I don’t usually do this. Actually, I’ve never done this. Dance, yes, but not this close, not this electrically. I tend to stay the customary distance back. That way I can slip into the shadows when I know rejection is eminent. But not tonight. No, good lord, you came to me. Like a ghost walking out of a wall, you appeared. Green eyes, freckles, and the words, dance with me. Lucky I didn’t faint or pee myself. Lucky I remembered how to walk but you grabbed my hand. A flash, the rest of our lives. Date for six months. Meet my mother. Meet your parents wherever home is. I dreamed of proposing on water. I’ll take sailing lessons. 
             Then, the lights turn on and my dark dream washes away. Can we go to your place, you ask. Yes, I say. Holy fuck, together, we leave. But about the car seat, you say. It’s for your niece.
             In my living room you pull out a joint. You tell me stories but since this is my first time smoking I can’t identify reality. There’s a Stephen, technically you’re married to him. There was a fight tonight or maybe yesterday. Actually, lots of fights. The scar on your forearm, from a beer bottle smashed against the wall. Like an accident but maybe not. Madeline, not your niece. 
             We enter a bedroom but is it mine? Because for once I’m not alone. Two bodies maneuver. It’ll be okay, you say. 
             I wake up to the sound of water hitting the wall against my bed. It’s the shower. I peek into the bathroom and see a red line running along your shoulder blade, a pink zipper. Did I feel that? Did I feel anything?
             Wrapped in my towel you pull out a another joint. You tell me I’m nice, which makes you want to cry. Oh, no, please don’t cry, I say. And I go to use your name but there’s nothing there. Did I never know it?
             You look down for a long time. Your freckles darken against the redness in your cheeks. When you finally look up, you say, I’m so sorry. What, I ask. Please, don’t be sorry.
             It’s Stephen.
             Your technical husband?
             When the banging at the door begins I think back to the dance floor. Oh god, you actually asked me to dance. Now I wish I asked you to marry me. But I hadn’t taken sailing lessons yet. I would have shot Stephen if I owned a gun. Right in the shoulder to give him his own red zipper. I would have taken Madeline out for ice cream, everyday. What is her favorite flavor? What is your favorite flavor?
             After, alone in my apartment, I stare at the ashes on my table. I stare at the still wet towel on my sofa. The twisted blue sheets on my bed. Your tear drops wherever they land. And your name, wherever you fly.  

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Daniel W. Thompson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications like decomP, WhiskeyPaper, Third Point Press, and Jellyfish Review. He works as a city planner and lives in downtown Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and children.