High School Cafeteria II

Alice and I are sitting
at a table by the garbage cans.

Hey.

Huh?

You were spacing.

Oh, sorry. Corcoran.
He makes me so angry.

Why?

Alice bristles. That not-your-fight
bullshit. He’s not even from here.
He’s from Iowa.

Really?

I heard him
outside the Teachers’ Lounge.
He said his mom was visiting from there.

I wonder why he’d say that.

I mean, she continues. Who’s from here?
I’m from here; you’re from here.
But where are you parents from?

Connecticut. Wisconsin.

Exactly. She throws her spork on her tray.
I don’t care where you’re from.
And if you’re watching a fight
you’re in the fight.

I regret smiling
as soon as I do it.

What’s funny?

I shake my head. Nothing.
I just… really agree with you.

Hey. She ticks her head up at me.
Earlier, were you… Do you remember
coming in here?

I must’ve flushed.

No.

What happens
when you go?

Now I must look trapped.
I take a deep breath to clear my expression.

It’s… different every time.

I mean, do you black out? You’re somewhere
and then somewhere else?

Well, yeah, but…

What?

I don’t know. It’s like waking up from a dream.
Sometimes I remember more. That time
I just remember it was dark
and I heard two women talking.

And it could have been anyone,
anywhere, any time?

I nod.

What about a minute ago,
when we were getting food?
When did you leave?

I remember leaving the hallway with you;
then I was at the Reservoir. I don’t know when
but it couldn’t have been too long ago, because…

Because what?

Alice leans over the table
and whispers, I promise I won’t tell.

And now I’m really trapped.

It’s… I’ve been making…

Can I take you to the Reservoir
this weekend?
On a date?

Hold on. You’ve been making
a special place for you and me
to go on a date
at the Reservoir?

Sometimes.

Her eyes go wide.
What does that mean?

I mean, I work on it
when I can.

There’s a silence now
in the cafeteria.
It takes a moment
for me to register
Alice is gone

and I’m still here.

Then someone taps
my shoulder
and I turn
and it’s Alice
and her face is in front of mine
and I she kisses me
on the mouth

and I kiss her back.

Added: February 2, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015