When it comes to counting blessings…
Night Needn’t Be
By Tyler Lucas Mobley
Every time I see you I leave with more to say,
I’m beginning to feel it could take a lifetime
to explain. I knew before you told me there was
something different about you. Takes courage
to mention aliens and simulation theory at a
work orientation. What exactly do you mean by
black and white when describing yourself?
The braces were easy to overlook, setting your
rubber bands down on a napkin to eat. Our
schedules overlapped seldom enough for me to
stay engaged and not park myself at the frontdesk
whenever possible. You’d signed on for the graveyard,
when it was time you vanished into the night. A blessing
in the form of mustache and pocket square moved
me to the evenings. Those last fifteen minutes were
the best, you’d still be rubbing your eyes awake as
I wore the day’s work. Things started small out of necessity,
always a surprise to see you. I’d check in to see how
you were doing, the nights could get lonely. I had you
read my Cosmic Lottery piece trying to prove my interest
in aliens was genuine. Said to have experiences few
others had, other dimensions find you interesting as well.
“Really the nature of the soul and DNA, you don’t
say?” We began to see more of each other then
you disappeared for a week, there was word of
an ambulance. That night I was on my way out
convinced I’d have to wait another to see you,
when you appeared across the lobby, I stopped
in my tracks as you continued in yours. Your
small delicate steps I deemed part of a careful
coffee walk trying not to spill is just your natural
gait. I held the back office door then raised a brow
at the four sugars you poured in, you weren’t messing
around, they must’ve played a part. You returned
refreshed and renewed and suggested I watch the show
Cosmic Disclosure, I started the free Gaia trial jumping
at the chance to relate. Intergalactic warfare recalled
through hypnosis, I had my doubts. When I told you
I watched, your smile lifted us both off the ground, my
heart melted at your little jump of excitement from
behind the front desk. I fell into your depths became
caught in your curls, summoned by the mystery of your
magic. I’d wait for you in the parking lot hearing your
heavy sigh before your heels clicked off into the night.
Someone left a copy of Dune at the stand, intrigued
I stashed it in a cabinet and forgot about it. The week
of the premiere you told me it was your favorite book.
“Hey remember that big book someone left here,” I
asked Jaden, “do you know where it went?” “Yeah
it’s right here,” bending to retrieve it from where I’d
left it. Gifting it to you since you lost your copy, I made
sure to say how I started to audio version since your
boyfriend never cracked it. The morning my feelings
made there way into words I got the letter from human
resources, they were forcing those of us out, our days
were numbered. That night I wanted to show you what
I wrote, I hadn’t anticipated fighting for your attention.
Not wanting to ask you out if front of another
co-worker, when you answered the phone I wrote my
number on a piece of paper and left it with you.
That weekend your text never came, I did the
corn maze alone. You arrived early the following
Monday catching me at the time clocks on
my way out. You tried texting but I gave you
the wrong number, how did I manage that?
We exchanged and confirmed contacts, you
let me know the same fate had been made for
you, what were we to do? The weird planet in
the sky video you sent, you’d been thinking
of me. I caught wind of a concert at the bowl,
“would you go with me?” I asked out of the blue.
You’d have to skip work, “screw it they’re firing
us anyway.” An hour before we left you still hadn’t
received your test results. You handed a Mcdonald’s
receipt to the test site lady when she asked for your
appointment ticket. There you were walking
toward me, it was really happening our first night
just the two of us. Jeans and a sweatshirt as casual
as I’d seen you. On the drive north the clouds held
similar conditions as the video you sent where
sunlight burst through somewhere else entirely,
making our lone star appear as two.
The night was ours, deciding on the Mexican
blanket in case the chill became too much.
I wanted to show you off to my friends, you
wanted to stay behind. Our hands found each other’s
under the blanket, sharing warmth under a gentle
sea fog. I said the guitar solo came on too loud you
didn’t feel so. When the headlinder came on the
blanket came off, on our feet the stage transformed
into spaceships ready for takeoff, a callback to our
first conversation. The night carried us away aboard
saucers dancing through a musical atmosphere, a disco
ball spun the light of all things good and present.
You put my glasses on for one final look at the stage.
How you held the stair rail on a cautious decent,
knowing your clumsy tendencies, I cherished your
choice admiring what made you you. Taking every
opportunity to pick a fuzz from your hair, wanting to
know the volume of your curls. On the drive home the
song I played for you put you to sleep. I tried another
off the The Evil One hoping you’d understand, but you
questioned how we are real in the night. Embraced in
the parking structure you shy’d from my intent, but
still texted in thanks of a goodnight. We made it to the
corn maze, within a minute I pushed past a protruding
stock that recoiled into your face, no way to start a date.
I likened you to the Las Vegas shooter when you told me
how you played GTA V, something I could’ve kept to
myself. I pushed you off your crouch at Bank of Books
since you’d expressed a similar urge at the concert, but
thought better of it. We shared silence over lunch, my
first question revealed my unease. Taking your mini
Altoid I offered to replace it with one of normal size.
After I took you under the big fig tree on Chestnut,
you looked up to grasp it’s growth, I couldn’t take my
eyes off you still hungry for your lips. I pulled you
into me, if time stood still I wouldn’t have wondered
why. You’d stop to pick up pennies like Louis Prima,
all sunshine and ravioli. The Christmas music you
enjoyed was your own, a filthy Frosty and jingle cock
as season’s greetings. The story of your hip hop dance
outbreak, the sorrow and the pity. We sat on a promenade
planter holding each other tender watching ocean waves,
was this a beginning or an end? In the spot of before with
my chin resting on your curls, I had to say how everything
felt right in the world. We said our goodbyes, I asked when
I’d see you again, your answer trailed off unsure of yourself.
“Should old acquaintance be forgot?” may it all fall into place.
Let us carry on always to share the night that needn’t be,
just remember when you’re in my arms.
P.S. Covid warden Wolf quit and went to Disneyland (trading five stars for fantasy).