It was probably 2 AM and we were still on the couch when I looked over at him and said: “I do like you, you know.” I told him that I didn’t want us to call this anything because I didn’t want to ruin it and he said that he wasn’t going to call it anything because I seemed like the type that didn’t want to be claimed. He was right in a way and wrong in another.
I asked which state he liked most, traveling out that way, but he just reiterated that he went west. I didn’t press him but told him that I also want to go west.
I listened to other writers talk about students, Italy, tomatoes, politics. Everyone there was definitely out of my league so I tried to lean back some more, listening and watching as orange went purple then blue then black and then I mentioned, a bit tipsy now, that I liked rocks.
There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.
But then finally, he gets it right; he finds another missing piece, one that suits him well, and he knows exactly how to hold it so that it stays.
As I was wondering about Flint River yesterday afternoon, James leaned toward me and asked if I’d ever seen the element mercury. I never even think about mercury.
He pointed out a few things here and there, white light shining off his bald head, but mostly, he said nothing, and mostly, I pretended to be interested in walls while watching him move, look, change, turn.
I held it in place with my tongue until I’d located the airport’s security checkpoint and then I bit down into it, checking the watch on my left hand and beginning to kick off my shoes.
“It’s in here,” I said out loud, moving slowly and straining to see things. I felt linoleum underfoot, saw triangular patterns painted onto the floor.
“I’d like to keep getting to know you,” I said cautiously, and I heard him sigh on the other end of the line. My room was dark now, my head on my pillow already. “I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear you say that,” he said quietly.