Secret Spoon

A moment, once made awkward, cannot be taken back.

They are sitting across from each other at a low table, her creamy decolletage threatening to spill from her body, one hand idly toying with a spoon, oversized earrings trembling when she moves her head to make a point. She feels out of her element, overtly feminine, as though somehow with skirts and high heels she has also donned flirtatiousness and superficiality. He is intent, rambling.

“The thing is,” he says, “my new scheme for women, is they have to meet two criteria for me to date them,” and he says what they are.

“Funny,” she says, after a moment. “I meet the first two but you don’t think I’m hot. So it had better be the first two and that she has to be hot. Or maybe the other way around.”

“Yeah,” he says. “Maybe I should.”

Her hand is still fretting the cheap silverware in the tall glass, and she stares idly off into the distance for a moment. The bracelets on her hand clack with her movements.

“Well then,” she says, “at least you’re in the city. Surely you can find someone who meets all three qualifications.”

The brain is perverse, and she tries to thrust the image of hands on her flesh from her mind, but it floats to the surface, rough work coarsened hands and diffuse sunshine, for a moment so vivid that she starts.

He continues to excurse, oblivious.