HBO “subversive.” Raised on text messaging, Gordie thought her brave
for being able to communicate face-to-face, for making phone calls
without hesitation. He found it charming that she so rarely texted; once,
when he was out front and she opened her window to call down to him,
his eyes widened with delight, as if she had performed a clever trick.
She wished he were here now. But then recalled his blushing cheeks,
his bruised voice.
What had happened the other night was that after eating half an apple pie together up at her place, when they were about to say goodnight,
Talia had told Gordie about the interview in Providence. And though his
expression had remained unchanged, he sounded sore when he asked
why she had waited to tell him.
“I guess I thought I’d jinx it.”
The truth was that Dani had set her up with someone in Providence.
An architect named Douglas, whom Talia had met for coffee after the
interview. A divorcé, Douglas was Talia’s age, with crinkles at the edges
of his eyes and a tendency to laugh at his own jokes. His mother was
Moroccan, his father from Kenya, and he had lived all over the world.
He also ran his own architecture firm and had put his son through
college; he was a grown-up. Tall enough, handsome enough, if a bit
flabby in the middle. And though Talia hadn’t felt a spark, she had liked
his laugh and in his warm brown eyes had seen, for the first time in a
long while, a chance at something so many other people seemed to have
In her kitchen with Gordie, though, the meeting suddenly seemed
illicit. She found she could not mention Douglas—and certainly not that
he had asked her to dinner for the coming weekend, here in town, or that
she had agreed.
“I’m sure you’ll get the job,” Gordie had said quietly and then lingered awkwardly, not saying goodbye. Talia, nervous, had been about
to give herself their little mutual hug when Gordie did something unfathomable. Taking a step so that their bodies were almost touching, he
placed his palm on Talia’s waist. With his other hand, he touched her
cheek. Since Talia was nearly his same height, it didn’t take much more
for him to lean in and kiss her.
She had kissed him back, for who knew how long, their bodies pressed
together, Gordie’s hand sliding to her thigh, then near her buttocks, until the reality of what they were doing struck her—so preposterous, she
extracted herself, blurting something about the pie.