The door had two knobs and a deadbolt lock. He slept or pretended to sleep while I worked every combination of the three to get out of the grim studio apartment that barely held us both. I learned only his first name and his entire body. The taste of his ashy mouth, the outline of his eagle tattoo, the way his legs caught one of mine before he fell asleep. We didn’t like each other. We knew this soon, but negotiated in ways that didn’t require fondness.
He chewed watermelon gum and taught me how to make a fist for punching. He grew annoyed when my knuckles would not align the way he told me. I tried to show him how to blow bubbles, but the gum was not that kind. I didn’t offer to teach him some other time.
He wore a white t-shirt and jeans, with old flip flops that kept the shape of his feet. I was mildly unimpressed with his lack of style; I liked that he was tall with brown eyes and that he was or wasn’t smart enough to care that I was smarter. I wanted him to stop talking. He didn’t.
He made jokes about Jews controlling banks and being cheap. I should have been offended but found his extreme guilelessness sexy. I was stingy, with no intent to buy. I borrowed him like a library book.
On the walk to his place, I told him I only wanted to hang out for awhile. A standard contractual clause. He did his part and agreed.
We listened to Kitty Wells, who I had never heard, but liked. I asked about her. He took off my shirt, irritated again.
We stared into each other’s eyes for the couple of minutes it took to accomplish his ambivalent satisfaction. Neither of us cared about mine.
I considered taking the Kitty Wells CD on my way out, but it would have required effort to maneuver it from the player and locate its case in the dark. The only thing I wanted to remember was his common name. And even that I only borrowed for as long as it took to add to the list that I told myself again should end with the next.