Too Many Love Stories

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Too Many Love StoriesI am in Philadelphia, walking west towards the train terminal, figuring out where I am supposed to be because I get lost everywhere. I board the wrong train. Two hours spent going in the opposite direction of my destination, late to meet him for dinner. I barely know him. It is raining and my glasses are gone and my shoes are wet and everything hurts and I am tired, exhaustive-tired.

He waits, I apologize profusely, shaking my head and big hair and big body and flapping gums, muttering something, I’m sorry, something, I’m sorry, something, I’m sorry(!) What are you sorry for he asks. I wonder if I am in a dream, with a dream-boy, in a dream-place, living in this dream-moment in which anyone could possibly not be ready to be steam-angry (steamy steaming), like the way Pop-Eye’s (is it Pop-Eye?) ears steam smoke like a fire blazing.

The dinner was uneventful, in fact intensely so. We circle around circular conversations about what looks good on the menu, awkward (God, so, so awkward) silences, oh, that chicken sounds good, I’ll have that, yes, I’ll have that as well, tongue-tied self-consciousness and patient waiting. A hand greets mine from under the table, I remember exactly how it grazes my pinky, my knuckles freeze with anticipation, and then grazing subsides, and cows return home, and the waitress walks in. Miss, would you like more water? What? More water – would you like more water? Oh, yes, please. Thank you.

The walk home is similar in silence. I remember that I cannot remember if much was said at all. Thank you for dinner? Thank you for dinner. No problem. I remember forgetting my umbrella. Was it raining? Oh yes, I remember where I am in the story. Yes, it is still raining. Bright blue graphic rain drops and a little umbrella pattern over the curvature of the nylon, a big red handle, cheerful, the type of umbrella where you run around in thunderstorms splashing in puddles because you’re so damn happy (a sickening happy, really) and it doesn’t matter that your shoes are wet or that you are tired, exhaustive-tired, because you are together and splashing, splashing and together.

We are in bed now. Huh, I guess that happened fast. My memory is unreliable here. At least the location of the bed. How we got here, I cannot remember. By this time, it is late. If you recall, I was two hours late. Oh now, I remember, it was too late to go across the city to reach my actual home. Clothes are off but not bare. Sky blue moonlight casts over our bodies, glowing in the night. I can’t sleep, and our eyes meet, I can’t sleep. Try. Ok. A few minutes later. Somehow through all the silences and subtle and loud and all the patience, and all the dream-moment obstructions of time, emerges a quiet question, hopeful and soft.

Will you kiss me?

Sure.

A sickening happy, really.


Photo used under CC.




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About Author

Freda Epum is a Nigerian-American writer and artist from Tucson, AZ. Her work has been published or is forthcoming from Bending Genres, Cosmonauts Avenue, Heavy Feather Review, Nat.Brut, and Rogue Agent. She is a Voices of Our Nation/VONA fellow and is currently working on experimental vignettes of prose and poetry for a memoir about depression. She likes bad movies and good puns.

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