A woman’s dress with tell on her if she isn’t careful or the dress is too thin or if it’s too short, or if it is just too low. But then again, a woman’s body inside of a dress with tell on her, too, if a man is paying attention. Who she likes and how much she likes that man can show up pretty quick if she’s built for it in any way at all, and this one is. I can tell what she’s thinking sometimes because she doesn’t like wearing a bra, and I wonder if that’s why. This is a woman who likes sex, but she doesn’t like to initiate the action overtly. She’s doesn’t like to be pressured yet she does like being pursued. Sometimes I think she likes saying no just to prove she can say it, and when she does it’s final. And there’s other times it seems she is willing to do anything I want if I just say so. But she wears that dress easy, and the dress seems to enjoy being worn the way she wears it.
I’ve never seen her in a pair of jeans but I do like the idea of that body being slipped into denim. She isn’t too thin, isn’t too broad, isn’t too anything but short, and she is also a little sensitive about that so I never mention it aloud. I once held a beer up over her head and she kicked me hard in the knee for it. So the shortness factor never comes up in a conversation, and I never mention the fact she is dead, either. She stopped speaking to me for nearly a year the last time I mentioned it, and it was an accident I did.
Sam is her favorite, and always has been, and Lucas doesn’t understand it at all. He’s worlds more cute than Sam, and he’s larger, more energetic, and he’s the Loki Mutt. Why would anyone love Sam more? But she does and it shows. She’ll pet Lucas and speak softly to him but there is a strong attachment between her and Sam.
“Don’t go spinning them webs at me,” she told me once when I tried to analyze why she likes Sam so much. She also wears a tone of voice like no one I’ve ever met. She tries hard to keep me here, in this moment with her, and I know better than to find some sort of depth. We’re here. We’re together. Time is slipping away. Don’t ask questions unless they matter to this moment.
The dress has buttons in the back not a zipper, and when all five of them are buttoned to the top it means she’s gone to some trouble to make sure they stay that way, and I am to understand that. One undone isn’t necessarily an invitation, but three is. Anything past three and I better not let that go unnoticed for very long. But the dress itself is a soft and cotton thing, pale blue with tiny white flowers on it. I can read her mind by the way her body lives inside that dress. Her shoulders tell me how tense she is, or how willing she is to be touched, or if she isn’t interested in intimacy quite yet because Sam needs to be petted on a dog’s head. I’m having these thoughts, watching her cooing at Sam, and I wonder if I can tell as much about what a woman is thinking when she’s in a pair of jeans. I remember watching a woman walk out of a room one night, going to the kitchen to makes us another drink, if she knew I was watching, wanted me to watch, and I wondered while she was walking if the idea that I could read her mind in her jeans made her…
“You think I’m that one?” She’s grinning at me as if she can read my mind now. She laughs at me, reassures Sam she isn’t stopping the petting, pushes Lucas’ ears playfully, and then looks at me seriously. “Your singer. You think that’s me?”
“No, the voice is different, and the body, the…” I hesitate. I dreamed of a redheaded woman who sang to me. “…she wasn’t the same person.”
“Who do you think she is?” She stands up and walks to the window, only one button undone, and I wonder why she chose this moment to turn her back to me, after my daydream.
“I don’t really know who you are.” And I don’t.
“You have an idea who you might be, Mike?” She says this softly as if she’s sorry she brought this up. “Take away that machine you write with and then what?” She returns to sit at the edge of the bed, and looks at Lucas’ neck. She rubs the scabbed part and looks up as if she is waiting for me to say something.
“I couldn’t quit writing, you know that.” So many times, like this time, I’ve felt I hadn’t said the right thing at the right time.
“That singer,” she smiles at me, comforting me the same ways she puts a hand on Sam’s head, “what did you ask of her?”
“And you remember her fondly, want to see her again, want to hear her voice again, maybe learn who she is?” She kisses Sam’s head and Lucas rolls on the floor, striking the cutest of all cute puppy poses, all four legs flailing the air. She rubs his belly with a bare foot and Sam nudges her with his nose.
“You’re saying that asking something of someone is the way to stop liking them?”
“I’m saying that and more, Mike. Why don’t you do something different? Why don’t you pretend for one day of your life it is real, and let it do what it wants. You’d write, so you say, no matter what, you’d write with a stick in red clay mud, wouldn’t you, yet here is all this magic and all you do is sit and wonder.” She slips to the floor to pet Lucas and Sam whines at her and lifts his left forepaw in the air.
“Rain’s, stopped Mike.” She closes her eyes and leans her head back on the bed. “I wanted more out of tonight…”
It’s still dark outside. The coffee maker is perking at me, and the dogs have gone outside to snuffle the remains of the night, and if I close my eyes I can see the pattern of tiny white flowers in the dark of my mind.