Home > F*ck Love(6)

F*ck Love(6)
Tarryn Fisher

“I have to go,” I say to Della. I hang up without waiting for her response.

“Hakuna Matata.”

“So predictable. Running errands for the queen?”

I think about reaching up to smooth down my mane, but if I opened the door like this, I might as well own it.

“She left her bag here?”

“Yes.” I step aside so he can come in. When he breezes past me, I get a whiff of his cologne. Not the same as the dream, but good. Neil doesn’t wear cologne. I watch him look around the room for Della’s bag. I know where it is, but I want to watch him. I also want to be mean to him because he’s ruining my life. “It’s there by the barstool,” I finally say. Kit bends down to pick it up. We never have much to say to each other, and it’s always a little awkward. But, now I feel like I know him. I head past him into the kitchen and take out the bacon.

He hesitates, not sure if he’s supposed to leave or make small talk.

I don’t really want to share my bacon with him—it’s the expensive, peppercorn kind—but I’m curious about who is he. Or who he is. Or whatever.

“Hungry?” I ask.

“Is that the kind with the pepper on it? From the deli?”

I nod.

He sits on one of my two barstools and folds his hands on the counter. “I don’t know how to cook. It’s a severe handicap.”

I shrug. “There are videos on the internet, cooking shows, and lessons you can buy for fifty bucks an hour. You just need some drive and you can be rehabilitated.”

He laughs. His smile isn’t centered on his face; it’s all up on his left cheek like it’s drunk. You wouldn’t really know that since he rarely smiles. He looks younger, mischievous.

“Maybe I should do that,” he says. “Become a self-made sous chef.”

“I predict you’ll love to cook in ten years,” I say, turning the bacon. “Then you’ll have to make me something great, since I started your love of cooking.”

“All right,” he says, looking at me. “What would you like?”

“Fish,” I say quickly. “That you caught yourself.”

“And after that, I’ll chop down a tree for you.”

I feel myself tingle, so I look down at my bacon. That happened so easily. The banter. The first time we’ve ever had a discussion alone, and we’re simpatico. I get the eggs and cheese out, too, because I need to stress eat.

“So you just—”

He makes the whipping motion I’m using to scramble the eggs.

“Yes,” I say. “Want to try?”

He does it to humor me; I know he does. Who wants to whip slimy eggs around in a bowl? He splashes them all over my counter, but it’s cute that he’s trying. I make him pour them into the pan, then, when I see he’s a willing helper, hand him the spatula. He watches as I finish the bacon and sprinkle cheese on the eggs. I wish I felt self-conscious about my hair, but truth be told, I look hella cute with psycho hair.

Too much? I ask myself. Who cares? I portion our food onto plates and walk ahead of him to my tiny dinette. While he sits, I go back for coffee.

“I don’t drink coffee,” he tells me.

I take a long sip from my mug and stare at him over the rim.

“That’s why you never smile. You’d be a better man if you drank coffee.” He laughs for the second time, and I feel a little high as I hand him his mug.

“What’s a Muggle?” he asks, taking it from me.

“I save that mug for special people, Kit. Don’t ask questions.”

Kit drinks his coffee. I wait for him to flinch, or make the usual complaints that non-coffee drinkers make. But he downs it like a pro, and I decide he’s not as bad as I thought. Maybe a little stoic. Melancholy. But, man, when you get him to laugh, it feels like a real goddam treat.

Thanks for teaching me to stir eggs, and also for feeding me,” he says when it’s time to go.

“No problem, Kit. See you tonight.” I sound all business. I want to pat myself on the back for not swooning.

“Tonight?” he asks.

“Yeah, Neil and I are coming with to Barclays.”

“Cool,” he says. “I didn’t know.”

“Della makes plans for everyone,” I say. I want to see how he reacts to that. If he’s annoyed by Della’s tendencies to control everyone’s free time. But he just shrugs.

“See you later then.”

When I look in the mirror after he leaves, I find egg in my hair. Also, I don’t look nearly as cute as I imagined.

Della shows up later while I am sorting through my box of mismatched socks. She walks right in, tossing her designer shit on my sofa.

“Oh no,” she says. “Why do you have that out?”

“What? No reason.” I try to hide the box, even though she’s already seen it.

She grabs me by the shoulders and looks in my eyes. “You don’t get that box out unless you have high anxiety,” she says. “What’s wrong?”

Della is correct. My box of socks has been around since I was a kid. My mom would complain that one of my socks was missing, and she’d throw the loner in the trash. Five year old me would get it out of the trash when she wasn’t looking and stuff it in my pillowcase. The other sock would turn up. I knew it even then. I was just keeping its partner safe until it did. When my mother changed my bed sheets, she freaked out about all the socks in my pillowcase. I heard her telling my dad I was a hoarder. I remember feeling shame. There was something wrong with me; my mother had said it with such conviction. Hoarder! Sock hoarder! Later, when my dad came to my room to speak to me, he told me that when he was little, he used to keep all the caps to the toothpaste tubes. He couldn’t bear to throw them away. He gave me a shoebox and told me to keep my socks in there instead. I hid it under my bed, my shoebox of shame, and when I felt anxious or lost I would pull it out and touch all of my socks. All loners. All waiting to be reunited with their twin. I eventually outgrew the shoebox … and by that I mean there were too many socks.

Kit doesn’t come to Barclays. At the last minute he calls Della and tells her something’s come up. I don’t know who’s more disappointed: Della—who starts to cry—or me, as I sulk in a corner pretending to listen to Neil as he talks about rocket science, or some shit like that. We order drinks, and I pull out a pen to doodle on my placemat. Once again, Neil and Della have a conversation without me. I wonder when I became the weird one. The little social pariah who sits in the shadows, trying to discover her hidden artistic talent. I even ordered a different drink than my usual cranberry vodka. It seems so childish to order, now that I’ve furnished a house with Pottery Barn. I order another glass of wine. White this time. The night ends early, and Neil drives us both home. Della asks me if she can sleep over. I say yes, but I don’t like it when she spends the night. For all of her beautiful, smooth skin, and bright blue eyes, Della farts in her sleep. It gets really uncomfortable. Most nights I go sleep on the couch and then sneak back to the bed before she wakes up. Neil walks us to the door and kisses me goodnight.

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