The Venezuelan Dairy Case
by Jeff Glovsky
"I think it's something interesting to talk to you," she says to me. "Tu pinga es muy linda," she states later, as she's shaking it.
Occurs to me I haven't had a virgin for a while.
She states dreamily, "I have to concentrate, and I am sleeping now. This thing needs time!" She tries to drift her hand away, but I replace it with my own… Begin, up-down, the necessary doings that I'm used to …
Then I… Sí.
Sí, sí… Oh, sí…
…So much milk," she states.
I thank her.
- - -
Apropos of moping round the Venezuelan market, near the dairy case, I think of this. Last month, only… What was her name?
She'd told me it was Rivka. Rivka… Connor? Era loca, loca!!
Smile as I heft the eggs, remembering… Rivka O'Connor! What did she have going on?
In real life, what did she do?
I'm thinking she had told me she was "psychopath… psychologist!"
…Which is it?"
Her husband'd "found another girl", she'd said, and so she left their country… That was just two months ago. The cheese, hot in its dairy section, stinkily remembers also…
Fat flies bomb persistently… I think of vulnerability with Rivka. Also trust, and caring… Rivka seemed to care a lot. While others might flop noisily, then want only to crash (like me)… Warm Rivka'd stay awake, engaged. Sit cross-legged in the middle of the bed, like a Thanksgiving prayer… Or splay out like a cat about to side-stroke cross a swimming pool… Or simply lay beside me. But the whole time, with great eyes on mine, like we were meaning something.
And she'd talk… Questions about myself; bright anecdotes and tidbits, now and then a little language lesson… True, she did a lot of coke. But this, I think, just masked the pain she carried. Didn't take away or add to the confusion of her feelings… She was real, Rivka… Real!
Fully satisfying meal.
…Butter melting in the dairy case… "Toast here!," she'd said at one point in our long evening together… I was sweating in the Venezuelan bed where we'd spilt milk together; she, on her back, mocking me, one arm over her eyebrows.
"Toast there!" she'd said, and flipped so that her other arm was covering… Now faced me: Tongue hung like a fulcrum. Lay so, in the half-embarrassed silence as I stared at her (half-smiling)…
"Pig toasts in the sun!"
…Still not quite sure what she'd meant by this. Me sweating, as I say… But anyway, it made her laugh and laugh.
The next day we'd gone out and found a motorbike to rent. It turned out Rivka had a fear of speed, and every new acceleration… time we got to Buchuaco, I had marks and flesh torn off, and bruises; every time we'd hit a bump, Riv'd rev like an eruption!
…Viscous seeping through my fingers, down my arm a little bit… The eggs I heft remember also. "Jesus," I half-turn to see if anybody's seen me…
In the Venezuelan market, near the dairy case, I heft alone.
The heat is like an incubator. Chickens begin popping from egg cartons, and my coated fingers (conjure up two more as I swipe fingers on my shorts)… She was ridiculous!
She'd told me first how she'd felt cheated on, so left her husband; then, after some honesty, she tells me she'd been never faithful…
"Why?" I ask her.
"Mmm-ffppph," she'd shrugged… Then tries to tell me she's out, sleeping! Can't finish what she's begun, I have to move in with my own hand… Selfish, Rivka, just a little!
Still, though… Warm and friendly.
What was that she'd said was her big Turn-On? How men ate their meals… ? Food was an obsession to her.
"Fine food, not just gluttony… "
…I put the Big Mac down that I'd been passionately tearing into. Leave the fries, the chicken pieces, chocolate shakes, and diet soda. "I don't know what were you thinking!? Never come in here for eating… "
…thought…," I burp.
"Of course, no!" laughing… "You are sweet, though. Can you move?"
I wheel around the Venezuelan market, past the dairy case… Remembering…
She'd had a birthmark… Something on her ankle, like a tattoo or a rabbit's foot. We'd stroke it every day for suerte, hoping it would bring us some. Or kindness… Peace of soul… Soft, tropic sunsets after cooling rain… Profane, how Rivka'd danced beneath the coconuts which hung over the beaches we laid claim to.
Shame! Things always worsen somehow, don't they? Rivka, bottom line, was married… not particularly conducive. Though I'd chanced, and seen her dance…
One month ago. When quickly—blindingly and warningless—he'd shown up here to stake his claim… Though I'd been laying it, he took.
And left me toasting in the sun, a Venezuelan marketplace.
- - -
I wheel past the dairy case… It's asked if I might need assistance.
"No," I say, "Oh, no… Thank you."
A woman whispers to her young companion; both deflect the subject. "So much milk," I hear her, sighing, say.
Then swat fat flies away...
About the author:
Jeff Glovsky lives and dies in New York City. His work will soon be seen in Strawberry Press and undergroundvoices.com; occasionally, you might catch him "live," reading and posing at Cornelia Street Cafe, The Coffee Shop, and Black & White in Manhattan, and at Rodeo Ristra in Hoboken, NJ… sometimes simultaneously.