I Want To Follow Her

Mike Baird
Mike Baird

She’s one of the only people I can’t fully read. Not even half read. Not a quarter read. It’s not that she’s hiding anything in plain sight. There are just some things about her that I don’t understand, and that’s okay.

It’s okay that I don’t understand, because she’s right there and I don’t have to.

She has protruding hipbones and a motorcycle jacket perched atop her angles. At first the jacket seems like not her style because her style seems conservative, more conservative than cropped leather, anyway, but for some reason it looks okay. No, it looks more than okay. She sits on a bar stool in front of me, patiently, waiting for me to finish my beer.

I try to drink fast so she doesn’t have to wait long.

I’ve tried to figure out what she smells like before and I can’t. To me it’s always been laundry and shampoo, something clean and unfussy, which is what she is. She could also ironically be wearing a signature olfactory blend of laundry and shampoo, though she doesn’t strike me as the type that would go out of her way to be ironic. I give up thinking about it and ask her what she’s wearing.

Just laundry and shampoo, she says.

I run my thumb lightly under her shirt, over her hipbone the way she likes it. It’s an odd thing to like but I don’t ask questions. It’s the sharp intake of breath that makes me keep going, even though she gives me a Look, eyebrow angled up, to remind me we’re in a bar. She doesn’t take my hand off her hip though. I keep it there. Her eyes tell me she’s not used to this but she’ll follow me.

I don’t realize until later that it’s me who wants to follow her.

I realize I don’t know what color her eyes are. Translucent blue or greenish or that odd conflux of tarnished gold and moss called hazel. Whether they’ve got a gray tint or deepen into turquoise or what. I have no idea.

I don’t think that when you look in someone’s eyes the objective is to see color.

She kisses me with the fervor of someone betting her winnings, says my name in bed and it makes me feel high. High and falling in ice water because I think she says it to reassure herself I’m real.

I steady my hands on the jetties of her hips and pull her into me and drown.

She wraps her body around me after, laundry and shampoo mixing with vanilla and smoke, and keeps it there until my breathing slows, then disentangles herself and leaves for the night. TC mark

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