You meet him in a bar and he’s young, much younger than you, all petalled skin and deliciously edged smile. The bar is dark and he is dark too and he smells of Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit De L’homme and when later in the night you lean in to talk, Drake’s “Fake Love” crashing into your eardrums, he kisses you and his kiss tastes like sex and vodka and you feel your taste buds shiver.
You go back to his house for coffee, but his skin has this glow that reminds you of fireflies and you want to see him without clothes. Then you’re fucking on the sofa and you bite his luminous skin and he tastes of violets, of rain. After, as you lie together, you marvel at how the length of his body fits with yours, how each knurl of your backbone curves into his dips and swells.
In the morning, you call a taxi. You don’t leave your number.
This guy wants to meet at the zoo. You almost cancel because you hate the zoo, but something in the tone of his emails intrigues you. He’s very different from the first date; for a start, he lied on his profile. He’s about ten years older and five inches shorter, but you know by now that you can’t judge the tenderness of a lover by looks alone.
You catch your palm on barbed wire at the tiger enclosure and when he says he lives nearby and offers to bandage it you accept his offer. You go to his house and he tends to your wound and then kisses the back of your hand so warmly you fight away tears. You kiss his lips and they taste of sea air yet also faintly of onions and you decide you don’t want to fuck him, but you do lick the length of his body to thank him for the bandage.
You leave shortly after, knowing you’ll never see him again.
You meet him in another dark bar on another street corner, and in no time you’re downing shots of Patron and talking about your shared love of Flaubert and Nick Cave. He’s French, studying geology in California, but his English is excellent and he doesn’t laugh at your schoolgirl French.
This time you go back to yours where you attempt a drunken fuck in the shower, but you slip and slide and end up a heap on the cold shower floor. He manages to carry you to bed, despite you both giggling like young girls. As you curl into him, as you climb into a deep sleep, you vow to swipe left from now on. You may even delete your profile altogether.
Your resolve doesn’t last long and you hunger to get out there again. This one is dark and something about the scythed curve of his eyebrow unsettles and delights you. You meet him at a Hungarian restaurant downtown. When you arrive, he’s already ordered for you; pork stew with dumplings and a bottle of white wine. You only drink red.
The young waitress pours the wine into two glasses, spilling a little on the tablecloth, the drops spreading like tears. He scowls at her for wasting wine and she apologizes and scuttles off to the kitchen, red-cheeked.
He talks about his job and doesn’t ask what you do. He tells you about his ex-wife and how useless she was at blow jobs, except he calls them “blowies”. He gives you a lemon slice smile and you feel one shoeless foot trailing up your tights. You laugh at how much of a cliché this is. He asks why you’re laughing, and you say it’s nothing and would he like to go back to yours for dessert. You pay for dinner and leave. When you reach your apartment, he pushes you against the entry wall and you feel his hardness in the small of your back.
He’s perfect, you think. Definitely the one.
Afterwards, when all that’s left is the tender nub of his spine, you tuck it gently into a piece of kitchen roll, place it with the others in your underwear drawer, and close your profile.
Lucy Palmer is from Cornwall in England but now lives in California, where she works as a freelance copywriter. Her poetry has appeared in By&By Poetry, The Pickled Body, and others. Her flash fiction has appeared in Cherry Tree, The Radvocate, and The Matador Review. Lucy can be found on Twitter at @LucyPRich.