IF NATALIE PORTMAN WERE MY GIRLFRIEND, LIFE WOULD
BE LIKE THE MOVIES
As it is, Beth and I don’t have this problem. We’re friends, maybe better friends than we should be, considering that she runs the restaurant and I’m a cook here. We talk frankly, laugh often. When the conversation turns to sex, it’s purposefully raunchy and insincere, as if we were both men. Beth is from up north, farming country, and has five brothers and two stepbrothers, so she knows how to talk like the boys.
On the other hand, we both fall victim on a more
or less regular basis to swoons of sentimentality, and when one or the
other of us is feeling this way, we speak in hushed tones, our faces
close, confiding like women. During these times we touch a lot; our
hands, wrists, shoulders are in constant fluttering contact. She’ll
give me details on last night’s bubble
I am telling her this now, in fact. Her eyes soften as I mutter sentence fragments and gaze out the window and sigh a lot: “Shit, I don’t know...”
Her hands find mine under the table. “It’s been four years since Jenn left,” she says. “You’ve spent enough time in purgatory, I’d say.”
“I’ve had other women since then,” I tell her.
“Sure,” she says. One of her hands skitters up to grasp my forearm.
“Sure, and you haven’t loved any of them, but so what? You’re a young man, Tom. You’ll find someone. If you ever leave that cubbyhole you call a home.”
Beth knows me too well. She knows I live in an efficiency
with a tiny television set, no telephone, and a stack of books most
people wouldn’t read unless they were forced to. She knows I take
my shoes off and place them in a neat, even line with the others on
the mat just inside the front door. She knows I subsist mostly on peanut
butter and cereal,
You can read If Natalie Portman Were My Girlfriend, Life Would Be Like the Movies in its entirety in issue 3 of Swink.
Ronald F. Currie, Jr. is a native of Waterville, Maine. His fiction has appeared in recent issues of Glimmer Train, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Sun, The Cincinnati Review, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. He’s seeking representation for his novel-in-stories God is Dead.
© 2007 Swink, Inc.