Valentine #19

She stops me in midtown, and asks me what I’m doing for my aura.

“My what?”

“Your energy,” she says, “It’s so strong. I could feel it from ten yards away.”
“I don’t know.”

“Are you religious? Do you pray?”

“I’m Catholic, but I don’t practice.”

“I’m Miriam, and I’m from Brooklyn.”

People tell me things I shouldn’t know all the time. I know enough. I know she is short. Her accent is thick. Her eyes wander from one side of my chest to the other, as if my heart could be in more than one place.

Miriam assumes I must meditate. I tell her, “No. Never had much of a head for that.”

I start walking again, and she follows alongside me.

“You ever heard of good luck?” she asks.

We’re in Times Square, getting pushed around by a sea people.

“I can tell you’re very lucky,” Miriam says.

“I need to get home.”

She offers to read my palm at Starbucks across the street.

“It would be an honor,” Miriam says.

I stopped talking to the girl I loved a week ago, and nothing has done me any good since — too many nights alone at a strip club after work wondering if I should try church. But what is your religion, John?

Miriam touches my arm, as she offers me a glimpse of fate, as if destiny is a thing to be sucked or chewed on. It’s each other’s souls we want to inhale, not the stale morning breath.

“No, I’m sorry. I have to go.”

Miriam writes down her number on my hand with eyeliner — the same thick blue she’s wearing.

I spend two weeks texting her from a fake phone number.

“Are you there?” I ask her. “You promised me a reading.”

Then the phone rings.

I don’t answer.


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