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Smoking cigarettes inside.

He texted me. I was in my patterned sheets watching Leap Year. I wish I could type a trendier movie, but I was looking for a light romance. I was wearing gray and floral pajama pants that I bought 5 years ago at Primark in London. My gray slouchy shirt matched my gray slouchy bottoms.


I had sent him a text earlier saying “I am craving human interaction.”


2 hours and a movie later “Ok let’s interact.”


I got dressed. Jeans and a tee-shirt, trying not to try hard. I drove the 15 minutes to his house. I have memorized the route. I’m not sure if that’s creepy or practical. I texted him from his front yard. “here” The electric gate made the stiff, agitated noises old metal makes. He greeted me. He had shaved his beard. I touched his face. He gave me a side hug. It felt awkward. It’s funny how intimacy changes outside of the bedroom. We weren’t sure how to be around one another until we got into his garage turned apartment. I peed in his bathroom with a door that does not close completely. He knows the sound my pee makes hitting the water in the toilet, but he doesn’t know my sister’s name or how I look when I feel completely happy. He knows what my heart beat sounds like and that I am quiet even though I have so much to say. It is a weird kind of intimacy. It is a stifled kind of intimacy.


He once texted me, “I’m too much of a romantic to have romance.”

“Yeah I think I know what you mean.” I texted back.

It was finals week for him. He is 28 and going for his second BA, this time it will be applicable to his life. He was finishing a paper on Dostoyevsky. He explained it to me, speaking fast and enthusiastically. He got self-conscious but I understood the excitement.


I picked a book of poems by Bukowski out of his bookshelf and read while he wrote.

He finished his paper and came to the bed, laying his head on my chest and his feet curled so that his 6’3” frame could fit on the bed. I stroked his hair. He smelled of red wine.

“You like Bukowski?”

“Yeah I do.” I replied.

“I always find it interesting when girls like Bukowski.”

“Why is that? Because he is a dog?”

He laughed and answered “Yeah. I guess so.”

“At least he is honest.”

And that was true. I find that many writers are brave in that they will write the truths that people try to hide from.


He got up and lit a cigarette. He changed the music on his desktop Mac. He layed back down. This time, next to me. I turned my head and not my body to look at him. He looked at me. We both smiled. And without readjusting my body, I leaned my turned head into his. And we kissed.

“You’re pretty.” I told him.

“I know, it’s my baby blue eyes.”

“No I mean all of you and your life is pretty.”

And there was a sadness between us as we spoke after we kissed. He played his guitar and I heard him sing for the first time. He played a few country songs. Real country, not pop country. And then he played a song that he had written, because I asked him to.


“I don’t really play my own music for other people.”

“I get it.”

“I’m afraid you’ll judge me.”

“Don’t you see that I have placed you high on a pedestal? Everything you do is right, right now. But that won’t last.”


He played his song and it was beautiful. I smoked half of the cigarette he handed me when he started playing the guitar. He played a few more and lit another cigarette, moving the ash tray from his desk to his bed. It dangled from his mouth, the cherry a glowing orange, as he strummed.


I bent over from my knees, to hug him as he lay on his bed. And we stayed like that for a while.  And then he opened the agitated metal gate and walked me out. We kissed hard and didn’t make plans to see one another again. I think it won’t last. But it will be pretty.


3 replies »

  1. good, honest, direct. admitting contradiction. i like this one, read it all the way through which i don’t always do. you are right about why men like women who read bukowski.

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