by Matthew Sanborn Smith
They talked all night on her new couch about her new couch and about seventy-three other topics that didn't really matter and it was a good thing too. He couldn't have handled deep thought in his state. Seeing her relaxed for the first time, shorts and a tanktop and curled up in one corner while an endless list of bands he'd never heard of before cycled from her hard drive's whim, he thought that maybe now they'd pushed past the curtains that keep people from one another. They could show parts of the real selves they were, intimate in a way more rare than just sex. Bodies were so easy to bare. Souls? That's when the defenses came down. How many people did you see in this state in a lifetime?
"I want to be your friend forever," he said. "Friend or companion or whatever it is you need of me over the next seventy or so years." It was late and he was afraid all of this would be forgotten soon, chalked up to fatigue.
She giggled a little and smiled. "I need someone to clean my toilet for the next seventy years, are you going to do that?"
"I'm there, baby, but I've got to know."
"Know what?" she asked.
"What the fuck did you do in there that's going to require seventy years of cleanup? Should I bring my truck?"
"I like a good bowl of chili now and again," she said. In that moment he realized this night, just out of reach of the one that had driven him nuts for five years, was the best night he'd ever spent with a woman in his life.