a scene from Dobra Tea House


They sit on pillows,
order the big frothy drink that looks like beer, but isn’t
settle into the new space of being near each other
the way the air forms and moves around knees and elbows
He wonders
if he can sit closer
Decides not to chance it

He says
I want to say some heavy shit
but maybe it’s just the psychedelics
but maybe it’s not –
She laughs, shakes her hair out of her eyes
He say well anyway
what’s your family like
She says my sister is so strong and so smart and always makes the right choices she is just like a beautiful human being and I’m so happy I’m not her, you know?  My dad is recluse, never leaves the house. He’s happy.

The corners of the room twitch, he feels like he could scratch a new itch if he were just a bit closer
is drawing him in with the crook of her neck, head tilted to receive he
has nothing to give so he reflects instead says
Last night was was so ignorant you know?  My friend was like Hey I have a hurricane, do you want a hurricane?  I said yeah and he said “I only chug hurricanes and
I only drink in the shower so then I chugged a hurricane in the shower then my friend was like hey do you want to go to Warren Wilson and I said yeah sure and he said there’s only one hurricane left, are you done in the shower?  so then we went to Warren Wilson and ended up in a long conversation about dolphins on fire, it was so
you know?

She knows by the way she dreams her eyes past him
I don’t want to say goodbye to the conversation but I do want to say hello to art can you be
He says if I try then does that mean I’m not
She says look
at my paintings
and pulls them up on her phone, holds her arms out to show him that her art is big enough to step inside
He thinks he could live in there.
He says I’ve made so many mistakes

Across the cafe, a baby starts then stops crying
The couple next to them order bubble tea
and the barista brings them a fig cake he says
I’ve made so many mistakes

His knee touches hers and his breath is caught somewhere between his knee and his throat
He says I’ve come to a loss of questions and words
She keeps dreaming past him
He says Now, I’m just breathing
She says good, keep breathing
puts her knuckles in the honey, puts her mouth in the shape of Africa, puts her palm, a slow pond, on the table, open, he drops in a penny, makes wish,
remembers his french teacher, wishes he could say I love you in French
or in some other language
He says the majority of the time I’ve been here, I’ve been moving around just trying to find a way to be comfortable
She laughs, says this is my favorite, lying down, see how i put my feet up
Her head is almost level with the low table
honey dripping from spoon to cup

He knows at some moment he’ll look at himself in the mirror, wonder what
The fuck
Was I doing
She says you’re fine –  so maybe he said this out loud or maybe his face couldn’t hide it or maybe she can tell time by the way his eyelashes shimmy back and forth when he is nervous
You’re fine she says
This is more important
He lays down next to her in the cafe
Shush she says
Maybe if we think about other things, it’ll be like a lullaby
I can tell you about the giant dome construction sites, the largest buildings in the world
the crazy airplanes and all the languages being spoken at once
That is where I grew up
I miss that
I never knew how to talk to people, what words they would understand
and all the metal noises of the city, it was horrible sometimes
but the sunset
I will never get over that fuckin sunset
I miss that, I miss that so much
but being lonely is as absurd as trying to hold your breath
as ludicrous as trying to be still when your heart is always pumping fresh blood and oxygen
put your head in my lap

He is quiet
She strokes his hair
He thinks maybe
he’s crawled inside one of her paintings and
the drugs and tea and the honey and giant airplanes are all part of the world they made together, just by being in this new space, fresh air parting around their timeless bodies, so still, moving so fast, so fast, they appear to be not moving at all just a couple of statues, remembering the shape of love