In the Night of Your Skin

This is the awkward part of the story.  This is where the girl asks the boy if he has a girlfriend.  This is where he says, why do you want to know?  And the girl blushes.  This is where she imagines herself the innocent fawn crossing the busy highway.  Look out little doe.  See that you don't splatter yourself on the bad side of a truck grill.  You are so silly, such a cute thing with your long eyelashes and your big doe eyes.  Don’t you know how absurd this is?  Don’t you know what he really means when he says he’d rather you date other boys while he is dating you?  You are a silly girl.  Wait by the phone.  Pace the room.  Stare at yourself in the mirror.  Is that a wrinkle?  Stop it.  Did he call?  No.  Check again.  No.  How about now?  No.  Wait.  He doesn't know your number.  You never gave him your number?  No.  Call him up.  Flirt with him.  Give him your number.  No.  He won't call.  He won't call.  He won't call.  Pace.  Check.  Did he write?  He wrote.  What does it say?  You don’t know.  What does it mean?  You don’t know. It says something about smiling.  Yes.  It says something about poetry.  Yes.  But what does it mean?  You don’t know.
      Make it mean what you want.  Make it mean love notes tucked in lunch boxes and holding hands in the subway.  Make the two of you wrapped together under warm covers, bare legs intertwined.  Make you speaking in couplets while twirling an old-fashioned phone cord around your finger.  Make you say funny things.  Make you make charming words.  Talk about your books: Satre, Nietzche, Naruda.  Impress him.  He likes to eat chicken.  Giggle.  But don't tell him.  Don't tell him.  Don't tell him.  Tell him.  You don't eat chicken.  Pace the room.  You're a freak.  Everyone eats chicken.  No nuggets?  No.  No legs or wings?  No.  No.  Turkey?  Nooooooo.  Fish?  Sorry.  Cows?  Silence.  Tell him what you eat.  Pop-tarts.  Giggle.  And olives.  Toss your hair.  Tell him what you drink.  Gin and tonic.  Good.  Sometimes beer.  Better.  Yes.  Him too.  What kind?  Budweiser.  Oh.  Crappy American beer.  Stupid girl.  Giggle.  Pace the room.  Look in the mirror.  Nice eyes.  Blue.  You like blue.  Silly girl.  You’re not a doe, you’re a ham sandwich.
      He's too young for you.  Say it.  Don't say it.  He already knows.  Start over.  Fast forward past the sad stories of your childhood and the awkward two-month phase where he considers whether or not you are the one. Pace.  Check your watch.  You're not a ham sandwich.  You're the pickle on the edge of the plate, waiting for someone at the table to ask for you.  A pickle on the side has nothing to add to the story.  A pickle is an afterthought.  You're a freaked out pickle when you want to be a doe.  Smile.  Giggle.  He has beautiful eyes.  Sad eyes.  Like yours.  You have sad eyes.  Men fall in love with your eyes.  Men fall in love and you feel responsible.  Toss your hair.  Stick out your chest.  Lick your lips.  You're not a pickle, you're a warm bun, soft and delicate on the tip of a tongue.  You're the nice round pattie in between, dripping with juice.  Smile.  Laugh.  Pace.  You are not the innocent doe.  You are the black pantheress.  La Pantera Negra. It's in your eyes and your teeth, throbbing and thinking in the night of your skin.  You are expedient; a strategem; a device that will further the plot along.  You are ogled by the uneasy naturalist, and he will soon have the bite marks to prove it.  
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