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“How old are you, Kate?” We move from counter to bar, and I begin making his iced Vietnamese coffee. I go through the motions of grabbing an ice cup, making espresso, pouring the shots. As I add in his extra condensed milk, I listen to my customer tell me how he wants to take a new girl on a trip, somewhere nice. He tells me he can’t find anyone to take, tells me I should come. I hand him his drink and say, “Have a good day.” Rachel is on the phone. Her boyfriend is yelling at her again about something dumb, but I’m not surprised because dumb people can’t see past dumb ideas. She listens to him, but she doesn’t hear a word he says. Instead, we continue to paint my bedroom walls to the beat of his crackling voice. But eventually he stops. I move to the other side of the room so that I can’t hear their conversation. We’ve been painting all day and my back is beginning to hurt. I can hear him talking to her. “Show me Kate.” “No,” she whispers. “I don’t want to keep doing this with you.” “Show me Kate or I’m hanging up.” “Please stop doing this to me.” I hear the disconnect beep on the phone. Neither of us say anything. We both know that I heard him, and we both know it wasn’t the first time that it had happened. I don’t turn around to look at her. She grabs her stuff quietly. “See ya tomorrow, Kit Kat.” “Uh-huh.” I think that maybe I should look at her, say something, try to defend myself. I know she is mad at me for her boyfriend wanting to fuck me even though I have never done anything to lead him on. It isn’t my fault she doesn’t know how to love herself. Still, it is my fault in her eyes. I met Lane when I was young. My body was different then. Flat and skinny. He didn’t fall in love with the way my ass curved in ripped-up jeans. He fell in love with the way I spoke, the way my light found its way out through my thoughts, the way I wasn’t afraid to let anyone else share my warmth. But lately I wear makeup and clothes that show off my pale skin. We’re both different now, but his love is the same. I envy the way it is easy for others to see their beauty, and my envy is only calmed when I’m with Lane. It’s the only place I’m allowed to feel unashamedly beautiful. We’re naked and his finger traces the lines on my stomach from slouching. His eyes catch my own, and I see the way he admires my face. I want to ask him if he thinks my face is pretty, but I hold my tongue. I don’t want to ruin the moment. He hums softly beneath the sound of music that plays low around us. “What’s wrong?” he asks me. “I think my friendship with Rachel is over,” I tell him. “All because of Jason.”

JACOBSON

OAR

89

Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

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