My fingers slipped in his grasp as he flung me gently from him in our kitchen big enough for only two. We clenched fingertips, olive oil and garlic clove residue holding us together while he led me twirling back into his embrace, wrapped up like a ringlet curl. His whisper tickled my ear, which he kissed, and my neck. Then we danced. To no music, we danced. Starchy bubbles cracking from ziti tubes, we danced. Wiping the kitchen titles with our socks, we danced like this until the subway grumbled and screeched and announced my stop and the end to my half sleep daydream. I walked home with light feet in the misty rainfall.
It still says Talis on the door tag.
I didn’t notice it when we first slowed our stroll past the gas lamp outside his neighbor’s flat. Through the gate, up the steps, concrete corners, wrought iron door, locks, stairs, his apartment, second floor. I didn’t notice a silly thing like that. I was hardly afloat in my arrival, swimming still in the heat of my host. I met his cat, their cat, the cat—and still I didn’t recognize.
We this and that, I slept off travel lag. Then we left again come morning. Coat on, mittens warm, snow, slush, garbage bag piles, maybe a storm. His hands clicked the lock here and there and my eyes fell to the mailbox label at the bottom of the stairs. It still said Talis from only a few months ago. Oh.
It was morning yet on Berkely. He didn’t hold my hand. The hand, instead, pressed, released in my pocket, held tightly to itself while we stepped over snow to the subway. While we city-saw for hours, sang karaoke piano bar tunes, brick oven pizza, back up the steps of a place that belongs yet so feverishly to a woman who put me out, if I didn’t put myself there, to put it simply, which it isn’t.