I gave him until sunset, but I forgot that it was summer and sunset was like Spring, never seeming to arrive. My butt was sore on the park bench in the thin cotton dress, but my mind was addressing too many other concerns to give it my full attention. Though it was summer, it was not hot owing to the nearness of the water's edge.
I had met him two days ago; we shared a small table in a crowded coffee house. I was close to leaving when he asked if he could sit in the empty chair at the table. I was feeling adventurous that day, and he seemed atypical in some amorphous way. We never actually talked while sitting together. I finished my coffee, and as I left, he asked for my number. I told him I don't usually give out my number to strangers, but if he really wanted to get to know me, to meet me at the waterfront park Friday night.
It had been nine months since my last disaster, and I was ready to try again. The summer seemed pregnant with good omens, my tomatoes were ripening early, and a nest of jays in the tree outside my window had recently emptied to environs less crowded. The hot summer nights kept me awake and itchy. I needed more conversation, but everyone I knew seemed to be vacationing, canoodling, or otherwise occupied.
I could see him coming, but I didn't want to wave or seem too anxious. I stared stiffly out to sea until he approached and then looked up with my most natural forced smile.
"Come here often?" He asked, so awkwardly I thought I was looking in a mirror.
"Sometimes I come here to listen to the seagulls fighting over a french fry."
He had a helpless look in his eye; I could almost sense his mind whirring as he struggled to talk. "I hate to admit it, but I've forgotten your name."
I snorted with laughter and put my hand up to my mouth as if to try to capture the snort before it escaped.
Introductions led to chatting, chatting led to sitting, and sitting finally led to a kiss. I could tell he had no idea what he was doing and was enjoying every second of his hesitant fumbles. I suggested we go for a walk and he agreed, apparently relived that I was doing the leading.
I led him to my apartment, feeling like a spider luring a fly back to its web. Once we got back to the apartment, he never said a word but silently did everything I asked of him. When it was over, we lay for a while with the ceiling fan blowing our scent around the room.
He got up and stumbled into his clothes. I sat up, my breasts mostly covered by the night and watched him search in the dark room for a missing sock. We said goodbye.
"Can I see you again?" he asked.
"Of course. I would really like that." He nodded and left. He never got my number, and I never got his.
I could see the park bench from my balcony. I sat out on the balcony every night for the rest of the summer and watched as he sat down on the bench and waited. The first week, he brought flowers. After that, he just sat on the bench and watched the sunset. He never gave up until the rain started again in mid-September. I figured that was when he would have left me anyway.
Joyanna M resides in Seattle and writes fiction, poetry, and music. She also creates paintings and has published 'Paintings and Poems of Joyanna M.' Her 'Self Portrait' painting was selected as cover art for Wicked Banshee Press, The Devil's Doorbell: Vagina Edition and two other paintings were selected for the 'Noise' edition of Bombus Press. She produces music under the monikers 'Aquamarine Space Unicorns,' and 'Les Petites Merdes Sophistiques.' You can follow her on Twitter at @joyanna1985 and read selected works online at www.joyannam.com.