Greg Gerke

She wouldn't let him do what he wanted to do and this frustrated him. She was a painter and he was a writer and he tried to read his stories to her, but she would stop him and tell him not now. With others he wouldn't give in, but she was older and he thought she knew better. It pained him not to share what he wanted to share and he thought it odd how he truly desired this woman who deprived him of doing what he wanted to do with her.

He read that run-on sentence again. What exactly was odd about his behavior? Wasn't that how relationships worked? In the past, yes. But he had been writing for some time and seeing women for some time—he had gotten to the point where he wanted something different from his writing and from seeing women. Writing it so it would happen, he wrote that as they walked into her purple-walled apartment he announced he wanted something different and she said how admirable that was, but she still didn't want to hear his stories.

He then asked to see her paintings, but she said that was not a good idea, and he became enticed because there was something she had that she wouldn't show him. Because she was a painter and he had not seen her work he couldn't tell people he was seeing a painter because he couldn't answer questions about her work. What was the attraction of her being a painter then? Maybe she lied. Maybe she made beaded necklaces. And he said, Hey, I have a story about a woman who makes beaded necklaces, and she said, What the hell are you talking about? And he said he didn't know and kissed her, and she liked that and he thought it odd she would let him do that. But odder still, kissing was actually not what he really wanted to do, though she was tall and beautiful. He stopped kissing her and asked again if he could read her his stories and she wanted to know if he was kidding and he looked at the tip of his nose and said, No, not kidding—he wanted something different. She smiled and said his something different and her something different didn't really match. He said he didn't even know she wanted something different, was she just being a copycat? She laughed and said she knew he was younger, but thought him mature enough to realize her something different could probably ensure something longer-lasting because certain mysteries would be preserved. But he protested—he was very mature because he was writing the story, he knew the entrails of her mind, what would come next, and she again dismissed being party to his art and stuck her tongue down his throat to stop any more words.

Greg Gerke lives in New York. He's the author of MY BROOKLYN WRITER FRIEND, which is out from Queen's Ferry Press, and which "Storied" and "Careful" are from.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Jan-Joost Verhoef.

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