“My mating profile mentioned my peculiar tastes,” she said.
“I thought ‘peculiar’ referred to the mating ritual, not
criminal behavior,” he said, studying her living space. No surprise there. All
single occupancy apartments, in New York, looked the same: a kitchenet, a
bathroom, a bed, a refrigeration unit, and three cabinets—one for food and drinking
water, one for clothing, and the biggest one for testing kits, gloves, masks, bleach,
and a quick relocation bag.
“Well,” she said, crossing her arms, “now you know.” When he
turned towards the door, she tried to stop him. “Wait!” She hadn’t meant to
shout. But his reaction had caught her by surprise. She had taken so many
precautions. She spent all her rest hours at the NY Intimacy and Procreation
Center, reviewing potential mates’ records. She researched him for weeks. All the signs were there.
“Look, ma’am,” he tried walking around her, “I don’t want
When he grabbed the doorknob, she decided to let him go.
Until she realized that his hand was trembling. Oh, screw it, she
thought, before whispering the signal in a single breath, “In a rotting world, wild souls must fight…”
He didn’t turn around. He didn’t let go of the doorknob. He
didn’t move at all.
She stared at her relocation bag, and was so lost in trying
to figure why she never planned for this outcome, that she couldn’t hear what
he was saying. “What?”
“I said, fight
to become contagions of hope. I might’ve also said that codes in
haiku also speak of peculiar tastes.” He smiled.
She grinned. “It’s a senryu.”
Their lovemaking was fast and delicious. It had been quite a
while. When dread tears the world apart, it’s difficult to find souls to feel safe
and whole with.
Before parting, that day, he gave her a crowd at the beach
to add to her postcard collection. She gave him a merry couple dancing in front
of friends to add to his.
a gift from a friend
via Artistic Interpretations