Sketches – 70

I love to see you laugh

I think I have a stupid laugh

What?

I sound like a donkey.
And I snort.
It’s embarrassing

I love your voice.

I notice you didn’t say, “laugh”

I love the sound of your laugh, seriously.

You don’t get tired of it?

No.
It’s when you’ve stopped laughing
That I’ll really worry

You don’t laugh very much.

No. I know I don’t.
Not much surprises me, I guess

That’s why I enjoy the challenge.
Getting you to laugh takes effort.
I like that

Well, your weird that way

Don’t guys enjoy the challenge?
You know, in dating?

It depends. Many do.
I’m just not wired that way

You went after me hard enough

Yeah, well.
I was rather smitten.

I bet we could drive
A long way in any direction
And not find another guy
Who’d use the word “smitten”

I was taken with you?
Infatuated? Afflicted?

Somehow, that last one
Sounds ominous.
Like I was a disease

Lovestruck?
Crushing on you?
Enraptured?
Just fricking gone?

As opposed to now, when —

Oh, I’m still fricking gone
Where you’re concerned.
And a little bit afflicted

I’m about to afflict you,
If you don’t watch out


(To read other episodes in this series, click here. – Owen)

not you, too

i wish you loved me

not you, too

what is so bad with saying “love”?

it isn’t what you say, it’s how
you say it. love’s not ownership.
it is a song, a thunderstorm,
a breeze. it’s not a thing at all.

but still i wish you loved me

yes, you do

Reroutes (2)

She spoke to me of fall, and said,
“That year, we took a trip to see
The leaves first turning.
We were to start a family,
And I was burning
With readiness, and fearfulness,
And all else in-between,
And every night we talked of wonders
That day seen.

I never dreamed that any trip
Could be so good.
The night’s were full, and intimate.
Ray understood
And shared, I think, the fears I had.
The glorious fall weather
Was like a curtain over us,
We two, together.”

They have three children, now, the youngest
Just turned ten.
I asked her if they ever talked
Of going back again —

“Oh, no,” said she, “the memory’s great,
But I think time has shown
When anything’s that perfect, I should
Just leave it

Alone.”

A Donut Shop Encounter

[overheard in line]

… so… you like the Butternut?

Yes, they’re very good.

Then I’ll take one of those, too.

Anything else, sir?

Yes. Your employee discount.

[Laughs] Sure. Why not. Anything else?

Yes. Your number.

Umm… I have a boyfriend.

Really? Ever given HIM your employee discount?

Nice one. That’ll be four seventy-three.

[Turning to me] Can I help you?

I think I’ll try the Butternut as well. You handled that really well, by the way.

Yeah, well… his wife is waiting for him out in the car, I figured she’d appreciate it.

Or wouldn’t, as the case may be.

 

Asides – 1

The men I meet don’t even try

What do you mean?

They don’t even try to see “me”.
They just want things.
It’s all, like, a big game

Doesn’t sound like a very fun game

It’s not.
I’m lonely.
Is it me?
Am I doing something wrong?

You? No.
You’re fantastic.
Any guy would be lucky
To date you

Then what is it?

It’s just… opportunity.
Somebody good will come along.
They will. They’re out there.

Well they need to come ashore then
Oh… and, um… Owen?

Yes?

How did you know that
Janey was the one?
And don’t tell me
‘I just knew.’
I hate that answer

When I first saw her she was…
Just standing by a window.
I looked at her, and
I literally couldn’t breathe for a second.

Would you say the initial attraction
Was physical?

Sort of yes.
More… metaphysical.
I knew she was an artist,
I’d heard of her, but
I had never seen her.
Now I was just… struck dumb

Did you talk to her?

No, because I was struck dumb.
I did eventually.
She just fascinated me, I mean,
You’ve known her longer than I have.

Yeah, you were the first decent guy
She dated.

Well… sort of decent

No she went out with some real losers.

… and so have you.
But you’ll meet someone.
My whole point.

I hate being patient.
I was never any good at it

Then hurry about things
You CAN control.
Don’t worry about guys.
Maybe you could take up parkour…

Sigh.
Even my male friends don’t even try

Sketches – LXIX

I can’t believe you’re wearing that

Why?
What’s wrong with this?

You look like my dad.
It’s not your sexiest look

Fine. I’ll change

Just give me that shirt.
Goodwill needs donations

Wow, you really hate this.
You realize, a man could never say
What you just said to a woman.
He would be called verbally abusive.
It would be all over the Internet.
It would go viral or pandemic or something

You’re probably right, but
That shirt’s gotta go.
It looks like the pattern was made
By someone operating a jackhammer

[… coming back in the room]

Much better

So did your dad have bad taste in clothes?

The worst.
And he was a really good looking guy.
He wore weird mixtures, like
A Hawaiian shirt with a bolo tie.
Stuff like that.
When I was a teenager, it used to
Really embarrass me

Well I won’t wear that shirt again.
Especially since you just took it.
You miss your dad don’t you?

Every day.
Especially recently.

Any particular reason?

All that craziness with my sister.
Keeping calm was my dad’s province.
That’s not really mom’s thing.
Or mine

He sure loved his girls

You think?

Honey, I know.
I met him.
He loved you two,
Thought you were the coolest things ever

Yeah, well,
He wasn’t big on saying it
TO us.
I’m glad he said it to you

He would be proud of you,
Of what you’ve made of the gallery

Now I’m gonna cry

I could put the shirt back on,
Change the mood

Tacky is not a mood

Sketches – 68

Is that a sepia-tone painting?

Yes

Historical?

No, it’s representative of
Our current times.
How we may look back on them
Forty years from now

So as quaint and out of fashion
As faded black-and-white photographs?

More like lithographs,
But yes

And what do you see
As the essence of our times?

I haven’t worked that out, but,
Blindness and hubris are in there.
We cannot see what is right in front of us.
Most people have stopped looking,
Unless they think there’s a good
IG post to be seen.

And the hubris?

Oh, that’s everywhere.
We are trying to create
Artificial intelligence
Without genuine wisdom;
Machines can learn, but
Kids are left untaught;
And we sit in judgment of all
Previous generations and societies,
As though we are so much better.

That’s a poem right there

Now it needs to become a painting.
Do you mind cooking tonight?

No problem.
How about chicken curry,
Squash, and whole grain bread?

That’s hubris, right there,
Thinking you can pull that off

But it’s more or less sepia

Then I’ll more or less
Try to eat it