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you and he

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He is nobody you know. He bought a pack of cigarettes from you this morning. He is what you wished you looked like. He is the boy you loved, until he broke your heart one day, listing your flaws and failings as a human being as he gunned his car through the humid afternoon. It wasn’t until the bumper was completely out of sight that you realized the place he had pulled you from the passenger seat, limb by sobbing limb, was the city dump. He owns the leather shoes sticking out from the stall next to you, in the nightclub bathroom. He has that strange glance that makes you fear the stranger. He is your grandson, and you are proud of him. He brushed your arm in the street. He asked if you knew where the highway was from here. He took your breath away when he ordered the finest vintage on the six page wine list after looking for all of ten seconds. You realized then that ‘wine cruise’ meant nothing to him. He is the boy in 4th grade who refused to color his Easter eggs one Thursday because he wasn’t hungry. He gently stroked your cat, that time it got out for three days straight. He winked at you across the poorly lit bar causing you to momentarily choke on an ice cube in embarrassment, amusement, or disgust. He later grabbed your ass and you didn’t even notice. He required no tailoring on the suit he had purchased from you not an hour ago, an unfortunate fact, as he had been willing to pay you for the fitting service, but measurement after measurement slowly rendered you mute: a sartorial anomaly, it was as if the man was made to fit the suit. He was the only American you ever liked. After he demolished you in tennis you had a hard time believing he had never played before. But somehow you couldn’t help but think he was telling the truth. He owns the fine vehicle that you scratched with your own clumsy car door in the theatre parking lot. He was the gawky brace-faced kid that gave a stunning, eerily natural performance as Oberon, king of the fairies, in your 3rd period winter production of “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” You taped the branches to his fingers yourself. And you, you wrote this masterful work in 1592, with him in mind. He made your friend dump her boyfriend of three years. He was what smelled good in here. In reviewing stacks and stacks of applications and submission portfolios, his was the only one, in 25 years, that truly impressed you.

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