For Once

It started out simple; smiles exchanged. Then words and the words became lyrical; threatening to pull the stiff work clothes off my skin.

Then we had lunch–that turned into drinks after 5 pm and when he asked me out on the town, I declined. Faked obligations that I would never wish on anyone but it worked here, when I needed an out. Why was I playing hard to get?

It was simple. I needed someone to stay for once. Someone to hold me after…wards for once. I needed whoever the one worth my time was, to eat my pancakes and sausages and drink the dark brew my mother taught me to make for gentlemen callers. None ever stayed long enough to know that I had skills beyond the swirl and dip of my thick hips. They never stayed. So I lied, alright?

He was nice, seemed to have it together and I didn’t need to contrive a fantasy that only unicorns and faeries seemed to survive in, only to end up hurt since I was real. But… but, he asked me to reconsider.

Told me he had tickets to see Lalah… mentioned he heard me playing her music when I’d pull into a parking spot at the park n ride before we caught our bus downtown. Mentioned how much he thought about playing in my braids as he played her music for me. Told me I was the one with the nice smile. Asked me if I had ever tried the coffee at Beans in Bags around the corner from our building. When I told him I had, and that I in fact brewed it every morning at home, he mentioned wanting to taste it.

We did make it to the concert and we did hold hands and dance and smile. He sniffed my neck, loving the scent of musk I placed there and when he grabbed my hand and led me to his car, I followed knowing I wouldn’t tell him to drop me off and go on his way. I forgot the rules. And the rules were buried like he was buried deeply inside of me and the clutch of my braids in his fist as he stroked shrieks out of me made me arch and grab his tensing cheeks.

When I came, and he came, there were no rules.

Morning came bringing the stretching and yawning and eye opening. The light was held back from drawn curtains and once adjusted I realized I was alone, the spot next to me not warm but cold. I wanted to cry but hadn’t I made a choice? Hadn’t I been the one willing the accept the warmth of one night in place of a lifetime? Hadn’t I been selectively stu-
“When do I taste this coffee you were bragging about?” His hoarse voice pulled me away from bitterness and into delight. For once, one stayed.

 ©Aja Graves 2018


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