I deserved an ample scolding. I watched the sunset with an albino. We
went to a thrift store, and joked about trying on hats and getting
lice. "Miami Lice," he said. Was he safe? I hoped not. Was it scummy
and frivolous to hang out? My birthstone was emerald, I told him, and
his chlorinated eyes said, "Well, that makes you not-simpleminded." We
both laughed. An albino laugh. Watery veins stood out and his forehead
looked like a stolen woodpile.
I wanted to make him butter from real cream, I wanted him to tell me
all about the stone age when I fell asleep on his pale lap. About what
they did without butter, how they licked fire. I wanted to sit with
him in a booth and scold him for touching me. How dare he, allergic to
garlic and light. If he has never been outside, and if they studied
his condition in universities - he was one in a million. If he
existed, he is elderly, or already dead. I didn't believe in him, or
the curative power of green tea, or a stern-assed god.
"Nurse on me," she said, "it's very sweet."
"How?" He liked her to show him exactly where, as though it were a secret.
"Just sip from here," she pointed to her nipples. Her fingers on the
left nipple, she pinched and didn't wince. A drop of clear milk
appeared. Bovine and fetching at the same time.
"Mmm. Mammaries," he whispered.
The baby didn't need them, had switched to soy.
The word "mammaries" made her giggle. They were oblong melons and
would soon deflate from all of this.
Until he met her, his lips had been lonely and his ideas were faint.
He believed he was shriveling -- bones losing bone matter.
Nursing now, he felt blank, but not helpless.
"Babies cry because they don't know," she said.
We met at the coffee shop, and now I could say it: "I met a human
named Fido, and he was not really that well."
Mostly, he talked about his cacti and succulents. He kept many photos
of his top ten (ones he said he owned) on his phone.
One of them, he said, a small succulent, was so "punk looking" he felt
sad for it, which made me think of dry TV chicken dinners. It made me
think about my mother falling asleep with the TV on, and the blue
light that washed over most of us in dreams.
We had fifteen minutes left before the meter maid. My ass felt
superglued to the seat of the warm Soma coffee shop, Fido and I
sipping overpriced, thin tasting cappuccinos.
He seemed to like me too much or else he was just naturally very pink
in the face.
"How does a cactus appear punk?" I asked, trying to stop
anthropomorphizing the forks on our table which would not be used
because we hadn't ordered any food. He showed me a picture on his
phone of a tiny plant in an attractive, pea green ceramic pot.
"It would have felt very much at home in that culture!" he said. I
looked at it for a while.
"I see that," I said.
He smiled and his slightly yellow teeth lined up like lost keys. I
offered to pay.