Sure there was kissie kiss. But he didn't like her style. “Rough edges,” he said, although he never used the term. He tailored his feedback—it was sharp as lightning and burned just as much.
Consider his critique of her colour sense. They were off to a party, his introduction to her social set—one of those firsts that leave many on edge as they yearn for approval yet realize others might judge them negatively. Would have thought he'd be quaking in his boots. Turned out she was.
Her boots were green rubber. Moss green. A variety of moss that might appear lime to some, chartreuse to others, Zen green to those who read designer paint labels at hardware stores. She paired those boots with a linen pantsuit the colour of copper. And there she was, set to venture out in moss boots and wrinkled copper linen. She loved the combination, to which he said, “Are you joking? You've got to be kidding. You're kidding, right?”
Should have kicked him, but she didn't.
Then there were the coat lapels. He had an issue with the size of them. I'm referring to the lapels on the full-length double-breasted wool coat she bought from the Burlington Coat Factory on Atlantic Avenue in New York City while visiting him from across the Canada—U.S. border on the other side of the continent. It was the colour of cinnamon. Made her feel like a rank-and-file New Yorker, especially when she wore it with those moss rubber boots she'd purchased on that same visit from a discount footwear store on some street in midtown Manhattan.
The day after her coat purchase they met at a diner on East 55th for his lunch break. She hadn't considered the size of the lapels until she entered the diner and sat down at the table in front of him. He fixed his gaze on her coat, then furrowed his brow before lifting it—an apparent attempt to enlarge his eyeballs just enough to accommodate the full lapels in the range of his vision. Then he said to her, “Guess they weren't short on material when they made those things.”
She wanted to punch him, but didn't.
Mustn't forget their trip to Montauk—the easternmost stop on Long Island where the wind sends a chill down the spine in December. They'd planned a romantic excursion, but she didn't stay long enough for the romance to blossom. The issue was her glasses—her handmade-in-France marine-blue frames with Japanese specialty high-density lenses. Moments after their arrival—about two hundred feet from the train station—he turned and said to her, “Did you bring your contacts? Your contact lenses?”
She eyeballed him with a straight face for five and a half long seconds, then said, “Why?”
“Because I like you better in your contacts,” he said.
No more kissie kiss. Ditched him.
words: Karyn Eisler, Canada (more)
image: Steve Wing, Florida (more)
original publication: Kissie Kiss / Geist Magazine #66
another blueprintreview story about him:
Learning to Swim in an Estuary