by Joel Landfield
She came by on a Friday night.
We both played it cool,
pretended there was nothing strange about it.
Her new fella didn’t like movies,
she wanted to see this old flick with Warren Oates
and Harry Dean Stanton,
and I had it.
I had gone out to the store
bought her the root beer
and gummy raspberry candies
picked up the room a little,
emptied the ashtrays.
She wouldn’t kiss me back.
“I’ve missed you, estupida,” I said.
“Then you shouldn’t have dumped me, fool.”
I had nothing to say.
She let me kiss her all over,
rest my hand on her leg,
grip her arm like I had sometimes liked
but she wouldn’t kiss me back.
She lay on her stomach
texting him. Her
short skirt rode up,
I looked at those tattooed thighs
I liked so much,
that glorious line where
they met her little brown ass,
her crimson panties where
they came together.
I touched her thighs idly as she texted away,
that phone that seemed an extension of her hand,
smiled to myself at her gold toenail polish.
I slid those red panties aside,
slid them off,
quietly ate her pussy.
She waited until she came before becoming indignant.
We watched, we talked, it got late,
she wouldn’t kiss me back.
God bless her,
she stuck to her guns.
I had to admire that.
She told me she was tired,
took off her clothes,
got beneath the covers.
I turned off the lights,
put a Richard Conte movie on, low,
and held her close, the way she likes,
until she fell asleep.
When her breathing got heavy,
I kissed her forehead and whispered to her.
“I’m sorry, Chicharron. I’m so, so
I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a night like that
with someone you ain’t supposed to.
Nights like that live outside of time,
in some sweet limbo
and in the morning there’s a savory anxiety,
the knowledge that once one of you gets up and leaves,
the spell is broken. Reality rushes in,
like water in to a submarine with broken portals.
We cuddled in bed, the quiet morning
light filtered through
my dirty windows.
“I love you,” she said out loud,
for the first time ever,
perhaps still thinking me half asleep,
her voice betraying the resentment and affection
she’d been so careful to hide.
I looked in to her face,
said “Pardon me?”
“I won’t repeat it,” she whispered, looking down.
I wrapped her in my arms,
held her face to my chest,
I’d often told her I loved her.
But never when she was awake.
We fucked that morning,
twice, trying to grip that last few hours,
draw it out.
I savored the way her tooth caught on her lip, like it always does.
Still, she wouldn’t kiss me back.
She kept looking at her phone, though.
That fucking phone.
I got real quiet.
“WHAT?” she asked in that sexy,
bratty way that she does.
“Maybe I just saw your phone,” I said,
“Maybe it was a picture of you and dude.
Maybe I got real fucking jealous.
Maybe that’s real irrational.
Maybe I don’t fucking care.”
“That’s not my fault,” she shot back matter-of-factly,
and went back to whatever it was that she was doing.
I scowled, pouted tough,
but I knew that she was right.
Finally the time came,
we got up,
But before we walked out to the street together,
before our tone changed,
before our conversation became louder,
we stood by the door,
I drew her to me,
one arm hard around her waist,
the other hand on her face,
I kissed her hard on her mouth.
And she kissed me back, just the once.
Joel Landfield is a poet and curatorial DJ in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a mainstay of the Tenderloin Reading Series and has contributed his stories to the Portuguese Artist’s Colony and InsideStorytime.