Goldfish

She said on the phone as we made the impromptu appointment, “I’m feeling like hell, and looking it.” She seemed bubbly enough to me.

The art was good. There was a very nice painting of goldfish. Another of birds. I liked both, the birds more. She liked the goldfish more, so I bought it.

The venue was a part of town over near the baseball stadium. There’s a great old warehouse-y type building next door. We walked over because she wanted me to see it. There was an old rack where workers once put their timecards. Each slot had a little card with its number printed on it, all yellowed and faded like manila. She gave me number 2444.

The night was warm and fine, with a glow from the stadium lights nearby. We hung out by the railroad tracks and talked while she smoked. Her bare midriff looked great. I wanted to kiss her hipbones.

It’s a grand thing, to just enjoy being with a person. I must learn to accept the gift without binding a bagful of expectations to it, or trying to tie it to the rails and while I listen for a warning whistle. I must stop doing what my shrink calls “magical thinking.” It’s not magic; it’s timeless as moonlight, and as natural. It’s just two people sharing some time: no ticket, no train. And maybe some baggage we can each leave behind, if we stay in the moment.

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