May 9th, 2009

Writing Exercise: Theo & Rae, Enamouring

Riiiigghhttt…one of the good things about having a blog, as opposed to a paper diary (which I also have) is that one feels semi-accountable for the things promised one the blog, and not at all for things promised in the diary that no one reads (how’s that novella coming, RR? and that ten-k?)

A little while ago, I pointed out how hard it is to write good I’m So into You dialogue, and challenged Rose-coloured readers to write some. Of course, no one did (that I know of–let me know if I’m wrong!) and I found it terribly challenging, too–but I promised to post what I wrote and so…see below.

Never let it be said that I am not a woman of my word. However, also never let it be said that I think my estimation of flirtation is the universal one. So not so.

Her hair was long then, and she’d done something to make it curl, or at least twist a bit. This was a long time ago.
“I don’t like this city.”
“Oh. Well, ok.” He flipflopped his hand on the grass. “I like it.”
“I mean, technically I don’t, when I think about it, but it’s easy to forget.” She grinned big, her lips wide of her teeth. It took him a moment to get the compliment.
“There are…distractions here, true.” He flopped backwards then, to look up into the leaves. They weren’t interesting but they were moving, so up seemed a reasonable place to rest his gaze, and he shouldn’t look at her anymore.
“It’s nice here. I’m going to stay and eat my sandwich…if that’s ok?”
“It’s ok. But here is part of Toronto, that city you don’t like.”
“No, not here, here doesn’t count. Queen’s Park is done for tourists and photoshoots and sweeping grandeur. It could be anywhere.”
“But here is where it is, Toronto made it.”
She huffed, and a crumb arched out of nowhere into his eyeline, as if he were alone, landed on his chest. Her hand brushed past his left nipple and plucked it off. “Oh, god, sorry.”
“Sall right.” He hadn’t heard her chewing.
“So, what’s good about Toronto, then?”
“You don’t think there’s anything good? Not one thing, after three days?”
“Five. I’ve been here five days. I existed before I met you, you know.”
“Must’ve been hell.”
She laughed lightly; her voice was alto but her laugh soprano. More crumbs. “Shit, shit. So gross. Sorry.”
He sat up and brushed at his chest. Her hair was in her face and she was trying to brush at him too and he caught her fingers.
“What are you eating?”
She held up a white bun half unwrapped from its plastic. Along the bitten side was a line of meaty paste, onions, red sauce. “I got it for a dollar, in Chinatown. But I don’t think it’s Chinese.”
“It’s Vietnamese, it’s a Saigon sub. Some people won’t eat them because they don’t know what kind of meat that is.”
“Do you know?” Her eyelashes dipped. He didn’t think she wore mascara. He would’ve liked to touch them to be sure.
“Eat them? Sure.”
“No, know what kind…”
“Oh, no.”
She shrugged, bit, chewed. “I’m sure it’s food. It tastes good. It was only a dollar.”
He leaned back on one elbow, sort of lounging by her knees like a Shakesphearian swain. “I think I love you.”
She shut her eyes, lashes flat on skin. “Don’t be silly.”
“I’m not. I’m hungry. Share?”
She looked at the sandwich, back at his face. “Germs?”
“You spat all over my chest.”
“Well, you didn’t seem to like it all that much.”
“When do you have to be back in Buffalo?”
She lay down on the grass beside him, looking up, and he lowered his head to his biceps. Her profile was his whole view.
“Not until the term starts, end of August.”
His heart leapt. “You’re a student, too?”
“No, a teacher. Grade three. Too? You’re a student.”
He flopped onto his back, leaves and pigeons and sky. Trapped by his own hopefulness, by his own stupid youth. “Going into the fourth year. Chem-eng.”
“Oh.” Soprano faintness, then the wet sound of another bite.
Fourth year was meaningless once you were past it, impressive to no one but less-than-fourth years. He took a different approach. “People are such hypocrites about germs. I’ve seen girls at clubs with their tongues down the throats of guys they met twenty minutes ago. But they make their friend buy her own bottle of water.”
“Your point?”
“Saliva is saliva. Oral intimacy is oral intimacy. Anyone you wouldn’t rule out kissing, at least for hygiene reasons, is probably safe to share your sandwich with.”
She lay there, the saran-wrapped sandwich resting on the poppy-print of her left breast. “You’re making this very monumental.”
“I’m trying to say that it’s not monumental. It doesn’t matter.”
“I’d rather it mattered. Kissing usually does to chicks. You should know that, in fourth year.”
He tipped his head back, grating skull against dry earth. “It does matter a little. Just…not monumentally.”
The sandwich hove into view between his face and the sky and pigeons, the smell of salty meat and sweetened bread. He said, “For Saigon subs alone, you could stay in Toronto. You have to admit, they could be worth it.”
Her voice, so throaty thick, “For almost anything, I think I could stay.” The bread and meat slipped closer through the sky, closer, right into his mouth.

Shake it like a latitude sun

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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