Breakfast

© Simon Lawrence | Dreamstime Stock Photos

He never made me bacon because I complained too much when he did.  It smelled like Wyoming and tasted like pity sex.  I hated it, and he knew it, but for some reason that morning he pulled a pan out from the cabinet next to the sink and started sizzling the stuff right there in front of me.  I stood close to him, in silence, and stared into the pan, watching the fat pull away from the meat.  I felt him looking at me, felt his lips land on my cheek in a sloppy, wet kiss.  I had to leave the kitchen, it was nauseating.

I maneuvered over the sweaty t-shirt and running shoes he’d discarded on the dining room floor after his early morning jog and onto the couch where I buried my face in a giant stuffed teddy bear my mother had made from my grandmother’s ancient mink coat.  It was real mink from the early 30’s and it smelled like cigarettes and Christmas and I liked it better than the smell wafting from my kitchen.  His bacon always angered me.  It lingered in my apartment for days, seeping its way into my couch cushions and my carpet before attaching itself to my hair and then my skin.  Just seeing it made my fingers feel greasy.  I rubbed my forehead with the back of my hand in an attempt to dab away what felt like an increase in excess oil on my face.  Nothing helped.

That morning he was humming and hovering over the stove and I should have loved him for it, I wanted to love him.  I tried a little harder everyday to love him that much more, but nothing seemed to help.  I couldn’t love him because he didn’t have to remember and I did and it made my bones ache.  He didn’t remember the argument I had with another man six hours before I met him.  He didn’t remember the words I used to rip apart that man’s world.  Stupid words that meant something to me then, but I can’t remember them now.  He didn’t remember how I smiled at the bar when I noticed him, noticing me.  He didn’t see the pain in the creased skin of my forehead, or if he did, he hid it well as he touched the small of my back and asked me if we had met before, maybe at the Coffee Bean on Wilshire?

I had never met him before but I slept with him anyway.  When we were done, I rolled over to the opposite side of the bed and cried in the dark because what else do you do after you’ve made the choice to ruin your life?  I didn’t mean to stay, but I fell asleep and in the morning I woke up to what was probably supposed to be a cheerful whistle coming from the kitchen but it sounded more like the heartache of a ship leaving port to me.  Before I could squirm out of bed and into my clothes from the night before, he greeted me with a large breakfast and a rose he stole from his neighbor’s front yard.  It was his attempt at sincerity.  He apologized that he didn’t have any toast but insisted I try his “award-winning” bacon scramble.  I vomited vodka tonics for two days and in a brief moment of self pity I gained the courage to try and mend the world I was so callous about ripping apart, but apologies aren’t strong enough to thread a needle with and you can never return to the same place once you’ve defiled it.  He didn’t have to remember any of that, but I did.

With my face still buried in the mink it took me a minute to realize his hand was weaving it’s way through my tangled hair.  I sat up and looked at him.  I was about to tell him that I didn’t love him when he motioned me to be quiet, handed me a napkin and placed a large plate of bacon on the coffee table in front of me.

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