Mia Looked at Kevin

by Russ

Mia looked at Kevin and wondered if they’d said everything to each other already. Kevin forked a prawn into his mouth, oblivious. This was Mia’s least favourite part of the cycle because it meant that she’d have to make a decision. She actually much preferred it when the other person got here first and made the choice for her. It stung, sure, but it was a lot easier.

Kevin felt the gurgle in his guts which told him he was going to need to skip out again for a few minutes. He stabbed at every remaining piece of shellfish he could find to make sure he got them all down while they were still warm. He hoped this wouldn’t be the time that finally caused Mia to lose patience with him. He gulped at the wine, made an apologetic face, and left.

Mia had loved the earlier parts of a relationship since the days of flirting on the school bus. There was a thrill in the game, and the tension, and experiencing new physical connections - which surprisingly she found never went away, no matter how experienced she became - but it was being embroiled in two people saying new things to each other that she really loved.

Kevin sighed as the rainy sound of gut sludge dripped into the bowl beneath him. This was a cruel curse for someone who enjoyed eating as much as he did, and it didn’t do him any favours in the romance department either. Who wants to be with someone who can barely make it through a starter without having to open the bomb bay doors? His belly rumbled.

Mia wanted that sharing of information stage to last forever, she wanted to always be challenged and stimulated by points of view she hadn’t heard, to be warmed by fresh stories. The problem was that people’s experiences and opinions are a finite resource. Eventually, they’re going to have used up all the ones they already have and need to make more, and from here they’d have to do that together.

Kevin smiled conciliatorily at Mia as he sat back down, then looked over the noodles in his bowl as he contemplated what they were going to do to him. He could probably make it until the dish was clean if he swallowed briskly and didn’t use too much time speaking. He tried to think of a question to ask Mia which didn’t involve addressing the discontented look on her face.

Mia never got the same satisfaction from shared stories. If she’d been a participant, the other person’s view would either be hers or it would be wrong. What was the point? She tried not to look piteously toward Kevin as she made her decision to start a new rotation.

Kevin covered up his muteness by shovelling stringy lumps of food into the space where his words should have been. He could already feel himself tightening. He squirmed a little.

Mia opened her mouth to speak. Kevin spotted her tone by the way her shoulders moved.

Kevin preempted the incoming threat.

‘I’m sorry, I know it’s…’

Mia put her hand up, shook her head, and interrupted.

‘...not you. It’s me.’