In college, I dated Mindy for three days. The first day she came over to make gumbo and we kissed hovering over black and red pepper, filé powder, okra. The next day we watched a movie, a Sandra Bullock film that bored us both, her sitting without touching me throughout it. I tried to take her in my arms during the final credits, took her wrist, pulled her to me, but she fought me off. It turned into a wrestling match, very rough, my thigh bruised, her laughing the whole time. I got to hold her for a few seconds, but then she started kicking and broke away. That night, she told me she was a virgin, would be ‘til she was married, if she ever got married. She grew up in Helena and Anchorage. She’s proud of her hair, how shiny it is. The next day she said that we probably shouldn’t date, wouldn’t tell me why. We still talk on the phone. It’s two years later. Neither of us has dated anyone in that time. The phone rings, her number showing up. I tell her I just got another rejection for a poem I sent to an online magazine.
“What’s it called?” she says.
“The poem or the magazine?”
We breathe into the line together.
We breathe some more.
“I’m working on a novel,” I say.
It’s hot outside, in the high nineties, my ceiling fan broken.
She says, “Don’t write about me. Ever.”
“Don’t worry,” I say, “There wouldn’t be anything to write about. We didn’t do enough for a novel. The best I could do would be flash fiction. And nobody publishes that.”