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August Night
By Katherine Quinn

There's something steamy in the air tonight. That warm sticky feeling that holds you in its heavy hand and makes you stay apathetically still trying your best just to lift your chest in order to breathe against its oppressive weight. It's warm, and hot, and I'm sweating. We're lying together, at opposite ends of the couch, our bodies not touching, though I can feel the warmth that her body's giving out. Even lounging here, watching her watch the movie we agreed on after only what seemed like hours of negotiation in the smallest hottest video store in all of Brooklyn, seems like we're running marathons against the warm stickiness of the August night. What had seemed perfectly reasonable an hour ago, my favorite boxers and a tight white tank top that's now clinging uncomfortably to every part of my body, seems equivalent to a heavy Alaskan parka and boots.

I'm lazily watching her, instead of the movie that's blaring off our entertainment center set up. She's wearing the tight white little boy briefs that I told her she was too girly to wear with a t-shirt that's tormenting me by riding up her slim torso, as those little blonde hairs that never quite fit into her ponytail hang limply by her face. I honestly think I could get her to do anything as long as I prefaced it with "You're too girly to."

She's moving her ankles, her feet in small circles, rubbing together the top of one foot with the bottom of the other, something she does when she's sleepy and about to drift off. When we first were together, it drove me insane...the constant motion, the ceaseless tempo, but now, like much of our quiet co-existence, it's become one of the things I love about her.

Her eyes are closing slowly, as I smile, knowing that the negotiations in the video store ended up the same way it always did, she won and then she fell asleep during the "artistic" production she begged me to rent.

It's a routine we go through, familiar and comforting. I intentionally go into the store to pick the most objectionable movie so she can charm me out of my decision. I won't admit it, but I love that she rolls her eyes as she watches me wander into the "action" section, while she stays firmly planted near the "it's like watching paint dry" section. I approach her, hands behind my back wrapped around the huge manly superhero on the cover, her smile forced as she asks me what I found. Like a child, I push the cover out in front of me, showing it to her, awaiting her disapproval. She never frowns exactly, but almost like you pat a child's head, she tells me that would be a good choice, except that hers would be so much better.

I give into her, because I love her smile, because I love her, and because no matter what we ultimately do together, it will be perfect because we will be together. And stretched out on this couch, with her, in this heat, with all the stickiness and lethargy is better than being anywhere else I can think of. She's almost asleep now, and I smile, calling her name softly and asking her if she's paying attention, she responds with sleepy sigh that she is in fact watching the movie. I smile knowing that in seconds she'll be dead to the world. I know that it will now be my job to relate to her what she's missed and I flip over, determined not to disappoint her. In sleep, she's my angel. Awake, she's my heart. Either way, she makes me alive.

The End

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