Monday, November 26, 2012

Counting the Ways

            No, I don’t love you. Not at all. Not one bit. Never did.  
            Like? Maybe. Yes. Well, some. Of course, I like you. Who wouldn’t like you? That crooked smile.
            Yes--that's it! How do you do that? Get part of your lip to curve, the other side straight. It’s unnatural, yet enough of a smile, a near smile, to show those teeth. And those teeth. Unnaturally perfect. Do you bleach them? 
            No. I did not, repeat, did not say you were perfect. Just your teeth, for which you can take no credit. It was the first thing I liked about you—those teeth.
            First implies a second? Well, yes. I can be fair. You’re right about that one thing. Having a first thing I liked about you implies a second—unless it was an only.
            No, I didn’t say it was an only.
So the second thing. . . .Well, if I’m honest, and Lord knows, I try to be, the second thing was your voice. Low male voice.
Well, obviously you’re a guy, but your voice has a richness, an expressiveness that most men don’t have.
            You didn’t know that? Well, yes, it’s true.
            Yes, there was a third thing. The third thing was . . . .well, how to say it in the kindest way possible? You’re nice to a fault.
            Is that the same as boring? Good point. Could be, but I choose never to be bored.
            So why don’t I love you?
            Long pause.
            Let me count the ways.
            Yes, I know the poem, and yes it’s about the ways she does love him, but you were asking the opposite. Also quantifiable. Ways I don’t love you.
            The first list was ways I like you. Not ways I love you.
            Anything to add to that list? Well, (speaking quickly, impatiently, nearly shouting) you are funny, generous to a fault, and when you look at me sometimes—only sometimes—I have this falling feeling in my chest.
            Maybe falling for you, in love with you? I didn’t say that. Don’t put words in my mouth.
Well, that’s true. You do know how to listen. I like that about you.
            A lot.

©  2012 Kathleen Coskran

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