an interview –
2. he unzips my coat in the backseat of his car – winter kissing is like this – too many clothes – it is snowing and dark – my first winter in minnesota – he puts jazz on the radio – nighttime cold hands – carefully folds my coat – lays my head back – funny new pillow – and he turns the heat up high – and he says you can take my shirt off if you want to – and he says your skin – and you're killing me – and is this okay? – and this is okay – this is – it is snowing and dark – funny new winter
3 (when i let him come over).
he says you smell like lavender – he got the flower wrong – i don't have the heart to tell him it's lily – to smell like those woods – to smell just a little bit like my childhood –
we try to watch a movie but we don't actually really try
he says i want to pleasure you – but nobody has ever said that to me before – i just want to be honest – but i don't even know how to begin to respond – so i say i want you and he says – it's too soon i want to see you again and again and it would be too soon so –
4 (when he lets me come over).
he takes me ice skating, at a tiny outdoor rink. he is graceful and awesome and knows it, he shows off but i don't care. it all feels like it is supposed to feel
then all of a sudden it's not too soon and afterwards together we sit on his couch. he eats an entire fillet of smoked salmon, which is elegant and disgusting, kind of like having sex on a futon someone uses as a bed, kind of like the pause of getting a condom from the closet, like 26 year old musicians in general, like the way he whispered i'm going to come to which i whispered okay? and so he did. he feeds some of the salmon to his roommate's cat, offers me bits that he tears off with his fingers.
5 (when i decide i want him to be my boyfriend).
he makes me get a coffee with him and then says suddenly i can give you a jade plant. we walk around and look at old houses and he tells me the story of a man he knew, from whom he had bought his piano, who had a jade plant four generations old. a few years before, the man had thrown a party at which somebody stole his giant jade plant, as big around as you can make your arms, maybe even bigger he said. the thief stole it from his house, walked right out with it in the middle of the drunken night. but when they squeezed the plant through the front door, a tiny sprig of it, a tiny swollen jade leaf fell off onto the floor. the next morning, the old man found the sprig and planted it, crying into the soil, mourning the loss of this jade ancestor and helped it grow up again. somehow, he says, taking a sip, i have entered this story. the man gave me a leaf, and i can give you one, if you want. then he pulls me towards him, fingers wrapped in the folds of my coat – he kisses me on the street, winter.
he cooks rotisserie chicken, squash, rice and we eat it on the same couch. he didn't wash the gunk off of the squash seeds before he roasted them – while he talks, i pet his roommate's cat and wonder about squash – how it keeps showing up in all of my romance – how root vegetables make me feel grounded – how right now i don't need grounding.
later, in his futon bed – he says things like i love everything about your vagina.
i feel that opening in the chest – i am so so everything about it all
he comes and then helps me open the window – i spit out into the winter night – not before taking a moment to look around – my first winter in minnesota spread out before me – before ducking back inside his room – back to the center – the bed.
before, i lose my mind – i am anxious anxious – anxious – i drink too much coffee – i eat root vegetables – somehow i know because i am too too everything about it all
i kiss him in his car and i can tell he doesn't wan to be kissing – isn't that the feel of heartbreak? – wait i have something i need to ask you – but i want to keep driving – i need to be moving to do this – and the big gist of it all is compatibility issue – is i'm just not that into you – is shock – is it's showing again – is funny old winter – is i feel sad – me too.
Margaret Yapp is a recent college grad working and living in Minneapolis. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Tishman Review, Midwestern Gothic, Driftward Press, and elsewhere.