Travis found them sitting at the table
They made no noise; silently picking at
Their forks moving back and forth slowly
like surgeons stitching up a hand
or a leg
or a heart.
He sat down and began to operate on his meatloaf
pretending the silence was comfortable
like a gentle breeze on the nape of his neck
instead of the Indian burn her presence was giving his arm
that was touching hers
just enough to make him pull away
a little too quickly.
“How was your day, Travis?” she said
her head dropping like a yo-yo
nearly falling into a plate of beef and vegetables.
He shrugged, “Pretty standard”
a forkful of meat slid down his throat
“How about you, Mark, Sheri?”
The forest of her emerald eyes was barren—
naked trees longing for the warmth of foliage garments
with icicles that dangle like little fingers
grabbing at something they can’t reach.
“Same old, you know,” she said.
Their eyes caught for a moment and did pirouettes,
two ballerinas running through a rich meadow.
“I had quite a run in with Mr. Baker after Mass,”
Mark began. A grin spread across his face
as if a hanger had stretched his plump cheeks
like saltwater taffy.
“Twenty-five minutes, he had me there,”
She looked into her vegetables and thought she saw Travis
in her baby corn and peas.
“Talking about propane.”
She closed her eyes and Travis’s hands were running
down the small of her back
a string of pearls caressing every nook of her warm body
“Can you believe that?”
She took his hand and brought it to her face
as if her lips were the claws of a Venus fly-trap
refusing to let him go.
“I mean, Propane is interesting for only like ten minutes,”
his voice trailed off
He realized that they cared as much about his story
as they did about the Cold War
open heart surgery.
She cleared her throat,
“Would you all like some pie?”
She looked out the window at the snow
hoping that the sun would somehow melt it,
but all too aware that winter
is the longest time of the year.