The Quotable

Seven Days a Week in Winter

While my lover sleeps, I lay on my side. I wonder if I should blow out the nightstand candles, and determine that anything I tell myself will be a stone lie.

While we made love, before her breath was even with sleep, I made sure to suck in my stomach. I reminded myself in time with our movement, with every pull, every push, every grab, every slap. Two seconds could not pass without abdominal contraction. I work out six days a week. Seven days a week in winter. My lover did not seem to notice my strange gyrations, pelvis forward, gut back. She always came readily, always with a sound that was theatrical, always with a seismic force. My lover was a beast that way. I sometimes thought that I was nothing more than her conduit. That her release would flow whether I was around or not. I sometimes had to fake my release.

While we got high after dinner, I made sure not to take in too much. I was paranoid enough. And I damn sure didn’t want to crave pretzel M&Ms. I liked my lover to do most of the smoking, imagined that her haze would obscure me enough, idealize me enough for her to do her thing. Her high would let her lust. Forget about love. It would allow me to understand her presence. This girl must be blazed out. I knew this M.O. well. I’d spent my twenties and the better part of my thirties drinking to deal with women. That was before I got old and heavy. I will be thirty-eight in twenty-seven days.

While we walked home from the restaurant, I watched the eyes of passersby for judgment. My lover is twenty-six. She is a vision. She is Albanian, has fully succumbed to the beauty propaganda machine, and has an affinity for Langston Hughes. She is a half-inch taller than me. My lover is perfect. I am mostly grateful. I watched matching couples for glares of rebuke. The women looked with pity, the men with confusion, hatred. Both wanted to throttle me, but for different reasons. I remembered to stand as straight as possible, as if that would make me taller. I smiled at the couples politely. I shrugged. This was to let them know that I was really not at fault, that this woman chose me. These measures did not fly. My lover wrapped her arm around mine. I resolved to do an extra set of curls tomorrow. My lover told me that she relished spending time with me, that she could not wait to get me home. While her soft lips moved to my jaw, I did not believe her.

While we ate, my lover raved about the meal, about how she so enjoyed having dinner with me, about how exploring new restaurants was a great joy in her young life. She didn’t quite say it that way. While we ate, I counted calories. My lover insisted on antipasto and multiple breadbaskets. She sopped rolls in olive oil. My lover is built like an Olympic volleyball player. I had one half piece of bread. Dry. I drank ninety percent of the pinot noir.

While I was at work, before dinner and weed and sex, I brokered a deal worth millions, much of which would make it to my pockets. This was of no consequence. My paper was already good. There was already a condo downtown and a beach rental. My Audi was black and chrome. My wardrobe was European. Sleek. My shoe game was well above par. Negotiating the deal, I wondered what my counterpart, another young woman, thought of my hair. Was it too styled? Not styled enough? Would she mention me to her girlfriends at happy hour? What would she say? How would she describe me? Would she tell them I was sharp, handsome, but with a bit of a double chin? While we negotiated, I was sure to keep my head up. I had skipped lunch to offset the upcoming dinner. When I returned to my office, there was a message from my lover: Congratulations. I know you killed it. I am so proud of you.

I blow out the candles. My lover continues her hard sleep. She lays flat on her stomach. One leg is straight. The other is bent to her waist at a murderous angle. I could climb right on to take her, this time without worry over my paunch. My lover would claim to want this. I move from my side to my back. Exhausted. Flaccid. While I think about getting it up, I smell smoke. I think my lover will soon smell it too.

Subscribe or Buy

Like this piece?

Support the artist!

Share This

The Quotable 9 Night and Day