Let’s go find lunch.
Like it’s hiding in the bushes,
Like it will appear if we can seek it out.
If we say the right incantation, poof, it appears.
Only a few of a restaurants have it.
This lunch thing.
You must find it first.
Find my lost lunch.
Is it in my bag?
On the grass?
In my hat?
I don’t know. We must seek it out.
What is this hope of new romance?
Aren’t we too practical for this nonsense?
Here I am talking to my friend on the phone while I’m wandering my room,
Folding laundry, cricking my neck, friend in my ear,
What are you supposed to do on a third date?
She googled what to expect.
She says it’s going well.
That he’s shy, so each time she learns something new.
And she likes him.
And he likes her.
I tell her that’s great. I’m so happy for her.
Even if they can only meet at weird times because he works the night-shift.
I tell her I went dancing, and ate pho with a new boy.
I like him I think.
Like the nervous you get when you know a painting is going well,
You don’t want to ruin it.
So you proceed very slowly,
And try and shush down the hope and the future plans your brain has decided to spring on you.
I play a video and get told to use headphones.
But they can talk and make tea unencumbered.
I am the one to subdue because I am the interloper,
The quiet person who pays rent, and won’t be staying,
Don’t make room on the bathroom counter,
Or in your daily routine.
Let us find a box for you and your things.
I haven’t applied for new jobs.
I think about it, and chicken out.
I get home and cry because I have no energy left.
I can do it on the weekend.
Yet here I am.
Trying and failing to make a list of what I need to get done.
Here is this woman,
This wonderful woman,
Sitting across from me, sipping her cider with spices,
In a black coffee mug,
Snacking on Norwegian wreath cookies,
Telling me about what she studies,
With passion in her voice, and no shame.
She’s telling me engagements are different in Egypt,
In her culture,
Because there is no premarital sex,
They are often shorter,
But also less serious.
It is not a sure thing, once you’ve been engaged.
But the man is still expected to provide financially,
Basically afford a flat,
So the time engaged depends on money more than anything else,
And the expense of the wedding.
She doesn’t get to tell me more,
I have to drive the people who invited me along home,
And I think,
We could have been friends.
Those funny, subtle shifts, of timing, friends, and circumstance.
We should be friends.
I want to hear about her fiancé, who cannot see.
I want to hear about growing up in Britain,
I want another chance from fate, to sit down in a green plush chair caddy-corner to her,
And hear more about life, from someone else.
The boys I meet now,
I cannot just trust my own opinion,
I use the other people’s voices in my head as counterbalance.
What would my mom say of this person?
Would my best friend turn up her nose?
If I introduced him to my people,
Would he fit in?
This is what I ask myself,
Because, suddenly, my own opinion needs bolstering,
And my own thoughts need support braces.
Here I am in the car again, so I can talk privately.
Yes, I’m cold, but I can’t be overheard.
I made it home from the party okay.
I got pretty claustrophobic, but I made it out.
No, I don’t know why I still talk to you either,
I think you’ve always known you liked me more than I liked you.
I’m hanging on now because of my abandonment issues.
I will leave you once I find someone better,
You know it. I warned you. I gave you a chance to stake a claim.
I think I’m your out too,
I give you someone to think about when you’re tired and lonely,
Which is better than nothing from afar without your glasses on.
Hello, it is I,
The person hiding in the tread of your shoes,
Congratulations, I have finally shrunk to the size you think I need to be,
Leave me alone now please.
Let me do things wrong or right in my own way,
Way down here,
Out of your notice.
Let me fail, please, without commentary,
It’s so hard to keep my shields up at full maximum for so long,
To repeal all the insults, jokes, teasing, and jibes, that I can and could do better, if only.
She says she only wants to date,
She’s not taking care of anyone.
So many men, she tells me,
At that age, are only looking for someone to take care of them.
She’s done that already.
But who will take care of her, I wonder to myself,
But her mind and body are good,
So maybe, she takes care of her.
A nice thought.
I can think to myself,
People are all the same,
As often as I want.
But when I was driving in Texas after the snowfall,
No one slowed down over the bridges.
When I called my friend to tell him how to steer out of a fishtail,
He ignored me,
I have front-wheel drive he said.
No one here knows how to use defrosters.
And again, I had those stranger’s thoughts.
I don’t fit in.
I have no home to go back to.