by Timothy Boudreau
Farro, flaxseed and oatmeal pancakes, browned on the skillet into crispy edges Sunday morning, to eat with our week’s only leisurely cups of coffee. I make the batter and you fry them up, nothing fancy but that’s the arrangement. We enjoy them with a black and white movie or jazz and ’70s soul. Corny love songs, that’s our jam. We sometimes sing along, off-key. “Didn’t I blow your mind this time — didn’t I?” We sprawl together, kiss or touch hands, until there’s a more pressing chore to complete or it’s warm enough to go out. Shoot hoops at the public courts, H-O-R-S-E, best two out of three, followed by a basket of fries, fingers ketchup-sticky as we sit outside under the umbrella at The Snak Shak. Salt and pepper spare tire dude who can’t grow a beard, short chick with curvy hips and bedazzled magenta sneaks.
Gentle sex, rushed sex, sex when someone is too drunk to perform, sex when we’re thinking of other people, precisely only each other or no one in particular. Sex when I focus on the starting lineup of the ’78 Sox so I don’t come too fast. Sex when someone ends up bleeding and we can’t figure out why because we both trimmed our nails.
When I had surgery on my knee, you slept on a cot in my hospital room. After one of your surgeries you kept hitting the button for more morphine. Everyone laughs when I tell the story. Your benign cysts (thank goodness); the afternoon I passed out and you knew I wasn’t being funny or faking it because my hand was limp beside me on the kitchen floor.
It’s spring, pink-gold sunset soaks into the living room. Step into the yard, don’t think about what needs to be done to the driveway, watch the light suffuse the birches and crab apples, let it soothe and warm, flow over and through us, let’s breathe inside it. Feel our same light, for we have light between us, I swear we do. Think of those who love us, our faithful, fucked-up friends, generations and iterations of family. If your sister’s health or my brother’s takes a turn, another terrible test result, we’ll get off the phone drained and trembling. Touch my arm, don’t speak, I’ll kiss your forehead and pull you to my chest. They call us first because we comfort them. I tell you we have our own light, our own suffusion, warm softness of pink and gold. At night before we sleep it’s a kiss always and a whisper (eyes smile in the darkness), I love you, sleep well Bun-bun, I love you too Vanilla Boy.
Timothy Boudreau’s work appears or is forthcoming at Bending Genres, Fiction Southeast, Lost Balloon, Milk Candy Review and X-R-A-Y. His collection, Saturday Night and Other Short Stories, is available through Hobblebush Books. Find him on Twitter at @tcboudreau or at timothyboudreau.com.