Infatuation by Joshua Hansford I sit on a wire metal seat outside of my neighborhood cafe.

It’s a small city, large enough to be a city, but small enough to have good smelling air. In the spring the smell of pollen and fresh cut grass dance and invigorate. In the summer the full bloom of the surrounding crops sustains us. In the fall the cool chill and turning of the leaves make us reflective, at least until the holidays take over our thought process. In the winter, I take my butt inside where it’s warm. You work down the street and when I can sit outside, I always sit with my back turned to the restaurant. I like it when you surprise me, even though you do it in the same way. You squeeze my shoulders gently. Your palms press gently into my chest as you slide them to meet and clasp over my breastbone. You lean forward to do this. I roll my head back to see who it is. Somehow, my head always nuzzles your breasts. I admire all of your talents and qualities, but you have amazing breasts and I will always enjoy nuzzling them. You bow your head and kiss my forehead. Our greeting ritual is done and you sit in a chair I have almost inevitably saved for you. Sometimes I forget and you perch on my lap. Friends sneer at us for being disgustingly cute. We enjoy it. We met at this cafe, though a mutual friend. Our relationship began under the pretenses of group friendship, but I liked you immediately. I think you liked me from the start as well, that was the impression I received when we first met. It was reassuring, or a defense mechanism my baain created to compensate for my insecurity.

I write this in past tense, which it is, technically, but it’s more accurate to call it present, since it only happened a few days ago. I have already imagined several wonderful dates, a fantastic apartment and a perfectly romantic courtship; I don’t even have your phone number. I am infatuated with you; it is bliss. We don’t start dating in a normal American way, it’s 2008, neither of us have the time. Besides you’re still a virgin (so I’ve heard) and I have made a promise to myself to stop having regrettable sex. Modern dating requires sex in the three to six week period. We start slow, talking over coffee at our Cafe and beers at a local dive. We share an interest in culture, theater and good food. I’m a chef, that helps. I figure that if I cook well enough to win your heart the menu will make a fortune easily. I don’t dare imagine what your spiritual beliefs are but I hope they interact well with mine. We get to know each other. Without actually knowing you well, I cannot continue the projection. I substitute brief conjectures. You are studying for your masters while I cook for you. It seems selfless but I am perfecting an American French fusion cuisine. I don’t tell anyone that; I just smile when you look amazed and tell me that “this is the best I’ve ever had.” I hope to name my restaurant after you. Our town is full of valleys, and parks in those valleys. I located a perfect picnic spot hidden at the top of one years ago, during a family hike. I have never taken anyone there before. We share veggie wraps, fresh fruit and each kiss for the

first time at that spot. I do not take you to the other park, the one I’ve taken the rest of the women to. We wander though the gardens of a local museum enjoying a wine tasting. We swirl, sniff, sip, suck and swallow the wine, enjoying the sensual nature of the event. Our knowing glances tell each other things that would make me blush if I wrote them. We plan vacations together. A day trip to Chicago, a few days along the Atlantic Coast and a week along the Pacific. Europe is discussed. We continue talking and enjoying each other’s conversations. Our family's begin tapping there fingers. Your sister slips a Jared’s catalog into my backpack at a family birthday party. I laugh. The ring you dreamed of, but haven’t told me about yet, was commissioned a year ago. I grew up a fantasy geek and can still find the master jewelers when I need to. Greg does his best to ensure I get married with a righteous hangover. Instead of finishing the bottle I use the whisky to create a fantastic wing sauce. Big Mike tells the stripper her hair cut was a waste of money, she’s too angry to try sleeping with any of us. I think it was on purpose. I insist on playing Monopoly. Friends that were married before me make sure I get enough Gatorade at the end of the night. Our wedding is fantastic. Obama wins the re-election. We live happily ever after.

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