We were standing on your side porch. It was freezing outside and your cigarette had finally gone out, your housemate finally inside. All I wanted was for you to pull me into you. All I wanted was for you to put your hand on the small of my back and crush our faces together almost unnaturally in the cold—nothing romantic about it. I don’t know why I wanted it; I just did.
“Do you want to go inside and draw funny faces on paper plates?”
No. Not what I wanted you to ask. Not even close. But you said it and your icicle words fucked with my head and I couldn’t wrap my thoughts around what you could have possibly meant.
“Paper plates. We’re going to go draw on them.”
You started to move towards the door to go inside. Paper plates. We were going to draw on paper plates. Is that what we were actually going to do?
I had a dream later that night, before I woke up beside you and silently left you sleeping, that we were living in an old house together and the doorbell rang. We raced each other to the doorbell, shakingwith anticipation about who would be on the other side of the door. We were obviously a new couple (or felt like one, at least), and little things like that made us happy. I opened the front door to find that someone had left us a free, wrapped Christmas tree on the porch. It was for us. For our first holiday spent together. You told me that I should unwrap it and I asked why you didn’t want to. “Because that would take the fun out of it.”
“The fun out of what?” I asked, honestly puzzled.
“This whole thing. I don’t know what’s going on, but I know it’ll make you happy and that’s going to make me happy. So that’s what I want to see.” You kissed me and pointed at the tree, waiting for me to unwrap it just as I woke up and crept out the door, but not before stepping on the paper plates with stupid faces on them that I’d tossed to the side of the bed.
Rachel is a future English and writing professor. You could probably find some scrunchies in her apartment. You should follow her on Twitter at @rickit.