don’t know what I want right now and a break might be good for us.”
“Fine, Hazel. Take your break. But don’t think I’ll be waiting for you, holding your coat while you figure it all out.”
I paused and looked around the apartment. Our apartment. That we’d decorated together with fun finds from random trips and flea market scores. I thought of all the meals we’d shared and fun times we’d had making it into our home. But the truth was, in recent months between our crazy career jugglage worthy of Ringling Brothers or Chinese plate spinning minors, we were like . . . roommates. We were ships in the (dark, stormy) night, and I felt such a pit in my stomach about hurting his sweet self. But accompanying that bitter dread was the unbridled euphoria of Finn. As Wylie continued to cook our dinner, I was basking in fantasies of our kisses, conjuring images of mad embraces over and over. I imagined Finn kissing my neck, sliding my bra strap off my shoulder, unhooking it gently as he seemed lustfully drawn to undressing me; I was so flattered by his ardor; Wy was mellower and not wildly romantic like Finn, who was tortured and bursting with emotion. Finn had a sexual avarice that was palpable when we were near each other—pure bubbling-over chemistry, the kind that burst a test tube in the science lab. Wylie was quieter and subdued; he would never rip off my blouse. But sometimes I fucking want my shredded clothes in a balled heap on the floor! I wanted to be wanted. These feelings mingled like some kind of hemlock/ecstasy cocktail—part beaming me to hell, part rocketing me to the sun, moon, and stars. I thought of Wylie’s soft light brown curls. His kind eyes squinting with shock and distress as he stirred the sauce. I even feared his turning on me. And yet, Finn was somehow a sign—I mean how crazy was it that I met him flukishly close to saying his name as my celeb crush? It had to be destiny. Right? Or was that ridick. Maybe the little now drug-addicted Terminator 2 kid was right: “no fate but what you make.” Well it was time to go and make it. And like Linda Hamilton, I had to be strong. But not with veins popping out of my arms.
I practically swooned with the ambrosial scent of caramelizing onions.
I walked toward Wylie, who was pouring sherry into a bisque swimming with minced hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.
“Your favorite,” he said, pulling out the ’shroom-smothered wooden spoon, offering me a taste. I took it and almost cried that it would be my last, and our eyes met.
“It’s intoxicating. As usual,” I said softly. “Wylie, I’m so sorry.”
He shrugged almost coldly, and I could tell I had wounded his gentle soul.
“You’ve been withdrawing from me lately anyway,” he said. “And I knew something was up when you didn’t want me to come out for your launch. Maybe it’s just not the right time for you to think about settling down.”
“Wylie, I know myself. I would rather regret my choice than regret my lack of balls to make one.”
“Well congratulations, you have balls,” he said. “And you totally chopped mine off with a Wüsthof cleaver, thanks.”
“Wylie, it’s not about you; I’m lost right now, it’s about me.”
“Yeah, thanks, George Costanza, I noticed,” he said. “Isn’t it always, Hazel?”
He turned off the stove and walked out, gently closing the door. Just as I’d closed it on him.
He left the beautiful meal sitting there, but despite the inviting aromas, I suddenly didn’t feel very hungry.
The worst part? I felt horrible that I didn’t feel horrible. The fact was, I had something so much more electrifying waiting in the wings. I felt awful for sweet Wylie, but on the flip side I had to scratch this itch I had for Finn. I was possessed by longing.
As I heard the elevator door close behind him in the hallway, it ravaged a beat from my pulse, but it quickly was replaced by twenty quickened pumps as I looked to my handbag.
I grabbed it from
Stacey Chillemi, Dr. Michael Chillemi D. C.