By Alexandra Blogier
“I’m moving,” he says, the second day we spend together.
He tells me where. It doesn’t matter. I twist the rings I’m wearing, silver and turquoise, a bareness on the third finger of my left hand. I stand up from the couch. A guitar pick falls to the floor from the back of my thigh. I run my finger down the strong line of his nose.
“What did you do that for?” he asks.
I shrug. “Give me a sip of your cigarette,” I say, and he kisses me.
His apartment is only one room. It has no air conditioning, so we sit half dressed on the small, blue couch while he blows smoke out the window. He pours Coke into red wine, sweet and sharp; something he learned in Spain, when he’d been there briefly on tour with his band.
He plays music for me. Not his own, but that of other bands he likes; singers he wishes he could be, and bands that broke up before he was born. Most of them are ones I listened to in high school, or long before that. The first albums I ever bought, pressing my ear against a speaker, my stomach to the floor as it flowed through me.
“Can we have this month,” he says, “where we can say anything and none of it has consequences?” It makes my belly heavy; bloated from the bottles we clinked together, where moments before I’d felt light. “I love you,” he says, his hips against mine. He doesn’t know that every word has consequences, that they hit the air and dissipate, and yet they are small things for me to hold on to, still.
I invite him to my home, just once. He brings a bottle of cheap champagne and takes a shower in my bathroom, steam rising. I watch him grill steak and peppers in the backyard; the slope of his shoulders, his hair falling below his jaw. He hums along to a song I’d never liked and waves away the smoke.
“I love you,” he says once more, when our plates are empty.
“Really?” I ask this time. I don’t believe him, but to hear those words said aloud feels like catching my breath, something close to flight. Something fluttering, brushing dangerously close to hope.
“Not in a way where I’ll spend the rest of my life with you,” he says.
My rings are scattered across the table, and he picks one up, slips it over his pinky. It looks good on him, and he knows it, smiles at me through his fingers. Maybe he thinks I will offer to let him keep it, but I’m not that generous of a person.