Thursday Night at the Gap

In the dressing room with three blouses, two pants of the same style, different color, you stand with your back to me, quickly remove your shirt revealing one fashionably tiny maroon bra.  Reaching back you hand me the shirt to hold. Still carrying the warmth of your body, slightly pungent smell of the day, your sweat and coffee, I fight the urge to press it to my face and breathe.

“The red one first,” you say. An unsubtle color, but one you often wear on your lips, a party dress, that cleverly thick headband. Arms over your head I can count ribs and scars, then feel the bulk of my body, covered in this winter coat. I slide it off and hang it next to yours, making the room feel smaller. I sit back down on the bench and you look at me, red shirt on, arms out with a what do you think smile in your eyes. “Swell” I say, “but I think I would prefer the black,” and you nod . ” Now the jeans.”

I have traced your hips with my eyes, fingers, lips. I know them as I know most of your body, most of your heart. Yet in this room, with too bright lights and the left behind residue of so many people, so many lives, they become brand new.  I reach out to touch you, but pull back, wondering if I still fit, if we still fit. You are still you, standing in worn, yellow cotton underwear, trying to decide on the darker or lighter wash, the former always fitting tighter, but I feel changed.

You lower yourself to my lap, facing me. As usual I look at your mouth, always impressed by its unintentionally seductive nature. You speak words but I am not listening,  just waiting for something I cannot yet make sense of, anything to break through this heaviness weighing everything down. You wrap your arms around my neck, pressing me to your chest, my lips at your sternum. I feel you kiss the top of my head. I love you for trying.



About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

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