Suzanne was very nervous. Her hands were sweating. She had met that young man in the morning and, for the first time in months someone was really nice to her. And he was about to come to see her, in her house. Her mother was out of town and Terry... well, Terry had disappeared and hadn't let her know anything about him for weeks. The young, charming man would have knocked on her door any minute now, very soon. Her heart, which she thought was broken because of Terry, was beginning to beat again. This man... Neal. Neal...
"Aren't you Suzanne Marlow, the Brodway star?" he had said to her, removing his heat and bowing a little
"Indeed, I am, sir" she had answered with her brightest smile. She loved it to be recognized in the street. She loved to be admired by strangers.
"I must tell you, miss, you are much more beautiful in person than in the posters!" had added the young man. "I don't think I have ever seen anyone with eyes as blue as yours. They're breathtaking!"
"Oh, ehm, I... oh... thank you, sir" she had said, blushing and lowering her head.
"I am sorry, miss, I didn't want to embarrass you" Neal had said smiling, "Let me tell you that I am a big fan of yours. You are a great actress and a very beautiful woman"
"So do you like theatre, sir?"
"Neal, my name is Neal, miss. Marlow"
"Suzanne, please" she corrected smiling.
"Suzanne" he repeated, smiling back. "Yes, I like theatre very much, every kind of play, dramatic plays, comedies, every kind". He had remained silent for a while and then he had added "but what really makes me dream in life is beauty. The beauty of the sun, of the moon, the beauty of a tree, of grass... And, most of all, the beauty of a stunning woman like you, Suzanne" he had said pretending to be romantic, while he had something else in mind.
"Mr. Neal, please, I... I appreciate your kind compliments, but I am engaged"
"I know, to Terrence Graham, I've read it in the papers. I don't mean to be rude, miss, but I've heard he left his work... and you, Suzanne" said Neal, faking sympathy. Terry... he hated Terry, he always had.
Suzanne hadn't wanted to cry in front of that charming stranger, but tears were already rolling down her cheeks. She had hided her face with her hands and had started to cry for good.
The sweet hand of Neal on her shoulder and his sweet voice encouraged her to calm down.
"Don't cry Suzanne. And let me tell you, you shouldn't waste your time with someone who doesn't know he has found in you a real princess. I know Terrence from school, in London, and let me tell you something about him... he is...well I shouldn't... "
"No please, speak. You knew him from school, you said? Tell me what you know please. But not here. I live just across the street. Please come in, we could have a cup of tea and talk about it"
"I will accept your invitation... if you promise me that we will not only talk about Terrence" he said with a strange look in his eyes.
"Please come, I promise we will not only talk about that"
"I just have to go buy something, I will meet you there in five minutes, Suzanne"
"I'll be waiting, Neal".
So now there she was, in her living room, alone, waiting for a man she didn't know. She heard him knock on the door.
"Come in, it's open" she said
Neal was there, in front of her, with a beautiful bouquet of roses.
"How beautiful!" she said surprised. Terry never bought her flowers.
"They are not as beautiful as you" answered Neal
"Please, Neal, leave the flowers on that table and sit here, close to me"
He did and taking her hand in his, he started to talk
"Suzanne, I will tell you that thing about your fiance, but then I don't want to talk about him ever again, all right?"
He had changed. His look had changed. His hand was warm. Suzanne realized that she wasn't used to be touched by a man. Terry always avoided to touch her skin. She started to feel a strange warmth in her body.
"So" started Neal "back at school, people said about Terry... oh, it's hard to tell you. They said, they said... how to put it..."
"Come on Neal, what did they say?"
"Ok, they said he was... gay"
"Oh... do you mean he used to drink a lot and acted happy like drunk people sometimes do?"
"No, gay! Gay... I mean homosexual"
"Oh, yes! As a homo, he is very sexual, I know"
"No, Suzanne, I mean he likes men, not women, men. I mean he likes to "smoke cigars with men", if you know what I mean"
"oh, a lot of men do. Did you smoke cigars with him at school?" asked Suzanne, not understanding his point.
"No! I like women. I like women to smoke my cigar, if you know what I mean"
"But, if they smoke your cigar, what is left for you to smoke?"
"Well, after they smoke my cigar, they usually let me put my cigar in their ashtray, if you know what I mean" said Neal, looking at her with a weird gaze. She blushed violently, liking the touch of his hand.
