I was standing in the backyard in the rain. He walked out onto the grass without his shoes on, getting his socks wet, but I told myself we were still just friends.

I would like to be loved in a way that feels like something worthy of the occult. Not as in a sanitized American fairy tale: like in the German version with all the blood and guts and bureaucracy. With a twisted but vaguely happy ending. I want to be loved in a way that’s worth telling children as a bedtime story, but which might give them vivid dreams.

But I am done learning lessons, I formally resign from participating in the plot of any more fables. Can’t I just go out into the woods on a quest for some enchanted tree limb and steal your affection?

Life should be so simple. You meet a girl, her dad is a king, and he sends you on a quest. But we have mucked it all up with texting and dating apps and it sure seems difficult to find a worthy suitor these days, so I guess I have to settle for a friend with benefits.

It could be so easy. I could just be tasked to find some sacred orchid which only blooms under the full June moon, and makes you tell me what you are thinking? Makes you tell me what I want you to be thinking.

I could just journey to a deserted island in search of a mythical fountain and dip the blade of my knife into the water there? So much easier than trudging through the small talk of another first date. Simply take the enchanted blade and cut out my own heart, give it to you, and call it a day.
Then curl up in your arms and keep my knife sheathed for the rest of time.

I could snuggle up next to you by a fireplace,
My ribcage hollowed.
It would be a relief,
It would give me a little more room to breathe.

I could live in some moss-covered cottage in the forest.
Something made of gingerbread and dirt and red wine.
I could spend my days building fires and growing onions,
and, I imagine, cooking giant pots of soup at all times.
That seems to be what you do in a fairy tale hut:
Heat something in a cauldron,
Rearrange jars of mysterious spices,
Consult ancient tomes by candlelight.
It’s a job, someone has to do it.
Why not me?

You could visit me,
You could make up excuses as to why you need me to consult the ancient tomes.
You could say it was for work.
For an itchy bee sting. For a sore neck.
You could stay a while,
And drink a cup of whatever I have been brewing in the cauldron all day.
I could send you home with a basket of onions.
You could return the empty basket as another excuse to see me.
We could pretend we’re just friends.

Or maybe, instead,
We could stand in the entryway of my apartment,
With the lights off, and the sun setting,
With our shoes still on,
And your arms around me.
We could stand there until we turn old and gray.

Maybe we could look at something mundane
And decide to call it magic.

2 thoughts on “I was standing in the backyard in the rain. He walked out onto the grass without his shoes on, getting his socks wet, but I told myself we were still just friends.

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  1. What a hilarious poignant and downright heartbreaking metaphor, this is like meta metaphor. The first paragraph also reminded me of O’Hara.


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