and I panic. because I don’t know if she means as her best friend or
girl friend or girlfriend, but I say yes, of course, I say yes. and
decide— that I will never be in love without being, a little bit, afraid
of the fall so when her dad. walks into the kitchen. I shake his hand.
I meet his eyes. he starts on dinner—steak fajitas—and I offer to
help. because I want him to like me & I worked in a Mexican
restaurant, once. it’s just the two of us, now. the sautéing of peppers
& onions filling the space between our sentences. we both like the
rain. both prefer medium rare to medium well. both play some
guitar we agree. that his daughter sure is something. next— I lob
only the softest of compliments. laugh when he does & when I can
tell he wants me to. he pours us a pitcher of the dark beer he brewed
himself. and when we realize, suddenly, that we forgot to buy
tortillas— we decide to make them from scratch. we are a team,
now. with him, kneading the dough by hand. and me, rolling the
thinnest circles I can manage. look at those he says. those look
professional. of course, this makes my heart swell. as does his voice,
when you ask, gently, how things are going in here. and he
replies—we’re doing great. and I know he means it. and later. even
though everyone can probably see us. you slip your hand in mine
under the table. and sigh. and sigh.
Lauren Saxon is a Queer, Black poet and engineer living in Portland, ME. She loves her cats, loves her Subaru, and loves spending way too much time on twitter (@Lsax_235). Lauren’s work is featured in Flypaper Magazine, Empty Mirror, Homology Lit, Nimrod International Journal and more.