Fiction · 07/25/2018

Blind Date with Ellipsis (and others)

The café is crowded, so the ellipsis is easy to spot.

Paused right in the middle of someone’s sentence.

Mid-air as a bird.

+

Blind Date with End Stop

The end stop is a fabulous conversationalist.

She drinks her red wine in one flushing gulp.

She steps down strongly with the point of her heel. Right on the head of a fire ant.

She places her hand like a paperweight on your thigh.

She never staggers, never trips.

All dinner, not a single crumb drops from her lips.

+

Blind Date with Ampersand

The sex in unbelievable: yes & yes & yes & yes.

+

Blind Date with Opening Parenthesis

She leans to one side of the restaurant, holding the door.

All night customers stream in.

You stream in.

The candlelight makes her a perfect silhouette.

You whisper into her, all night, her whole body an ear.

All night, she holds open, listening.

+

Blind Date with Carrot

She is an interjector! Quite the conversationalist! All night feels like little potholes, like little popcorn pops. She cannot help it. She cannot wait to correct your grammar, inject an anecdote, weasel her way right in between your arms, your eyes, your lips.

+

Blind Date with M-Dash

Canceled.

+

Blind Date with Oxford Comma

Her bowties covered in tiny little blowfish. Her three hands folded neatly in her lap. She is the politest comma you’ve ever dated. She keeps her third eye closed most of the time. She keeps her third heart beating so softly you have trouble feeling it through her chest, much later, in the dark.

+

Blind Date with Backslash Backslash

She cheats on you, even as she’s meeting you.

+

Blind Date with Underline

You search the entire café for her. She searches the entire you for the café.

When you find her (when she finds you), she makes you feel more powerful than you’ve ever felt before.

You shadow the whole city together, easily knocking it down.

+

Blind Date with Semicolon

She has two PhDs and plunging purple hair that covers, like, sixty percent of her body. When she pulls you into her car, and plunges the seats down, and plunges into you, you have literally no idea where to begin.

+

Blind Date with NUM LOCK

The way she counts things is, you hate to admit it, endearing.

You find yourself trying it too.

Four chandeliers, with 32 teardrops each.

8 waiters, so 16 eyes.

14 menu options, and 2 of you, so the possibility of (howevermany) combinations.

You’re not a math person. She is.

She orders number 7, something smothered in chickpeas.

She eats almost silently.

She carries in her the stillness of a lake.

+++

Melissa Goodrich is the author of Daughters of Monsters and the forthcoming collaborative collection The Classroom Beneath Our Classroom. She received her MFA in Fiction from the University of Arizona. Her work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Artful Dodge, The Kenyon Review Online, Passages North, PANK, Gigantic Sequins, and others. Find her at melissa-goodrich.com and tweeting @good_rib.