You asked me out. I didn’t ask you. Last night, you called and said where should we go? What should we do? You said it low, quiet, full of intent and like I might be the only person on the planet. In the end we decided to meet tonight at the Commercial. It’s better than it used to be. They have table service now. I arrive first. They play Elvis. I wear my best dress, a second-hand Diane von Furstenberg, in the deepest blue. I order a G and T and sit at the table in the window. The table next to me are laughing at them playing Elvis. Some people don’t know God when they see him. Outside, workers huddle in their coats and hurry to the train station and I am not one of them tonight. I pull out my phone and you are ten minutes late. I order another G and T and a bowl of olives. I leave my phone on the table. They play “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” I mouth the words. Fuck it. It’s a school night and I am out on the town and you asked me out. I didn’t ask you. The table next to me are laughing again. One girl tips her head back. Her teeth are big. I do that when I laugh—smile too big, open my mouth too wide. The olives are hard, green and stuffed with chilli. They make me hot, buzzy. Your eyes are green, beyond green, greenest. I think you know that. I pull the pins from my hair. I shouldn’t have worn it up. It makes me look schoolmarmish. My hair falls down around my face. You said my face was heart-shaped. You are twenty minutes late. Now they play Bowie and this is getting serious. “Ashes to Ashes” for fucksake. The table next to mine isn’t laughing anymore. That voice, Bowie’s voice, hits an all time low and it scrapes away at me, scrapes and scrapes. I could dance here in my seat, just slightly, because it’s Bowie, but I can’t. I order a whiskey. You are thirty minutes late. The screen of my phone is completely black. I cried for a week when Bowie died. I did. He kept running for his English evergreens. Me and my heart-shaped face have a heart.
Melissa Goode’s work has appeared in Best Australian Short Stories, SmokeLong Quarterly, New World Writing, Split Lip Magazine, Atticus Review, Literary Orphans, and Jellyfish Review, among others. One of her short stories has been made into a film by the production company, Jungle. She lives in Australia.