Playing Doctor

Initial Visit?

Monday, January 30

Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)

I inhale with a start before I open my eyes. I’m up to my neck in warmth. I turn off the faucet and soak, listening to Creeper Lagoon’s Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday. I get out, towel off, wrap the towel around my waist and stir up a pitcher of limeade, pouring myself a tall cool glass and topping it off with vodka.

I respond to some emails and begin a rough draft of this entry. I lose track of time and am still in a towel when Stockholm knocks at my porch door.

I kiss her briefly and apologize for being undressed. Kirsty MacCall’s Titanic Days is playing now. I pour her a vodka limeade and walk into the bedroom to dress.

I’m trying to figure out what shirt to wear. I’m staring at seven different shirts, but have no idea what they will look like on me. I hear her ask, ‘So what’s your story?’

I lean back out the hall, still naked from the waist up, and see she’s browsing through my bookshelf. I instinctively say, ‘huh?’

‘What’s you’re story?’ she says.

‘Me?’ I say, chuckling. ‘I have no story.’

I lean back into the bedroom. The red shirt is a too red, I think, and the zippered front looked fifties-bowling-retro in the store, but every time I’ve put it on its looked McDonald’s drive-through-cashier.

I can hear her walking through the dining room toward my room. Her footsteps hesitate. The cadence of the aquarium pump deepens: She must be leaning against its glass.

‘Is this shirt too blue?’ I ask, coming out of the bedroom and changing the subject. I furrow my brow a bit, quizzically, squinting my left eye. She’s leaning against the aquarium. She smiles at my apparent confusion. She takes a half step forward and kisses me.

‘It’s fine,’ she says. The cadence of the aquarium deepens again as I kiss her neck and she leans her hand against the aquarium.

‘Why do you have such a huge tank with no fish in it?’ she asks, her eyes searching the water for any sign of life.

‘I’ll tell you about it at the restaurant,’ I say, laughing and grabbing my keys.


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