by Ann Bogle
Ann and User Name are going to a coffee shop in a northern city. The weather is predicted to be 25 degrees. The cafe has exposed log walls. User Name's apartment is in the warehouse district. The coffee shop is near the creek. Ann will wear black boots, black jeans, and a gray cashmere sweater dress. She will not look "great." She will look even. Her hair will be in a knot from not brushing it after washing it. User Name will greet her by telling her she's right, she is tall, and Ann will think of their middle-aged grief, though she feels twelve and thirty-nine. He will be tall. She'll say, "You're tall yourself! I so like tall!" And they'll dive for a table by the window when the elderly lawnmower repairman begins to clear it and leave. Americano, Ann will say, large, wondering if you pay in sex for that or if it goes on a tab or ledger adding up to gestures that add up to sex or money that adds up to the same thing as sex. He's tall. He's appetitive. He orders a danish. He orders a latte. His eyes are wide then narrow and brown. Hers are gray then they look away, toward the back door where a delivery driver has walked in, carrying a tray. Nothing is going to happen today. User Name has a missing toe, but she will not know that until the third date. On the first date, she will not know. The missing toe will mean, eventually, giving succor, not for the loss of it, a blade fell on it when he was eight, but for his hated father, his father who stayed up late and messed around in the kitchen making apple sauce and cherry wine.