tried to remove a clot of accumulated, dried mucus from his nose. He thought,
by placing his other hand over his face, he was being surreptitious.
laughed. When boys communicated, they did so wordlessly. Jagger was no
exception; he tried to look cool, but was as sophisticated as her little
brother, Alan. At least Alan didnt pretend to be doing something else
when he went face fishing.
wiped both hands on his napkin, which he then kneaded into a ball and bounced
onto the table.
took a sip of her coffee. The hot milk element in her cappuccino had long since
cooled and the pretty clouds that had earlier arranged themselves into an
artful heart had long since melded into a single layer of froth.
twirled the straw in his iced coffee. His sister, Hilzarie, had told him to
stop wasting his money on Maybell. Hilza had taken it upon herself to sit him
down, among her circle of ashtrays and tawdry magazines, to talk about how
Maybell was using him.
you mixed messages, Hilza had said.
I like her, had been Jaggers lone reply.
over his straw at the girl who would not allow herself to be more than a
friend and nodded in silent agreement with his older sister. It was
lame to be going out, for more than three years, with a girl who refused to
Jagger wasnt popping pimples or pulling strands of his lusciously long
hair in and out of his mouth, Maybell enjoyed looking at him. Sure, his nose
was crooked and he had that scar under his eye, but he was a manly eyeful. She
wondered why he didnt pursue her.
her mom, had never spoken of Richards wooing. Maybell had figured it was
because the two had long been divorced. She had not yet learned that her mom
had had to chase her dad.
looked again at her fogged mug and deliberated. Surely, Jagger was smart enough
to realize she was always keying their conversations. It made no sense to her
that he believed she wanted them to remain platonic. Even a boy couldnt
be that dense.
instance, before they got together, she carefully applied her makeup, spritzed
herself with her best perfume and selected clothes that accentuated what she
considered were her best features. She spoke in her cheerful voice, too, on
purpose. Jagger might be uncouth, but he was neither deaf nor blind.
batted her eyelashes, dipped her pinky in her drink and licked the lukewarm
liquid off. She supposed, based on television, books, and movies, that that was
how women flirted.
stirred his cold drink some more.
leaned over to grab for the bill the waitress had unceremoniously dropped on
their table. It was time to go home.
leaned, Jaggers eyes widened. Maybells shirt was generously
put her debit card on top of the bill. My turn, she
eyed her neckline once more and shrugged. He returned to stirring his drink.
Little by little all of the ice crystals within it had melted. They had been in
the coffee shop for nearly two hours.
thought about reaching his hand toward Maybells, but remembered
Hilzas words. He sat up straight and uncrossed his legs. He would not
meet his lady love again for coffee or for anything else. He was not going to
continue to be played the fool.
receipt came, Jagger stood up and put on his sunglasses. He was not tall, but
in those shades, to Maybell, he looked dark and handsome.
sighed. She could overlook his height. She could overlook his nostril farming.
She could not, however, overlook his lack of passion. He never bought her
flowers. He never composed poems to her, discounting the one he had passed to
her on the backside of a failed algebra quiz, years ago.
Jagger never told her she looked lovely. Maybell knew she looked lovely. Stevie
and Wren hit on her all of the time.
stood up, she imagined what it would be like if Jagger bound up to her, grabbed
her tightly and planted a sloppy one on her lips. She was sure it would be
sloppy as she doubted that he met with other girls and as she knew she had
never kissed him. For that matter, despite all of her flirting with the guys
who shared her bus and with the fellows in her calculus class, she, too, had
shook her head to clear it. Jagger was muttering something.
thats it. It was nice while it lasted. I gotta think of me
Adieu. Tschüss. Hejdå.
Since when did
you speak Swedish?
Since when did
Nice. Well, buy
yourself another goldfish or adopt a puppy.
you Monday, then, same place, same time?
right. Im sorry.
are you so rude to me?
While talking to
Only when talking
Maybell leaned in toward Jagger. She grazed his forehead with her lips, having
forgotten their height difference.
as her bosom pressed against his chin.
cleared her throat and leaned down a tad.
smiled a lot more. Their kiss, though, as predicted, was messy.
years later, he leaned in toward his wife. It was not so much that he had
caught up to her in size as she had shrunk a bit. He planted a perfect pucker
on her. His kiss was neither too wet nor too dry, to hard or too soft. Jagger
was masterful at pleasing her.
smiled. Thereafter, she pushed her husband a bit away from her and pointed out
to him the grandchild of theirs that was descending head first on the slide he