art by Billy Sagulo
by James E Guin
You stand there watching me try on this blouse.
"It looks nice," you say, and this time you're actually paying attention.
I think about the fights we've had because you never liked to shop. And now here you are pretending like you are enjoying yourself.
"Are you pretending?" I would like to ask, but I don't want to know. I want to remember you like this.
You walk over, place your right hand underneath my hair below my left shoulder blade, and for a few moments we stare in the antique cheval mirror.
"I like these colors," you say. "These different shades of red contrast with your black hair, but it works."
Then you feel my hair between your thumb and index finger, squint your eyes, smile, and examine it like it's some kind of new fabric that you've discovered. But this is not the smile of discovery. It's the smile which tells me you are holding something back.
"Your hair is black like space and this blouse is red like Mars," you want to say. Then go into your lecture about how the iodized rocks on Mars makes the fourth planet from our sun look red when viewing it from the Earth. And "from the Earth" is when I stop listening.
I wish I would have listened to your spiels about the Roman god of war. Maybe you wouldn't go. Maybe you would stay here, on Earth.