I had my first kiss at the cinema, the contour of our silhouettes illuminated by the glow of the rolling credits. He tasted like Altoids and cigarettes, an ambivalent concoction of ice and fire. At one point, I'd bitten him by accident. Whether this was a manifestation of inexperience or (seductively, with heat in her eyes) hunger, I'm not sure. But, sitting there in the thrill of My Something New, I was certain of one thing: this was a red carpet moment, the stuff of silver screens and glimmering Hollywood starlets and rows of type writer ribbon waiting to be transposed into something theatrical.
After the film, we sat outside a cafe a block over, the fever of summer adhering to the back of our necks like (giggling) misplaced hickeys. Smoke corkscrewing from the end of his parliament, he told me how John F. Kennedy was addicted to opioids. I couldn't help but think back to earlier that afternoon when he first admitted to being a smoker. How he'd asked me, "Is this going to be a problem for you?" hesitation rising up his throat like bile.
I smiled because 'Everyone's got their poison," I replied.
And poison? Well, there's something so strikingly poetic about it, don't you agree?
JFK must have been Marilyn Monroe's poison, I think.
"So," I offered, "What do you really think happened to Marilyn Monroe?"
"How do you mean?" he said between drags of his cigarette.
"I mean was it really an overdose or--"
"Was it an assassination?" he interjected.
Another drag of his cigarette.
"As they say, the simplest answer is often the correct one."
"Maybe. (beat.) But what makes for the better story?"
After two weeks of courtship, he took his leave. My mother's obvious, unwarranted disapproval was, perhaps, a source of anxiety for him. Me being freshly eighteen, he was also concerned about that (sarcastically) whoppin' three year age gap. (beat.) Not fully buying it, are ya?
Well, neither did I.
Here's my theory: his feelings (or lack thereof) were the reason he called it quits. And instead of being a man--instead of being honest, instead of owning up to the true nature of his intentions--he spun some relatively believable excuse. A coward's way of removing himself from a situation he doesn't want to be in. Surprisingly enough, I wasn't as disappointed as I would have anticipated, had I foreseen the end of our fleeting romance.
I was (beat.) fine.
It does make for a great story, after all. (wryly) But you knew that already.
Because for every Norma Jean, there's always a Marilyn Monroe.
Tell me then--who are you?
Girl curtsies, transitioning into a tableau of Marilyn Monroe's iconic pose wherein she attempts to hold down her dress as the air from a nearby subway grate threatens to expose her undergarments.
Lights fade out.
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(P.S. Use a computer to ensure an optimal reading experience.)