“Eating Chocolate in Pittsburgh, 3AM” by Jane Lai

Mouthing half-melted wafer chocolates in Pittsburgh at 3am, you, me, and your almost-blind golden retriever who plants me a temple kiss, sit cross-legged outside the cheese shop. Kit-kats crunch like candied gherkin pickles as wrappers slip under dog’s left paw. I rub my finger under my eye whispering to you I’m twenty-years-old and I’m newly in love, and no one told me I’d ever be this happy and that’s why you carried my body off cement outside the noisy apartment.

We soak into a cold September darkness where half street lights blink like they have pollen digested in their eyes and dog sleeps by candy crunches and speeding soccer vans skid on newly paved roads. One bright moon holds its gaze into your eyes reminding you of your miscarriage at nineteen. So you, the thoughtful artist, drew your friends’ naked bodies and outlined a different-looking baby in each stomach. This is what she’d look like, but maybe also like this, you’d show me. All the babies resembled infant pigs.

I wanted to tell you that I wanted to be your child. Four hours ago, we were strangers. You microwaved udon noodles out of paper cups and left marshmallow chocolates by the bedside on top of my used tissues, but it was 2am and you let me in. You and your love tucked me safely in the arms of the master bed. Hours before at the scene, you embraced my blank, limp body and together with my friends, carried the shaking infant to your minivan. For what felt like an hour before, I was scared and stiff, rocking to silence on beats over directionless grounds outside the complex, away from roaring music and college kids clouding halls from the single joint passed around and around and around. I ran out for my life with my head imagining some track star chasing after me.

Jane Lai is a recent graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in English Literature. Her essays and newswriting have been published in Entropy and TEDx. She was editor-in-chief for the 2019 literary magazine The Monmouth Review. A recipient of the 2018 Chautauqua Writers’ Festival scholarship and accepted to the 2019 fiction workshop at The Kenyon Review, she is currently working on a collection of music essays based within a vein of the past three years.

Photo by Dimitar Belchev.

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