‘Honey’ by Patricia Quintana Bidar

I knew a man who owned 150 items. One hundred of them were books. He was extremely specific about this number. Two plates, two bowls, one pot, one pan. One squeeze bottle of liquid soap he used for the counters, the clothes, his remaining hair. One Bobby Goldsboro record, but no turntable. He said one of the songs, Honey, had always moved him.

When his dog passed away, he replaced it. A plant; why didn’t I say plant? Although it is true about his dog.

I had the idea he was spiritual and wise. He was old. His sparseness was a turn-on. And the red rug on the floor beside his bed, so pleasing. I pleased him when I knelt on it. His framed, black-inked Eye of Horus lent the place a tang of the mystic.

It lasted seven weeks. One evening, I thought I’d pitch in and empty the garbage. He was out, walking the replacement dog. The bag was surprisingly full. I clocked the contents: the detritus of fast food wolfed when I was at work, eight squishy condoms (curtsy), and much-thumbed porn mag featuring plump Latinas (deep bow). Lengths of floss. Several items of mine: a lipstick, a purple bandana, a pair of my underpants. A necklace of amber beads in graduated sizes. A shopping list in a fussy, feminine hand So that was his writing.

That dipshit. I pulled the necklace apart, tucked amber beads in every nook. I upended the bag. I’d miss the way we ate together with chopsticks. His warm, wise mouth on me. The touch of his ears in the insides of my thighs. I strolled into Pacific fog, the door flung wide behind me. Inside,  the beads gleamed golden.

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