Three. Peggy Paula was returning a video when she met a man she would love. He took the video from her like it was delicate and valuable, touching her wrist with his thumb and smiling.
The man had a dimple in his chin and a wedding ring, that thumb on her wrist like she was his and he was making it known, and Peggy Paula had him over for pot roast and ice cream two nights later
and lowered herself onto him so slowly that he cried out in frustration, Peggy Paula still stunned at this man before her,
wondering how exactly it happened and then when he grabbed her hips to move her the way he wanted not wondering about anything at all.
It went on this way for months, the man coming for dinner and Peggy Paula bathing and perfuming herself all day and wanting to pound the walls into dust with the waiting for him,
telling him over and over how much she loved him, her mouth in his neck and her voice weak, like it had been diluted, the man grunting approval
and Peggy Paula breathing him in, the sour smell of video cleaner and his aftershave and underneath it all the smell of his wife’s rose water perfume, the same Peggy used,
and one day the man didn’t come, and he didn’t come the next day, and the next day his wife came and Peggy Paula remained calm, invited her in, and the woman also seemed calm,
going into the kitchen and Peggy Paula wondering if she felt comfortable enough to get herself something to sip, and the woman coming out with Peggy Paula’s bread knife held high in her fist
and making a horrible sound with her mouth, then Peggy Paula realized the woman was sobbing with her mouth wide open, and her heart broke for the woman even as she lunged,
Peggy Paula wanting to show the woman how a bread knife doesn’t have a point, is only good for sawing things, not stabbing really, but instead she moved out of the way and the woman tripped
the sobbing noise getting louder, and then the man rushed in and batted the knife out of his wife’s hands, picked her up and carried her out of there, his eyes cutting over to Peggy Paula,
like it was her with the knife, her with the animal noises that wouldn’t stop, and Peggy Paula so stunned that she couldn’t cry, couldn’t feel,
and maybe that’s why she let the man in two nights later, had to see his eyes, had to feel again, and she kept letting the man in,
his smell, the hair on his chest the delicate skin above his pelvis, the muscles in his thighs, his calloused hands, the shapes of his toes, the gold in his eyes, the missing molar
the mole on his back, the heart in his chest, the breaths in and out, he was alive, he was another, he was a man and Peggy Paula let him, she let him,
because if no one is there to touch you are you even really there?