Wear Mittens

She said to me: Those were the first words you said to me: “You have beautiful mittens.” Remember?

I didn’t remember: Of course. And you did. They were my favorite color. Like . . . like your eyes.

My eyes aren’t red.

Just a little. I kissed her eyes.

Red isn’t your favorite color.

It is now. Just ask me.

What’s your favorite color?

Red . . . see?

What does that prove? What kind of mittens were they?

Wool mittens that you could see the shape of your fingers through. And you stood next to me for no apparent reason (you were waiting for some people) except to show off your bright red mittens at the ends of your arms.

Are you sure?

Uh huh. You had on a dark blue coat that was just like a black void, and at the top was your hair, and your face, and out in the air were your mittens, waving around and your fingers stretching, and when I told you you had beautiful mittens you let me hold them with your hands in them, remember, and we said meaningless words that didn’t matter much about were your hands really cold and could you pick things up with mittens on, and then you let me take them off you, and you had wonderful hands, and I wanted to try your mittens on but they wouldn’t fit. And I didn’t want to stretch them, remember? Let me see your hands. Look how beautiful.

That’s not what you said last week.

That’s what I said just now.

How can you always just say things just now? It’s as if you could be, I don’t know, a Jew one minute, and a Christian the next minute.

Couldn’t I?

No. Think about it.

I can’t. See, I’m an idiot around you.

Why is that? Let go of my hands.

Well, because you’re, I mean because I have to be consistent, don’t I? Once an idiot, always an idiot.

You were going to say because I’m an idiot. Let GO of my hands.

Are you serious?

We met in the summer time.

Excuse me?

I met you in the summer time.

And I’m glad as hell you did. What kind of a summertime do you think I could have had without . . .

I don’t even own any mittens.

Of course you do. Or if you don’t I’ll buy you some, one for Christmas and the other for Hanukkah. Are you smiling or is your mouth just stretching? Can I hold your hands?

Do you even remember yesterday? Do you remember the story you just told me about my bright red woolen mittens?

Oh, I always remember beautiful stories.

No you don’t. You remember inventive stories that you invented to give your stupid brain a workout and tease people so you can laugh at them in the back of your head.

You don’t know what you’re talking about.

Where did we meet?

I’ve always known you. We’ve always known each other. I’ve forgotten all the times before I knew you because they’re worthless. I can tell you all about yesterday, or three weeks ago. You know I can. I just don’t remember things that are too painful.

You’re like a handbook for liars.

Don’t say that.

It’s a fact.

Are you going to cry? Because if you’re going to cry, I’ll think up 500 lies on the spot to stop you.

That’s your idea of kindness, right? That’s not other people’s . . .

I’m not other people.

Who said anything . . .? You don’t remember where we met.

I want to remember it more than anything imaginable.

Do you?

Yes.

Feel how cold my hands are.