“What makes you crazy?”
The question bulleted past my pulsing heart
Into my butterfly stomach.
His eyes flamed to match the candlelight that separated us,
Lips pursed together but pulled to the side-
(His left, my right)
A smirk both curious and casual,
Unlike the moisture that licked the tip of my nose,
Imitating that dripping down the halfway drunk bottle of white wine,
From which I poured myself another glass.
First dates typically consist of
Clammy palms and twirling thoughts,
A melody of nervous foot taps and knuckle cracks,
They’re a chorus of “where are you from?”
With catchy lyrics about childhood homes and free time hobbies.
Catchy because they repeat themselves,
Practiced responses that twist off the tongue with ease,
Answers too empty to fill a second cup of coffee,
Or another glass of rosé,
Cutting the whole affair short-
A memory one won’t remember.
“What makes you crazy?” he asked again,
Rejecting my response:
Not what drives me crazy,
But what makes me crazy,
Out of the ordinary,
What makes me me.
A swallow of sparkling water
(Two ice cubes and a slice of lime)
Was followed by a stutter,
A disbelief that he could ever care about my slipper collection,
Or my orange juice obsession,
Or my inability to sleep with a single pillowcase,
Always needing two.
Maybe if we took more time to ask questions that matter,
We’d meet others on the inside,
Date their mismatched socks and unmade beds,
Eat dinner with their quirks,
And take their habits to the cinema
(Good and bad)
We’d have first dates worth remembering,
Drown in another’s depth
Instead of swimming on their surface.
Wine wasn’t all that warmed my insides that night-
His gaze ignited areas long since abandoned,
(Toenails painted with three layers of varnish,
Fingernails with two)
Eyes burning through walls I’d thought were fireproof.
Our candle flickered long after the restaurant’s was blown out.