Let’s order this, and let’s order that, and, oh, let’s order this, too! I say, and you laugh, say, Okay, okay, okay, conceding to all my requests without thinking about them because you're sipping your espresso and watching me pour milk into my cold brew.
Do you like coffee, or do you like milk? you ask as I upend the entire tiny jug into my glass.
This is a tiny thing of milk! And I prefer half-and-half. I’d use less if I had half-and-half … but they don’t have half-and-half.
You came over last night, showed up with a bottle of wine and takeout sushi, and you apologized for being covered in kitchen smells and grease and sweat, but we’d been doing this dance on the phone too long and you weren’t going to be in town for much longer. My place was a mess (it’s always a mess), and I told you so, asked you to wait outside for five minutes, but you laughed, said it’d make us even, you and your kitchen grease, me and my messy apartment, so I opened my door wider and let you in.
You’re wearing your clothes from last night, clothes we threw in the wash after sushi and wine, and you’re wearing a baseball cap backwards because you say it’s easier not having to worry about your hair. You’re all limbs, long and tall, and I like you in the daylight, your tanned skin against your clean white T, or maybe I just like that you’re here, actually here next to me — you’re not someone I maybe dreamed up at a party, and you’re not just a string of text messages or a voice on the phone.
I like your laugh, the way your eyes crease into moons and your shoulders hunch, and I like the shape of your eyebrows. I like that you brought enough sushi for four people, and I like the way you eat, tidily but hungrily. I like the way you kissed me after the food was gone last night, the saltiness of soy sauce lingering on your lips. I like the way you smile at me now, as we order breakfast pasta (aka carbonara) and breakfast pizza and crispy potatoes and coffee cake and toast with jam, all for the two of us.
The night before, I felt much less at ease, felt self-conscious because alcohol sometimes gets me bloated and gassy, and I was nervous I’d fart or something and ruin the mood. You seemed fine, though, perfectly self-assured as you took charge, and there wasn’t time for me to sit with the questions that would ordinarily have been churning through my head, anyway — what is this, who are you, is this (am i) just something fun for you to do while you’re in town? — because you said, Kiss me, kiss me back, and that’s all I’d been wanting to do since I first saw you a few nights ago.
And now it’s the morning after, and we’re here, and you’re twirling pasta onto your fork, a slice of pizza in your other hand, as I make a puddle of chili oil on my plate and dip potatoes into it. (This place doesn’t have ketchup.) I cut the toast in half, slather both halves with butter and jam, hand you one. You break the yolk on the pizza with your fork; it doesn’t ooze as much as we’d like, set a little too firm. I get another cold brew, another tiny jar of milk. My thoughts are jumping from thing to thing, the satisfying chew of the crust that has just the right amount of salt, the richness of the carbonara, the ridiculous fluffiness of the coffee cake, the way you lean back in your chair and angle your body towards me, leaning in slightly when I’m talking, the way our knees bump under the counter, the way this feels so easy.
The way you said last night, propping yourself up on your elbow, your hair falling into your face, I pushed my flight back a few days. Maybe I can stay?