Don't Waste Your Love On Me

by Kyle Hemmings

I promised myself I could make a hard-headed woman trip over her own defenses. Whoever said not to trust a dyed red-head with a fall-out childhood? And would self-hatred spread from her like something radioactive and unnoticed. Well, Baby Doll says to me as we're waiting in line at Taco Bell for two guacamole salads and two extra large cups of diet Sprite, would I like ranch, Thousand Island, French, Ceasar's, or sour cream? Sometimes she gets misty-eyed when she speaks to me like I'm her bastard child whose father ripped her off of one too many Sunday mornings. Even though, my bank account is dry, I tell her I can read. Flustered, she drives us back to her apartment, chintzy, but a lived-in flavor, like a pair of chinos you wore for days. She asks me if I want a glass of ice tea, then doesn't speak for minutes, just opening and slamming doors to the cabinets above the kitchen sink. What's wrong, I say. Is it because you're always treating me? I promise to pay you back and more once I get work. She screws up her face at me like she's the last survivor of some Alamo and is about to tell me