-our 37th birthday-
*by someone who usually despises singing*
(frankie leone, just a man)
*she invites me over around ten pm.
i start the trek to the church ave q stop near the border of flatbush, brooklyn. the subways can be ruthless with a person’s time. it takes an hour to get there.
soon after arriving i realize i’ve forgotten condoms. it’s her roommate’s birthday at twelve am this heartlessly cold night. she realizes she’s forgotten a gift.
rock, paper, scissor, shoot.
“enjoy your stroll baby,” my voice winks.
her middle finger extends close to my face before she walks into the night.*
*entenmanns’s cake- vanilla. chocolate frosting.
three pack of condoms- lubricated trojans. black box.
can of 4 loko- twelve percent alcohol by volume. twenty-three point five ounces.
birthday candles- twelve pack. blue and pink.
she comes back with it all in a plastic bag emblazoned with a smiley face. after a few moments of laughter she speaks. her words are saturated with embarrassed amusement.
“my sweet bodega man will never look at me the same again.”*
*while his candles burn she sings with sugary affection in short shorts. my lack of enthusiasm’s jerry-rigged out of sight. i sing in a wife-beater and boxer briefs. he wears an oversized queens college t-shirt. his voice trembles with ecstatic gratitude. i initially mistake it for panic.
the living room’s dark. he’s perched on their sofa bathed in the indifferent glow of a television.*
*he’s turned thirty-seven years old. his body’s pale, pink, and portly.
at twenty five he left the orthodox jewish community he’d spent his entire life in. he’s unsuccessful as a professional and with women. it’s clear he feels he doesn’t belong anywhere. i know that when i see it.
he articulates all this shortly after our introduction.
him and i converse longer than necessary. her expression urges me to move onto the night’s next activity. he rambles awkwardly and i hear a self-destructive obsession with cards lady luck’s forced into his grip.
he makes me uncomfortable. i ask myself why but can’t put my tattooed finger on it.
i don’t know it now but even though we’ve never met before we’ve known each other our whole lives. looking at him i see my mirror image.*
*she has multiple roommates and thin walls. this considered it could be said the volume of our morning sex is inconsiderate.
all good things must come to an end. it does.
audible foot steps walk away from the bedroom door moments after. i ask, “is it just me being paranoid or did he listen outside the door?”
she whispers, “i’d love to tell you, and myself, he didn’t. it’s pretty likely we just gave a birthday performance though.”
i muffle my laugh and sing happy birthday with genuine enthusiasm.*
(enjoy what you’ve read?
facebook, twitter, stumbleupon, etc shares appreciated.
share button below.)