You think for a moment that kissing is like caffeine. It is addictive. It heightens the senses. It causes circular thinking under the guise of a rational optimism. Like trying to make the perfect cup, there is always the pursuit of the perfect kiss. Once you’ve had either, you are as good as haunted.
But the metaphor falls apart right there. Kissing is a regulated commodity of the human heart whereas caffeine is quite accessible. Unlike your daily dose of coffee (courtesy your fantastic Saeco home espresso machine), kissing is hardly as simple as the push of a button. Kissable men are unlike fillable mugs insofar as you may see a kissable man and not be able to kiss him, but you may hold an empty mug and fill it to your heart’s content.
In short, you can always push the button and fill your mug again, but when you turn to kiss the man again, he is gone. Gone until you see him, that is, driving his signature truck along Conley Ridge where you happen to be walking your friend’s dog. He slows to a stop, rolls down the window.
“Hi,” he says. He’s wearing his hat, long hair unbraided, a line of sweat along his shirt from the labor of a long day, this, a side job.
“Hey,” you say. You are wearing your spaghetti strap black tank top and walking a cute dog. How auspicious, you think. Then, No. Stop that.
There are more words. The heat. Paint fumes. A hard, dirty day. The need for beer, sleep.
You want to tell him he that beer and sleep are both better with company. That he ought to think a little less and live a little more. You want to shout: You. Are not getting. Any. Younger. You want to say: You’re a good man. That’s what you’re known for around here. I’m a good person. That’s what I’m known for around here. We should get together. You’re fucking this whole thing up.
“See you later,” he says. (There were other words before that. What were they?)
He drives off. You wonder: Which one of us is the greater coward? The man who is afraid to love or the woman who is afraid to go without it?