Fiction by Gabrielle Hovendon
– Oh God, did I wake you up?
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! You’re getting up now though, right? Unless you want to go back to sleep. You can go back to sleep if you’d like. I have to go to work in a bit, but it’s okay, you can go back to sleep. I trust you. I trust you here in the apartment while I’m gone. After all, I’d have to trust you to bring you home in the first place. Not that there’s any reason I shouldn’t trust you, I didn’t mean to imply that. Oh, okay, you’re getting up.
– What would you like for breakfast? Can I fix you something?
If you tell me what your favorite breakfast food is, I’ll try to make it. No guarantees, though, especially if it’s something foreign. I tried to cook falafel last week and it burned the pan and I had to throw it out. You don’t look like the kind of person who eats foreign food for breakfast, but I’m not certain. Are you a toast kind of guy? How about cereal? Are you one of those people who slurps up the milk after you’ve finished the cereal? I am, but it’s okay if you’re aren’t. What about bacon? Do you like bacon? Okay, I guess I can surprise you.
– The shower’s right through there. Towels are in the closet on the left.
Unless of course you don’t want to shower. Oh God, you’ll think I think you smell bad, and that’s not what I think at all. Of course, I haven’t smelled you since last night, but you smelled fine then. Good, not fine. Fine implies you didn’t smell good, and you did. But if you want to shower, I promise I won’t think it’s because you smell bad. Some people just like to shower every morning, regardless of smell. It’s not my cup of tea, but far be it from me to – tea! I forgot to ask if you wanted some tea or coffee with breakfast! Hold on, can you hear me with the water running in there? If I sort of yell through the door, can you maybe tell me if you prefer sugar or creamer? No? What if I open the door a crack…
– Oh God, you’re not in the shower yet! I’m so sorry, I thought you’d be behind the curtain!
Did you see me looking? I know you heard me, but I think you saw me looking, too. Quick, should I pretend I didn’t see you or just make a joke? Oh, God I saw your penis and everything. It wasn’t on purpose, I swear! Only, did it look like that last night? Obviously the situation was different and it was dark and everything, but I don’t remember it looking quite like that. I mean, I don’t think it’s ugly or anything, I just remembered it differently. Do you think I’m being creepy? I’m not trying to be creepy. I saw everything last night, it shouldn’t be creepy if I accidentally walk in on you naked. This isn’t like the locker room—no surprises here. What was the joke I was going to make? Oh, you’re getting out of the shower now?
– This is really embarrassing, but I don’t think I remember your name. Keith, right, right. Sorry!
I was going to look through your wallet but then I thought you might come back into the room and it would look weird, like I was trying to steal your identity or something. Of course maybe you’ll think it’s weird that I’m thinking this now. Or maybe you’ll think it’s weird that I think it’s weird that I’m thinking it. Or maybe… ha-ha, it’s like a whole chain of weirdness. You know what it’s like? It’s like one of those halls of mirrors where things keep reflecting back on each other, but with weirdness. Hall of weird mirrors. Mirrweirds. Weirrorness.
– I’m sorry, I think I got a bit of shell in the eggs when I was scrambling them.
I tried to pick it out but I couldn’t find it again, so there’s going to be some shell on one of our plates. One of us is going to bite down on that eggshell. I’m sorry, I should have just hardboiled them, but some people don’t like hardboiled eggs and I figured… Well, which plate are you going to take? Okay, but the shell might be in that one. I’m not saying it is, but it might be. Just so you know. There’s really no way of telling, that’s the thing. Unless I made a new batch, of course. Do you want me to make a new batch? God, I should have thought of that in the first place. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll make a new batch. After all, who wants to be the one who gets the eggshell? If it’s you, you’ll think I didn’t like you enough to give you the good plate, but if it’s me you’ll think I took it for myself on purpose just to be nice, and that’s really not the kind of girl I am. That’s not the kind of girl I am at all.
– Wait, you’re leaving?
Why are you leaving? Did you get the shell after all? You don’t have to keep eating it, I’ll make something different! Or did you want something else to drink? I knew it. I should have offered you the orange juice. Or is this about what happened in the bathroom? I meant to explain better, but I promise I wasn’t trying to look at you. Not that you’re not worth looking at, that’s not what I mean. I wouldn’t have brought you here last night if you weren’t worth looking at—but not in a superficial way. I don’t want you to think I only care about appearances! It’s just I don’t usually peek at men when they’re in my shower. I don’t ever peek at men in my shower. I don’t know why I said usually. Not that I’ve even had that many men in my shower, because I haven’t. But if I had, I wouldn’t have peeked at them.
– Keith, please wait!
Oh God, it must be because I forget your name. That’s it, isn’t it? That has to be it. What kind of girl forgets the name of the guy she brings home? It’s like something the dumb lead in a romantic comedy would do, only it would all work out in the end for her. Not that I think this isn’t going to work out, I just wish you’d stop putting on your shoes and everything. What was that one movie where the girl had amnesia and mixed up her boyfriend with this total stranger? Oh God, the b-word! I’m so sorry, I swear I wasn’t thinking that way at all. It just slipped out, sort of like last night with your... Oh God, I shouldn’t have brought that up that either! You’re probably still embarrassed about it. Are you still embarrassed about it? Anyway, I don’t even want a boyfriend, really. I mean I like you, I just don’t want you to feel like there’s any pressure. There’s no pressure, okay? Although if you did want to be my boyfriend I promise I’d remember your name. Keith, see? I remember it already!
– Wait, what?
I don’t understand—you’re saying that I’m too quiet? That this morning was like waking up next to a monk? Are monks even quiet? I thought they went around singing chants and preaching to animals and stuff, or is that friars? Is there even a difference? And hold on, you’re not saying I’m like a monk in bed, are you? God, what if I’m going bald on the top of my head and don’t even realize it? And what if—Keith, come on! Please don’t go! I can start talking more! Look, I’m talking more right now!
– Won’t you at least stay for some coffee?
And do you want sugar with it? I’ll go get the sugar, and then maybe you can explain how I’m too quiet. Do you want creamer? I’ll get the creamer out, too.
– Oh, you’re late for work?
Who has to work on a Sunday morning?
– Of course. I’m fine, really I am.
It’s just a surprise to hear you say I’m too quiet, that’s all.
– Yeah. See you around, I guess.
Because sometimes I feel like I never shut up.