tell me the truth. Did you sleep with John?" The o in John stretched out from his thick German tongue.

I looked through the picture window at the sky, streaked with purple and orange. The sun was about to hit the ocean.

"Yes I did but it was before I knew you."

His dilating pupils pushed the blue out of his eyes.

I saw Eric drinking red wine at the table by the door. He was smiling. He warned me that Stefan was 'cut from the same egotistical mold' as most of my ex-boyfriends.

I came to the Esalen Institute in Big Sur to practice meditation and yoga, to take a break from men.

"You slept with John?"

Stefan slammed his fist on the silverware dispenser scattering spoons. Brief silence swept over the lodge. The kitchen door swung open. John was coming out to clean up the spill in his red apron. He was carrying a big glass bowl of lettuce and a white dishtowel. He smiled when he saw Stefan and me and the spoons scattered on the wood floor.

"I slept with him once. Before I knew you."

The normal lodge buzz slowly resumed. People curious enough to watch, yet, bored with the frequent lodge drama, resumed conversations.

"Once? When? How long ago?"

John was restocking the lettuce at the salad bar behind Stefan. He wiped the counter with the dishtowel.

"Two weeks ago."

"I was here two weeks ago."

"Ok then, a month, I don't know. I was drunk."

Stefan turned and watched John walk back into the kitchen.

"You are so gross." He kicked one of spoons across the floor.

"Gross?" Maybe he couldn't find a better word in English.

"Yes, gross. Disgusting. You are disgusting."

The new work scholar, the one with the blond dreads and the phoenix tattoo on her back, brushed against Stefan reaching for her napkin. He ignored her.

"Why did it have to be John?"

He stormed past Eric out the door. He ran down the lawn toward the pool, unsnapped his overalls and let them drop on the pool deck. He dove, with hardly a splash, into the water. He never wore underwear either. The only thing Stefan and I had in common.

When I turned around the new work scholar was still standing there, watching through the picture window. Stefan swam to the far side of the pool towards the sunset.

John strutted out of the kitchen door carrying a bowl of carrot sticks. He stopped at the white, plastic silverware dispenser to clean up the scattered spoons. He smiled at the girl with the dreads.

"Did you have to tell him?"

"He was bragging about spending the night with you in his teepee last night. I had to say something."

I picked up a napkin and sat down next to Eric, shrugging my shoulders.

"He's an impulsive guy."

Eric tipped his wine glass.

I ate my kale.



Not Enough Night
Not Enough Night
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