Mussel

It’s been a few months since harvest and my hands are no longer purple. The interns are gone and I’m alone in the bunkhouse, sitting at a table I made out of pallets. Wine stains and cigarette burns riddle the tabletop. These blemishes are stories. I say them out loud when things get too quiet.

Right now, I’m humming the song that bridged the gap between me and two roommates from France. Something by Radiohead.

Once, I let these guys borrow my Jeep. They picked up a few American girls at a bowling alley, then drove to Bodega Bay and poached ten pounds of contaminated mussels. They insisted I look at their photos while they made a pasta sauce. One photo showed the girls leaning against a barn painted with a giant Ferrari logo. The guys really liked that one.

I watched them work in the kitchen and imagined how they must be in bed. The French, after all, have a reputation for being good lovers. I guessed they are better at the after-sex sort of stuff. Like cuddling.

In our tiny space they moved like eels. They never seemed to be in each other’s way. As one guy lifted the lid off the steaming mussels, a brown nipple showed through his torn t-shirt. The other pulled air towards his face as it billowed from the boiling pot. They both said, oh lá lá.

When they talked they stood close and pursed their lips. They touched each other. I watched them cook and forgot they are men. Which made me wonder what being a man meant anyhow.

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