You needed five minutes with your phone so you waited in the car while I ran in for a few things.
I had been waiting for things to get rolling, to be carried away, but you played into every move I made. I had you in check.
He was standing in line to pay. He watched me from my first step in the door—stared, really—so I smiled and said hello. He smiled and watched me walk around him and into the store. When I was past I looked back to see if he was looking anymore, and he was turning away. I went after the olives, peppers, and cornichons I needed for a tapenade.
You found me poring over the oils, and when you touched my lower back I flushed. You asked if I had all I needed and I said almost and grabbed the bottle closest to me. You took my hand. When we arrived at the register you paid. These were the slight gestures you made.
We were talking when we walked away; you were positioned between me and the curb, where he sat on his bike, watching the door. He beamed expectation then—quickly—capitulation. We crossed the street, you and I and, it seemed, his eyes.
He passed us by, gave one more smile—joy, gratification—and that is the one that has followed me all the while.
Part of the Covers series