Today my boyfriend discovered the illicit dried flower factory I have been running in his apartment. At first glance it looks as though a two-dimensional squirrel has made herself a nest out of private papers and unwanted official letters retrieved from the waste paper bin beside his desk.
“What’s this?” he said, lifting away the heavy row of comic books along the shelf to reveal my little stack of flattened envelopes and folded paper.
“Uhm,” I said, “that’s my dried flower factory. I have one at home, as well.”
The whole city has burst into bloom and the streets are filled with love. On our way down to the post office a man in the street grabs me, both hands clasping my forearm in a grip surprisingly determined and strong. An African man, bearded, handsome, long muscular arms and that’s all I see of him. He is smiling, pleading, manly, he is wooing me in his own language. “Danke,” I keep saying, “Danke, nein, ich muss ~ ” and wrenching my arm away I turn back to the taller man I have come out with, my beloved, who is bristling and who wraps his hand possessively about me at the waist. “What was that?” he asks, “you don’t know that guy?” “No,” I say, “he just really liked me.” “You look confident today. But why would he grab you while you’re kissing me?” he growled, looking over his shoulder in a feint.
“Well, that’s why,” I say, having understood the man in an instant. Perfect attraction is like that, if it so often only lasts a moment. “He liked it, I think, that I was laughing and teasing and reaching for you. I think maybe he thought, I’d like a woman to look at me that way and to kiss me like she loved me. I’d like that woman.”
He isn’t really worried, because he knows I love him. Other men casting glances and women looking at him are not new. And I know that he loves me too, he treats me beautifully and his dark sweetness and deep limpid loving heart are my water and my salt in the desert of city sugar and fat. And I know that he understands me, better than the guy who grabbed me in the street and would not let go, his eyes imploring and his smile broad, might ever do.