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So we sat staring at each other.
I mean. I was looking in your eyes.
I mean I had something to say. We were here for. That's what this is for.
Yes. I heard you the first time. Don't tell me what I'm trying to say.
Don't put words in me.
I was watching your lips when you frowned.
I didn't see your eyes roll.
You were thinking instead about the time at the roller rink and the hotdogs, teaching each other to rollerskate surrounded by twelve year-olds flirting on skates in circles, and the fat lady with the shoe spray insisting you wear socks:
"For your sake, honey."
And it was just as well. I leant you one of mine and you thought that was romantic.
I'm not. You are. You're not. Listen to me. Listen. Did you hear what I was saying five minutes ago. I said the same thing to you yesterday. We've already had this. I'm not going here again. What.
The time in that bar below street level where the musicians played jazz like lizards if reptiles could improvise and you called me a chameleon and seemed so pleased with the metaphor.
The salad with scampi and raspberry vinaigrette and Midori sours glowing in the dim.
Your slow eyes and the music over your shoulder.
I'm talking to you. I'm trying to communicate but you're not even. Here we are. Right now, you said. Here we are.
I sat looking around and then I took your hand from where it lay on the edge of the table as the music.
Your sheets smelled like mint. Instead it all culminates in your hair brushing my face. That's it. That's why. That moment. Your heavy-lidded eyes fixing me like.
Where are you. Where are.
Why then. What then. How and where has everything taken breath. Like junior high biology students prodding a dead frog carcass and pointing out:
Look, here's the stomach. Look I found the liver.
That. I don't know what that is. Does that belong there.
But there's no teacher to explain. There's no intermediary: just you and me and the space between us pulling us stopping us bathing us bouncing us like astronauts on spacewalk.
Blink and you're.
Just like I always expected.
James Stegall had a literary Sunday night.