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Friend Highball at Bastion Square
by Tricia Louvar

Dear You, Yeah You, the One Cleaning the Highball Glasses:

Let's talk about your eyes. Put down that white linen towel, turn those eyes back over to me, and listen up: When I am with a man, I want to be the woman (smaller and softer). When I am with a woman, I want to be the man (taller and harder). Artists live in duality; we know both sides. We're like a two-for-one special. Given this, I know a few things.

I noticed you when I was in the middle of chewing vegan noodle salad and looked over my eyelashes to sip the lager. I saw your eyes glint and dart from me. Maybe you're really thinking, why is she drinking at noon? I can answer that: because I can. And I am.

Understand it is rainy. I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself when it rains outside in an old, foreign city that is new to me. Drinking brings warmth to some degree, I guess. It brings me back to the version of myself that looks something like you.

Now, back to your eyes. How long have you been staring at me? How long have you been watching me browse the menu, order, wait, drink, and eat? Do you watch me because I am alone in a restaurant full of couples and lunching colleagues? Why is it that someone like me, with prehensile fingers and working feet, can be so free to eat alone with no book or newspaper serving as a suitable companion? I have an answer. I really do.

You are smaller and less defined in certain ways than me. I don't mean this in a condescending way only to say that I sit taller even when you're standing. And, of course, I can tell I am older. When your mouth circled mommy's nipple I was sitting in a car with a boy who thought it was a good idea to insult my breasts. To which he said something to the effect that "they might really be something special one day." Which meant, they were nothing great then. But if he meant special, as in they will serve up milk one day, then he was right about that. He was right.

The guy in me has the ability to unwrap you with a single triangular glance. Don't underestimate the power of an innate gift. For instance, I know you are about size two, your breasts are natural and fit, and those cheekbones are sharp as finials.

The quickness of your espresso eyes tells me you are not sure of yourself. However, if you've been paying attention you may have noticed my left hand. The man in my life is unwavering and lovely in many ways, but made up of many small things, like fractured twitches, very wide feet, and a volcanic need for cookies. And I should also tell you at this point that I have been pregnant three times but birthed just two, which has led me to the conclusion that I can mother the living and the dead, and I do not exclude myself from either category.

What I want to do, though, is walk up to you and place your face in my hands. There I will see an expression of acute shovel-readiness, where upon I will use my fingers to sweep that gaggle of hair aside, and press my mouth into yours. At first it will be just soft and utterly tasteless. Then a small parting of the lips and a dense fog will hover overhead and fall to your kidneys. I will reposition my feet to a stance closer to yours and press inward and slightly downward just a little but not too much.

Your lips will tell me what it is like to be twenty again and afraid of being vulnerable and just falling into someone. And this is how I, someone who has kissed the same man for nine years, will kiss you when silverware clanks and carrots are juiced through a spout and slide into one of your clean highball glasses. This is a modern place.

Take nothing less than absolute passion wherever you go from here, my lady.

Respectfully yours,

T, one sitting at the table for two



About the author:
Tricia Louvar's work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Zyzzyva, Literary Mama, Los Angeles Times, Orion, Best of the Web 2009 (forthcoming anthology from Dzanc Books), among other places. She lives in the Los Angeles area, where she is training with the California Wildlife Center to rescue, rehabilitate, and release imperiled wildlife in Southern California. For more of her work, please visit www.tricialouvar.com.



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