Your Hoover Dam Heart or Having Cake (Fisher)

His nickname for you is “Itty-Bitty.” With those hips, shoulders, those breasts and that ass you wouldn’t be considered itty-bitty in very many circles. You are short – 5’2” – granted, but easily pass for 5’7” or 5’8”. You attribute that to your upright posture and habit of looking people dead in the eye, even if they tower above you. Also, those hips, shoulders, those breasts and that ass.

He is about 6’3” and built like a brick shit house, or a linebacker, or a mid-century American car. He has a stately bald golden globe of a head, the sun over the summit atop the foothills of his shoulders and a chest, gently curved and broad as Hoover Dam. His girth, the type most often associated with storybook kings and important historical heads of state, requires the close consideration of unfamiliar chairs.

The trend towards slightness has never appealed to you. Those slim hipped boys in skinny jeans, assembling like a mob of slouchy Meer cats: cultivating complicated hairstyles and ironic tattoos. You like to borrow his shirts for sleeping in, and you prefer when they hit you mid-thigh, like a lovely Marie Antoinette nightshirt, instead of rolling up over your stomach, and chaffing your arm meat, like something borrowed from your little brother who hasn’t yet hit puberty.

You’re nursing a bottle of wine on an early summer afternoon. He is a pasha in his Adirondack chair, smoking Turkish cigarettes, while you’re tucked up under the umbrella trying to avoid sunburns on your ankles and winter-tender thighs. You’ve been friends for a while. You’re temperamentally and intellectually well matched, clearly delighting in the cleverness, silliness, acerbic wickedness of the other. You cluck and smirk and he teases and you laugh together.

85 degrees in the shade and three glasses in, he confesses deeper feelings. “Truth is Bitty, I broke up with Evie a couple of weeks ago. I was never really that attracted to her…and when she smiled…all I could think of was your smile. And when I kissed her, I was wishing I were kissing you instead. It wasn’t fair to her.”

A few days later, lying beside him, you feel cocooned: sheltered, safe, warm. His supple, substantial arm tucked behind your head, you’re folded close to his body, protected from the noise and chaos of the world. Sounds are muffled, time passes more slowly; there is a deliberateness and quietness in the way that he moves. He is peaceful; you are peaceful, and content.  

You watch his immense chest rise slowly, taking in all the air of the room, like a hot air balloon inflating and rising and then settling gently, only to rise again. A rhythm of flight, rest, flight – his body concurrently massive and weightless.

And then…a sonic boom of a snore. It erupts from the back of his throat and reverberates through his chest in a roar, it rolls off walls of the room, hits the ceiling and lands with a crash, straight down onto your forehead. You feel the wind knocked out of you.

Snore! And again. And again!

He is a rodeo bull; his uvula rattles against his tonsils like the rat-ta-tat-tat of a Gatling gun, snore, snort, SNORE, SNORT! It is so loud, so violent you can feel it resonating through your whole being. You lie there for a half an hour but realize there is no way you can sleep through it. You take your pillow and move to the couch.

The sound is slightly muffled, but still loud enough, still unpredictable enough, that it wakes you every time you drift into dreamland. You just want to sleep. Instead, you are hot, irritable, tired. You don’t sleep a wink.

The next morning, you drive home, a zombie in your stale day-old clothes. He texts: “I had a great time, not sure I said that enough, laying there next to you looking at you in the moonlight was amazing. Thank you."