I am the red parrot fish you watch in the Chinese take-out joint while you wait for your cheap dinner.
How did I get here, to this bar, to this seat, laughing with you, a man whose conversation is burnt toast sticking to the roof of my mouth.
RED PARROT FISH BY REBECCA DIMYAN 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 38
The other side of the bar is Antarctica. I go there for exploration and frostbite. That’s what his conversation does to me. I’m cold and desolate. Alone, on edge, on edges of stools, and stages, and should-have-beens. I laugh something that sounds like water running from a faucet, rushed, noiseless, continuous. It fills the space left empty by the man’s words. He is middle-aged, polished, dark-haired. I laugh and try not to think of the hows and the whys. How did I get here, to this bar, to this seat, laughing with you, a man whose conversation is burnt toast sticking to the roof of my mouth. I begin reciting Adrienne Rich’s On Edges in my mind and my painted, too-slender-to-be-seductive lips curl into something resembling attractive. The tiny mole at the corner of my mouth rises, punc…