“Robbing the Cradle” by Alana Noël Voth

Tonight you brought up masturbation in reference to a Chuck Palahniuk book but then failed to describe what you did last night, or this morning, whenever it was. I slammed a beer. Full flavor. Nothing mild about your cigarettes either. You said no one minded if we lit up, but then we held our cigarettes under the table. Soon enough smoke appeared as if from your lap, and my eyes watered after two drags. This was your idea: the bar and a table up front. How many boys smiled at me — one of them winked — pressing their way through the room? Your face reminded of a Shaun Cassidy pin-up I once hung in my locker at school. Look at the smile. I could have drunk six beers instead of two. You kept asking. Want another? How cute. After midnight, we spilled into the parking lot. I skipped over rain puddles. Breath rounded the slope of your head. As we walked, you pressed your arm against mine, all warmth in a sheepskin coat, but I didn’t look at you until you grabbed me by both shoulders and pressed your mouth to a vein in my neck. A friend told me a story once, how her son woke and climbed from his bed guided by the sounds his mother made; he entered her bedroom the moment her lover entered her. The woman didn’t offer the boy any explanation. She covered herself with a sheet and then took him by the hand and walked him back to his room — directed him into bed, gave him a glass of cold water, stepped away, said Goodnight.

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