"No but, Neal, don't change the subject. You were saying that Terry liked to smoke. I knew that already, he likes to smoke even now" she said, very confused.
"Suzanne, I am saying that Terry doesn't want to be with you because you have an ashtray but no cigars, if you know what I mean"
"But.... he can go out and by all the cigars he wants and then come smoke them here, where there is an ashtray to put his cigars when he has finished to smoke them".
"The point is, dear girl, that he doesn't want to use any ashtray, if you know what I mean. Unlike me, I love to use ashtrays" said Neal licking now her hand, very sensually.
"You're cleaner than him, then. What is the matter with that man I'm supposed to marry some day? He just wants to go outside to smoke in order not to use ashtrays? Come on, this is insane!!"
"I understand your feelings Suzanne. But let me tell you, not all man are like that. I would appreciate your ashtray and use it. Very much, if you know what I mean".
"But, Neal, I don't smoke".
"You don't need to, but you could let me use your ashtray. And, moreover, I could teach you to smoke my cigar, if you know what I mean."
"I don't know if I'd like to have a cigar in my mouth. A lady wouldn't look good with a cigar. It's a manly thing"
"That's what Terrence thinks too, apparently. But, you know, you could keep it in your hand instead of your mouth, if you know what I mean" said Neal getting closer to her. His look was very very strange. He kissed her lips and she kissed him back. Then, he put her hand on him. She stopped kissing him
"Neal! My God! Did you bring a gun in my house?!"
"No, Suzanne, this is my... my third leg, if you know what I mean"
"What, oh my God! This is so, so unfair! I only have one and you have three???"
"I understand your feelings Suzanne, but this is just a leg I use to go into some... room, if you know what I mean"
"You mean you have an optional leg and I am missing one of my basic legs?!? Life is so unfair! Some people have too much and others..."
"Stop, please, Suzanne. You don't have to get upset. You see, Suzanne, you are missing one leg, but you have the room for my leg, if you know what I mean"
"Do I?" she asked, very confused.
"Yes, a very wet room, if you know what I mean"
"But it wouldn't be good for you health. Your leg would get sick in a wet room, Neal" she answer, very sensible and worried. "Maybe that is why Terry has gone, he found this house too humid..." she said softly
"No, believe me, Suzanne, the third legs of all men love humidity, if you know what I mean. I would love to put my leg in that room of yours"
"Thank you, it would be a very nice gesture. Do you mean that your leg would become mine, after that, Neal? Would you leave it to me? You are so kind!"
"Well, no I can't tell you that, unless my leg got stuck in your room, but it wouldn't be a good thing. No, but I can promise you I would visit your room very often. All men love to visit rooms. We love to go in and out, in and out, if you know what I mean"
"But don't you get tired to do that? Why don't you just enter and stay?" she asked, more and more confused.
"That wouldn't be fun. We love to come and go, come and go, come... and go, then we come back, if you know what I mean"
Suzanne stood up, very upset.
"Well, let me tell you: men are crazy! One leaves just to smoke without using ashtrays, and you want to enter a leg in a wet room and go in and out, restlessly, risking to get sick... I tell you, now I understand Saffo!" she said to hurt him, feeling really mad.
"Who?" asked Neal, confused.
"Saffo, a woman, a great poet woman who liked women! She didn't want men, just women. I'd better do like she did if you know what I mean!"
Of course she didn't mean that, but she was mad at men, all men, for being so complicated.
"But, Suzanne, please... you can't do that, I mean... what's the use of having two ashtrays and no cigars, or two rooms and no legs to go inside, if you know what I mean. It is a pity, it is a waste!"
"but I do have one leg!", Suzanne said, very proud now of her single leg.
"You aren't supposed to have any leg, you shouldn't have legs, that's what we are talking about! I have the leg, you have the room, I bring the cigar, you bring the ashtray! If you know what I mean!"
"How dare you come here to me and say that I shouldn't even have the one single leg I have! How dare you, you who have three legs! Do you want all the legs for yourself, you selfish, little man?!?"
Neal was sad, almost depressed. He was a little confused too.
"No, I don't need other legs, I need a room. How can you refuse a room to a poor leg, a leg which is looking for a room, a leg which is begging for a room, a leg that... never mind Suzanne, I'll leave. There is no need to go on talking: my third leg is down...
“My second leg too...” said Suzanne. She was depressed too.