January 29, 2013

Dating As A 20-Something, In One Act

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I don’t think it’s worth it to see someone if the story of how you met isn’t interesting. Maybe that’s just the writer in me. I was in town for my cousin’s wedding and visited a friend after. You were her roommate. We all went to a party. I was still wearing a suit. You wore a red cocktail dress so I wouldn’t look so out of place. We lost track of my friend, and it was just us. You were in the middle of a sentence; I kissed you on the mouth. I asked you if you wanted to go somewhere else. There really is no gentlemanly way to say that, but I tried my best. You led me outside. It was a cool September night. I gave you my jacket. Even with the sleeves rolled up your arms were lost in it. We went for a walk, then back to your empty apartment. I slept on your couch; you said you’d just gone through a breakup and people would judge. You said you were sorry. You didn’t need to.

Two months passed. We exchanged the occasional text. I thought about you sometimes. I was in town again for Thanksgiving. I called you on a whim and you agreed to go out. It felt like I’d just seen you. It was comfortable. We made out in Washington Park. You pushed me up against your car; your tenacity surprised me. A passing car honked at us. We were in the road. You told me to call you when I was in town again.

I came back two weeks later. I had things I needed to take care of, but they could have waited. I wanted to see you. I took you to dinner. You looked beautiful. You asked the waiter about the decorations in the restaurant. It’s those quirky things that I like about you. We went for drinks after and then I took you to my uncle’s place, because he was away and his house is nice and more importantly because you share a room with someone and I certainly wasn’t taking you to my parents’ house.

I went downstairs to lock the door and when I returned you were laying across the bed reading my manuscript. I normally don’t let anyone read it because it’s rough and unfinished, but you looked content. So I just let you be and lay on my back and stared at your eyes criss-crossing the page. I was admiring how blue they are, enigmatic and sapphire, when you shut the cahier and gave me the look and I got up and turned off the light. We made love and it was thorough and concupiscent and surprisingly good, considering the first time you have sex with someone is usually mediocre. I’m sorry you hit your head; that was on me. But in all fairness the dresser was in a bad spot.

Afterwards we talked and clung to each other because it was cold and there was just a sheet and it was December. There was a blanket, too, but it had been cast onto the floor in the heat of battle and would be forgotten about until morning. I whispered that I wanted to see you again. You said you’d love to but you don’t want to fall into anything right now. I told you I understood. We live in different cities in different states. We’re at different points in our lives. Just slightly, but enough to give pause. So we left it at that. For now, or forever.

In the morning I didn’t want to get up because I was exhausted but mostly because I didn’t know when I would see you again. But it was almost noon and you had a final to study for. I brought you home and you apologized for the hickey you gave me and then we said goodbye.

I thought this was the end of the first act, but it was, in fact, the only. I had just written the others in my head. That’s just what happens sometimes.

Scene. Fade to black. Curtain. TC Mark

Zach Despart

Zach Despart is a writer and television director living in Burlington, Vt. He loves all things Hemingway and wishes …

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