By William Beaudoin
The night before me and Chris had slept in our tent at the edge of the garden and I opened my eyes to the soft yellow light that filtered in through it’s skin. At the breakfast table I focused in on Fillipa’s shoulder, on a yellow stain that sank through the white lace of her shirt. It was on her right side, a few inches below the top of the shoulder, along the hem of a V that curved down from the nape of her neck, continuing modestly to the top of her breast before following a symmetrical curve back up. She was a vegetarian, pecking lightly at a bowl of fruit. She seemed so much more gentle than last night, drunk and fumbling at sexual presence as she danced. The stain made her seem years younger, a kid with a mom who would eventually clean up the shirt, and I focused on it and watched it pull as she reached for bread.
People look prettier in the morning. There’s a slight stupor that relaxes most motions, pushes them further away from the expectation and false ego played up the night before. No one was trying to get fucked at the table.
She kept mainly to herself and bread and fruit. We didn’t have sex the night before. I didn’t really want to. I reached out for butter, passed down the hard bread and listened to the conversation pass around me. I tried as much as possible to be a participant, hearing the sounds around me as actual information, but didn’t impose my english on everyone’s hangovers. The night before things had slipped in and out of my language and I latched on when I could. Occasionally someone would remind the group of the guest and I would smile and insist on my enjoyment at just being present, and things would carry on in English for a minute until Swedish was boisterously interjected and everyone started to laugh again.
Fillipa spoke good English, there was no slip. On midsommar – the night before – she had explained with a normal vocabulary and normal grammar that she had been to Seattle, and wished to backpack around Asia with her friends. I felt a lot of pressure from myself to continue on with her, but as the conversation continued, staying fine and normal and flirtatious I became more actively disinterested and consequently more muddled.
The physicality of food, reaching passing chewing, connects people quite quickly at a dinner party. Fillipa had left early that night to drink with Axelina, and this morning she was insular with her bowl close to her chest. A little of the mango yogurt slipped out and onto her shirt. She wiped at it sheepishly. It left a soft yellow stain and I focused in on it and let it give her more character, round out this person who I really only knew as someone who I didn’t sleep with. Who had wanted to fuck me, and now gave off nothing in particular. She could be more of her own person, the physicality of her breakfast not really extending beyond herself; If it was unconfident I think it would have falsely warded people away, but she was a part of the table, pecking at her fruit.