VALERIE TIRELLA
Longing and the Envy of Ink


You are driving your red 2001 Honda Civic with Missouri plates, the car your dad bought you upon high school graduation. I am in the passenger seat, sitting in between discarded Christian newsletters that were left on your windshield at the mall, an empty Ice Mountain water bottle and dog hair. You insist on both car windows being rolled down and I want to keep driving all the way to a coast, east or west, to hold your attention like this for as long as I can. To have intimate conversations even when they're about the asshole I was the night before and how it's not like you to hold a grudge.

We drink from a white plastic cup with the words "The Dubliner" written in a careless font alongside an imperfect profile of James Joyce, black solid form with an orange frenetic outline. The water doesn't cost us anything but the bartender acts irritated when I ask for it with my Harp. We refill the cup several times as I drink most of them when the beers begin to add up. You flutter back and forth, from dancing to sitting to standing, checking in and up on me to ask if there is any water left in our cup. And just like that, in only a matter of hours, our first possession.

The oversized white leather bag with brown buttons hangs around your shoulders from right to left as if we are somewhere unsafe and you do not trust it any other way. It is you and me at the bar, the bag against your back leaving free a sliver of room between us, just enough space to perpetuate this tension, a chemistry we speak of and you do not deny. You finally let go of the bag, trusting to leave it at our table with friends and when I tell you I don't dance, you take my hand, not taking no for an answer. We sway more than dance really and I use this as an excuse to drape myself around you, taking the place of your bag. We move slowly to music indeterminably fast nor slow and I wonder which one of us has initiated this intimacy, wishing only for the music not to stop.

You are driving your red 2001 Honda Civic with Missouri plates, the car your dad bought you upon high school graduation. I am in the passenger seat, sitting in between discarded Christian newsletters that were left on your windshield at the mall, an empty Ice Mountain water bottle and dog hair. You insist on both car windows being rolled down and I want to keep driving all the way to a coast, east or west, to hold your attention like this for as long as I can. To have intimate conversations even when they're about the asshole I was the night before and how it's not like you to hold a grudge.

We drink from a white plastic cup with the words "The Dubliner" written in a careless font alongside an imperfect profile of James Joyce, black solid form with an orange frenetic outline. The water doesn't cost us anything but the bartender acts irritated when I ask for it with my Harp. We refill the cup several times as I drink most of them when the beers begin to add up. You flutter back and forth, from dancing to sitting to standing, checking in and up on me to ask if there is any water left in our cup. And just like that, in only a matter of hours, our first possession.

The oversized white leather bag with brown buttons hangs around your shoulders from right to left as if we are somewhere unsafe and you do not trust it any other way. It is you and me at the bar, the bag against your back leaving free a sliver of room between us, just enough space to perpetuate this tension, a chemistry we speak of and you do not deny. You finally let go of the bag, trusting to leave it at our table with friends and when I tell you I don't dance, you take my hand, not taking no for an answer. We sway more than dance really and I use this as an excuse to drape myself around you, taking the place of your bag. We move slowly to music indeterminably fast nor slow and I wonder which one of us has initiated this intimacy, wishing only for the music not to stop. 

There is a mix cd you cycle through the entire way home. Kings of Leon, no, Wilco, no, M.I.A., no. I wonder if you are searching for a soundtrack for the moment or if you are just impatient, tired and indecisive. I wonder where the mix came from and suddenly I find myself jealous over someone else's Sharpie. My inebriation makes me talkative, a bit brazen. I ask if I was an asshole tonight while you skip tracks, unable to commit to how you feel.

You ask me to make you pasta. Something cheesy and dripping with butter, salt, pepper, and parmesan. Rigatoni, gemelli, linguini… rigatoni it is. I dump half a bag of the wide, lined noodles into boiling, salted water while you sit nearby on the countertop, leafing through my mail, opening bills and arrowing through the contents of my digital camera. I wonder what you are looking for and if it is really the pasta keeping you here in my kitchen at four in the morning, as if carbohydrates are really worth the lack of sleep.

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VALERIE TIRELLA

Valerie holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and has spent four summers writing at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Originally from New Jersey, she lives in St. Louis where she is Associate Creative Director at an advertising agency.

This page was first displayed
on October 08, 2008

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