Freewrite #5

I didn't want to have the keys to his place, nor do I think he was completely ready to make that commitment. When I locked up with his spare I walked into the bodega on the corner. I'm always so thirsty in the morning.


In Brooklyn, there's a bodega on every other corner. You'll find yours. I prefer for mine to have a decent beer selection, with a late night walk-up window that I can see-thru and doesn't feel like a robbery waiting to happen. In time the deli clerk will know your sandwich. His 12 year old son at the register will know your smokes. They'll see your slippers and your heels. Bodega men watch girls become women, boys become men and certain people disappear.

"I'm sure this is going to seem really strange, but may I leave these with you? My... friend will be in to pick them up later..." The keys had imprinted my palms, as I'd clenched my fist on the walk over.

My friend? Are we friends? I mean of course we're friends but, "friends?" I looked back up and his hand was extended. I placed them on the counter next to his hand. My mind was somewhere else. Maybe with Him.

And so it began. The pick-up spot.

When I got off work late he dropped them off there for me. Tali never asked me any questions. Actually he never really said much to me anymore. Our relationship had become a series of six packs, smirks, smiles and SmartWater.

We still never talked about what we were doing with each other. I left my panties on the bathroom floor. My favorite juice was in fridge, soup in cupboards, and snacks in the pantry. I had stopped wearing socks in front of him. It was a big deal.

On my way home, well not home, but I guess it was starting to feel that way- I picked up some unwinding wine and headed to Tali's.

"They're not here," he said as soon as I walked in. He wasn't one for jest; I pulled out my phone. He said we needed to talk. I told Tali goodnight, but I didn't promise that I'd see him in the morning. I might only be seeing myself by that time.

His apartment was a fourth floor walk-up and when I approached the building, I found him with his legs-dangling off the fire escape. "I'll throw them down!" he called out to me. The rubber key-covers felt weird to my fingers. The keys were cheetah print; one cover was a black cat, the other a siamese. These were not the spares.

My palms had gotten clammy on the ascent. I exhaled and opened the front door. This artificial sea scent greeted me. I smiled because that meant he found my bath candles. I felt the tension roll off my shoulders as I extended my leg out of his bedroom window to meet him.

It had been over a year since our first casual friends-to-lovers greeting kisses began. Yet, somehow he captured that feeling in his lips and in the way he cradled the sides of my face, my neckline, every time we met. "What's all this about? There's no way you forgot to leave the keys at Tali's for me. And what on earth are you still doing up??"

"Hey Motormouth, pipedown." (He always knew how to be just rude enough to make me smile. I was talking to much. As usual.) "By the way, they're yours." Looking down, I realized that I had come straight to the fire escape and he was glancing at the rubber key kittens in my hand.


In the morning we stopped to pick up my pulpy orange juice. Tali noted that it was first time he'd seen us at the same time. I guess some bodega men get to watch people fall in love, too.

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