The Jukebox

It was a miserable description of sexy. He usually does much better.

"That's strange," she says, "because when you mentioned the giant shark, the motorcycle being driven by the skeleton, and Q-Bert, "sexy" just didn't come to mind."

A song comes to an abrupt end, and she claps her hands softly.

He smiles. She's right.
What is there that is sexy about Q-Bert?

"I forgot to mention the red lights," he adds.

She smiles. He's relieved.
His lapse was not fatal, his fall not complete.

"And what about this place?" she asks.

He doesn't immediately respond. Not with words, at least.

He's becoming aware of himself — the clothes he is wearing and how they must look, the way he is standing with his right foot in front of the left, his poor posture as he leans against the bar. Awkwardly. Should he cross his arms, or leave them at his sides? Perhaps he should put his hands away somewhere.

His eyes are moving on to other things. His mind is searching for the answers to other questions: The shape of her mouth, the scent of her skin, the blue of her...

In the small room behind them, the Amber Jets are now braced against the exposed-brick wall, racing through their set. The bar's old owner keeps up with their starts and stops, switching lights from red to blue to yellow, trying his best to complement the music. It becomes difficult to see, difficult to hear. She leans in.

"I mean, do you find anything sexy about this place?" the question is repeated.

His eyes move gingerly now, like a drunk searching for sobriety, and, indeed, he has had too much to drink. His eyes tread through the old man's lights, to the pink and purple balloons that are taped to the ceiling, to the disco ball with its missing squares of glass, to the cracked black and red tiles that shape the floor, and, finally, back to her.

Where does she want him to go? What does she want him to say? It is not a difficult question. Is it as obvious as this?

"Other than me," she relieves him.

Together, now, they smile.

The jukebox. The jukebox, which they have been standing in front of all this time, is decorated with a 1970s rainbow, and glows like a treasure chest. It must paint them in red and orange and yellow, in green and blue and indigo. It must paint them in violet. Together, now, they admire the jukebox.

"The jukebox is sexy," she says.
"The jukebox is sexy," he agrees.

He thinks he likes her. Have they just shared something special, or is it nothing at all?

A song comes to an abrupt end. She claps her hands softly.

Stephen Mejias's picture

This was a fantastic piece of writing. You must have worked so hard on it.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Thank you so much. Yes, I put a lot of effort into it, trying to get that tension just right.