Theme II: Flowers, “So, how ’bout a love story for Valentines day?”

By Anna Yao

Take off your heels. Slip out of that parka and unravel your scarf. Pull that sweater over your

head, those tangled black strands. Come, naked as the day you were born, red and warm with

doe-like eyes, clean and warm like the paper inside a printer.

“I can’t sleep.” You say, settling yourself comfortably on my lap that you consider your personal

headrest. “Tell me about your girlfriend.” I put my book face down next to me, still open on the

page where Patrick Bateman literally devours a prostitute’s pussy, and rest my right hand on your

chest. The sternum beneath my fingers feel like the bars of a cell, imprisoning your heart for two

life sentences, back to back. “Well, what do you want to know?”

You look up and to the side, “What does she look like?” You put your callused palm over my

hand like a grappling child, so clumsily feigning indifference that I almost laugh (it would’ve

made you so mad!). I do smile a little, though. “Kate goes to MIT. She has choppy, brown hair

and a really big, happy mouth. She’s a little shorter than you and about four pant-sizes smaller.” I

tease, you whack my knee with your free hand, and because you start doing the smirky side-smile

thing, I’m guessing you’re not very satisfied with the answer.

“What else? What does she like to read?”

“Kurt Vonnegut, Bret Easton Ellis, and, uhhh, probably Ayn Rand or something. Anyway, what

do you care?”

“I don’t.”

You get up from my lap and walk to the window with long, loping steps and stare out the window.

I go to the kitchen and fill my glass with more wine (1738, if you’re wondering). When I get back,

you’ve disappeared behind the translucent curtains, which daybreak has turned an almost white-

colored blue. Sitting cross-legged on the window sill with your back turned to me, your 5’9 frame

looks almost childlike. Strange. People like you remind me of myself, crafty, dishonest, prickly, yet

hopelessly and irremediably in love with life and the burn of its every twist. You, the spitting

image of a dark-haired Amanda Seyfried. You, with your snapping jaws and impenetrable wall.

You, with your eyes like x-rays, seeing through my very skin and bones.

“What do you want from me?” I ask you through the curtain. I honestly want to know.

“From you?” Your head tilts sideways a moment, “I haven’t decided yet.”

Such were the things that governed the cross paths of our lives. Indecision on your part, and

indecision on mine. You keep poking and prodding, an irresistibly irritating child, and I keep

pretending not to notice. I dodge your probing eyes, the earnest gaze of your eyes like rainwater,

force you to retreat, at least for the moment, with stinging words among other things, like

cowardice.

You come out from behind your hiding spot, your smile like the scathing mockery of a mean

critic. I bend my neck a little. You crane your neck to meet my mouth. A kiss like this one, awful

bitterness and spice and perhaps a little bit of sweetness, I may carry with me a long while.

You leave, wearing a black, wool coat over your shoulders, that same long, loping step.

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