Wednesday, June 23, 2010

baby steps.

She sips Cherry Coke straight from the can and you wonder how she can drink something so sweet right after breakfast, let alone french toast soaked in so much syrup they were borderline marinated. But she does, and as you scrub the sticky plates with a scouring pad, you listen. Each slurp and slop and thipppppppt rings in your ears like Christmas bells.

So lost are you in the rhythm of each swill that you drop the rocks glass that held your cranberry juice not five minutes prior. It crashes against the bottom of the sink and a chunk swirls down in the faucet's outpour, heading right into the drain, landing with a clink. Out of the corner of your eye, you see her jump an inch out of her chair at the sound.

"Are you okay?" she says. "Did you get cut or anything?"

"No, just chipped a piece out of the glass." You stick your hand down the disposal and pull out the rogue sliver. "Stupid."

"That's why I drink it straight out of cans."

"But I like it with ice. Tough to fit any inside that little slot."

She smiles. "Or you can just drink it a lot faster before it gets to room temperature."

"I'd rather savor it." You toss the sliver and the glass from which it departed in the trash can.

"Not a live-in-the-moment kinda guy, are you."

"Nah," you say. "Not really. Moments are meant to pass."

"Like rules meant to be broken?"

"Sort of. Probably sounds a lot more poetic as pillow talk than when I'm breaking glassware at 11 AM."

She places her now-empty can on a piece of junkmail that now functions as a makeshift coaster. "I'm not big on poetry." She rises to her feet and wraps warm arms around your torso, resting a gentle head against a shoulder stiff from lying awake all night, watching those same moments flying by like highway mile markers, chased off by morning.

"I like limericks. I think poetry should have to rhyme to be considered poetry."

She takes a breath. "There once was a boy washing dishes."

"And a genie had offered three wishes."

She looks up to the ceiling, as if the next line is written in asbestos. "He met a nice girl..."

"The morning unfurled..."

She pauses again. "And they swam through the sunshine like fishes." She grins like she just discovered a birthday bicycle on her front porch with a bow and her name on it. "I didn't want to start it with 'there once was a girl from Nantucket.'"

"I meant to thank you for that."

She slides her feet into well-worn moccasins standing by your doormat. "You can thank me later." She unlocks the deadbolt. "Walk me to my car?" You don't bother putting on shoes.

You take her hand as you walk the driveway. Afternoon sun see saws from behind clouds and drips reflections against her tousled hair. The walk to the street isn't as long as your brain hopes it'll be.

She sticks a key into the driver's side door, but lets go, letting them jingle jangle like spare change. Arms are thrown back around you and her cheek is a furnace against your fine-grain sandpaper face. Without pulling away, she speaks right into your ear.

"Do I get to see you tonight?"

You tilt your head back just enough to make eye contact. "Do I get to see you tonight?"

"If you wanna."

"I wanna."

"Good." She bares pearled teeth in a crescent smile and leaves a peck on your upper lip. "Thanks for breakfast, dear."

"My pleasure." She gets into her car, keys in ignition, shift to drive, u-turn, drives away, waves goodbye.

You ride her words back inside like a parade float and wonder if moments aren't so bad after all.


Waif13 said...

Normally when you write sweet things like this, it's a little to sweet for my taste. Still good, still enjoyable, but I don't re-read them the way I do some of your other stories.

That being said, this one will probably be an exception. I loved the everyday feeling of this. Like a couple in the very earlier part of the honeymoon phase.

and I loved this line ""And they swam through the sunshine like fishes."

Sibyl Vane said...

'Without pulling away, she speaks right into your ear.
"Do I get to see you tonight?"

You tilt your head back just enough to make eye contact. "Do I get to see you tonight?"'

This is, to me, a large part of what love is. Both people wanting the other in their life. A lot. A sense of the two of us being one rather than two individuals awkwardly placed together and entirely separate from one another.

Well written.

Haylee said...

I like this girl.