"I love you," she said.
             "Hold on," he said, "let me check my pulse rate."
             He put his fingers to his neck.
             "What are you doing?" she said.
             "Just one minute," he said. "I need a mirror."
             "Why do you need a mirror?"
             "I need to observe the extent of my pupil dilation."
             He left her alone on the promenade and went to look for a mirror. He headed for the mall. He thought he might use a mirror in a washroom, or maybe a mirror in a changeroom so that he could have some privacy. His phone buzzed.
             "I don't understand," she said. "I love you."
             "That's really nice to hear," he said. "I probably love you too."
             "Then why did you walk away?"
             "I told you. To check my pupil dilation."
             "I want you," she said. "I need you right now. Meet me at my place."
                He looked at the palm of his free hand. He thought he saw sweat glistening there. "Do you know how to measure skin conductance?" he said.
             "I don't know what that is," she said.
             He squinted one eye and held his arm up to the setting sun, which backlit the hairs and revealed their angle of inclination.
             "Hello?" she said. "Are you still there?"
             "I'm still here," he said. "I'm just checking my pilomotor reflex."
             "Do you care about me at all?" she said.
             He stopped in his tracks. How would you measure such a thing? He turned and headed for the university, where they had an MRI machine. Maybe his cerebral blood flow would shed some light on the matter. But he knew analysis would take time.
             "Could you call back in six to eight weeks?" he said.
             "You know what?" she said. "Forget I said anything. We're through."
             She hung up.
             And his heart broke.

Trevor Shikaze's writing has appeared in American Chordata, Axolotl, Wyvern Lit, and elsewhere. Find him online at