The Girl You Mean It With
In my memory everything vaguely ambiguous you said is rife with hidden feeling. I can shade in your words to match my feelings. When you invited me to your house for a whiskey that night at the bar with our friends it was because you wanted me alone in your apartment. Your roommate was out of town. You wanted to talk. I sat in the leather arm chair. You handed me a full glass of whiskey and laid on the couch. Did you want to sit next to me?
I do not identify with my Jewish heritage but you were going through a spiritual revival. I maintained my atheism but offered Buddhist parables to parallel your humanistic take on Judaism. You countered the existentialism of my conclusions with your recent quests to make your life more meaningful through therapy. Our conversation was a quiet dance until two am.
Its months before we spend time alone again. There’s a party and a group of us abscond with a bottle of wine upstairs. Everyone spends the night ribbing on each other and it feels like we’re hiding from the babysitter in a tree house. Your old crush (who is also my friend) is in the group. You pay me no mind. As the second to last person leaves in a makeshift raincoat, you tell me I don’t have to rush home. We walk to your room. You tell me about the new girl you’re seeing. You’re elated. We talk about the ukulele and you sing. I adore you with my eyes and the red wine buzz makes my heart serious. The rain isn’t letting up but I need to leave. As I make my way across the room you rise from the bed and take a white lily from the vase on the floor by your closet. You lean against the door, place the flower in my hand, pour your gaze into my face and tell me “this is for you.” You’re trying to kill me.
It’s pouring rain into my coat, bag, and shoes. The sidewalks are flooding and I can barely stay upright. I find a cab and take it the 12 blocks to my house. In the dark of my porch the lily is neon white and I can’t see anything else.
I will spend the next month trying to figure out why you gave me that flower. I will spend the entire summer trying to figure out what I could’ve done to make you look at me the way I want, as the girl you pour whiskey for, talk softly with, fall asleep side by side with our clothes on. Ask to stay, strum along, give a lily. Mean it.
This story is a recounting of true events from years earlier. Sometimes I process shit slowly.