Is this what I should wear now, these stockings and garters and a thin coating of embarrassment that I can feel just barely covering me, light and airy and almost not there at all, just noticeable enough to make me wonder if I can dress this way without feeling ridiculous and whorish and beautiful and released from the steadfast sameness that always seems to envelope me when I’m going out with someone new, someone I want to impress, but not making an effort that he will consciously be aware of, but that will mark me as a woman of mystery and dark and musky appeal, like an ancient and forgotten goddess of the sea rising to the surface to make herself known once again to the mortals that have erased her from their memories?
Are my sentences always run-ons when I’m talking about new men?
He owns the cheese shop on the corner, this one, beautiful man that he is, and when he speaks to me in the language of cheese, it’s like fingertips tracing the lines of my inner heart, making me quiver:
“Milbenkäse,” he says, and my breath catches in my throat.
“Panela,” he says, and I begin to tremble.
“Samsø,” he says, and I lick my lips.
“Yorkshire Blue,” he says, and I am dizzy with lust.
“Would you care for a sample?” he asks, and it is all I can do to not throw him to the tile floor of his shop and have him right there among the exquisite appenzeller and the unflappable herrgårdsost and even the disapproving cheddar.
I usually keep my heart in a small black cage hanging in the kitchen, watched over by the Kitchen God, where it stays safe from harm. Harm, however, must sometimes be risked in order to gain any ground in this world, and so tonight I take down the cage and open the door and feel my heart slip back into my chest, beating against the flesh and bone like a hummingbird until it adjusts and settles and finds a rhythm that both it and I can be comfortable with.
I do not take my heart out of its cage on many occasions.
The breeze whispers, “Lüneberg,” and I know there is no turning back tonight.