He told me to write. Write until everything is out. All of the stories that I wanted to tell are all the same stories he wanted to hear.
“Write everything. Write write, please baby… write it all down and I will kick those publishers doors down. I need a purpose in life; this will give me one,” he said.
We were standing in the kitchen, my forehead beading sweat from scurrying about. More hamburgers to be served. I have to turn the grill back on. Just turned it off. The cheese is melting. Has the ice tray filled yet?
He could tell I was half listening, “baby I’m serious”, he squared me to face him, his strong hands on my shoulders.
“Baby, write. People want to hear. They want to relate… girls are just looking to relate. Let’s liberate them together! If you write one story at a time– just one story,”
I laughed. He whined in defiance, his baby blues pleading with me to listen. The gin and tonic he’d been sipping on all evening was beginning to permeate his smell. That scent that I love to nestle up to, now smelled like a sweet, slow tree sap. I imagined what tomorrow morning would be like. We had always talked about otherworldly Sunday mornings– the kind where you’re just a little foggy from too much gin the night before and everything seems slow going and ethereal. Slow breeze, slow to wake, slow to touch, slow to love. Sweet, slow tree sap.
His top was spinning now. He worked himself up into a frenzy, like he sometimes does when he’s really excited about a prospect. All of the possibilities were whirling around him and I was watching as he pieced our future together, plucking each part from the windstorm around him, talking so fast that I was in awe of how his mind works. I stood smiling, forgetting why I’d come into the kitchen in the first place.
“I will, baby. I will do whatever it takes to get your stories published! Write them and we’ll figure out the rest!” The words were stampeding out of his mouth; his eyes teeming with boyhood excitement.
“I will, honey. I will, I promise.” I kissed him then. I always wanted to kiss him. Mid sentence, mid thought, mid anything. I could have kissed him every minute of that damned party. I reached around behind him and squeezed his toned bun, so perfectly proportioned to the palm of my hand and told him to go outside and play. I heard the ice drop in the freezer.
Two weeks later we were on our first real date. Red lips, blue dress, ready for success. I picked him up outside of his new digs in Springfield and we drove to my favorite restaurant, complete with the perfect summer night and buzzing patio. We sat back lazily in our chairs, looking at each other, as if for the first time. When I kissed him that night, it was tentatively and with an excitement that started in my stomach and worked its way up to my throat and through my tongue. I was acutely aware that we were kissing in front of other couples. Finally, I thought. Three months of being the other woman had come to an end. He looked at me with a stunned silence for a while, noticing how comfortable and natural it was to be together in public. Sharing a meal, drinks and then conversation in a quiet lounge corner.
Two months pass and I learn that summer romance never lasts.
I learn that men get really excited,
that they get frightened.
That no matter how much you write, how much
the hype. How much and how hard you love a man
in to the night. He will grow on you like blight.
But only if he is not ready, I suppose.
My heart not poised for repose.
Coiled now, upended and closed.
I nested inside all of his clothes.
At night when I could not sleep,
I’d scour my room in a grand sweep and my mind would leap,
from one story to the next.
About how I should “write from my chest, behest!”
Were you only there to bestow upon me,
yet more stories?
For all the ones I had contained in me were not enough.
Had my twenty-six years not been rough?
For you to proclaim “I may have loved you once” in a huff.
God damn, this love thing is tough.