Friday, October 12, 2012


When she touched me the way she touched me.
I liked it. I told her that I liked it. She told me she knew I would.
I said I’d like-like more, please.
“Like-Like?” her smile repeated, “What’s that?”
So, I untangle myself from herself and I told her
what I am about to tell you.

As it was explained to me by my twelve year old son
there are two kinds of like. There is like and there is like-like.
Like is, “I like you.” Like-like is, “Yeah, I LIKE you.”
He is explaining the phenomenon of “like” to me
because he like-likes a girl at school. He tells me how
pretty she is, how they sat together at lunch
and had a conversation. She is so smart and,
“Mom” he says, “she is so nice. I like-like her.”

My heart swells, crashes partly because he is more like me
than I imagined, and mostly because he is more like me
than he knows. I, like him, am a sucker for a beautiful,
smart girl who eats food and can have a conversation.
I also sweep up the shattered shards of my heart
every time a girl breaks it. My son will have his heart
broken a lot. He is just like his mother.

I want to warn him. Explain what the hopeless
in hopeless romantic really means, but I don’t really
believe that shit. I will not believe that romance,
in love or like-like is hopeless. I love the way his face
breaks open when he talks about sharing ideas
with this girl he like-likes. The way he wants to give her art.
I don’t care that he uses all of my paint. He wants to gives her art.
He is just like his mother. The day he stars penning poems
I will arrange the intervention. He gives her art, and he +art
is his heart and she will break it.

When it happens we will snuggle on the couch,
eat comfort food as we commiserate. I will have ice cream
he will eat those Cheetoes that bear no resemblance
to any color on the wheel. We will hold each other up.
The way he held me up when heartbreak just looked like
mom is sad. He brought me cookies back then, a small bite
taken out of each. Making sure they were good and
would not hurt me.

The day he comes home and tells me the girl refused his gift.
He calls his hard work, his consideration, and his art junk.
He tells me he is stupid and that he thought they were friends.
He wishes he could have known some how that she didn’t
like-like him the way he like-liked her. I ask if I can have his heart.
His art. I tell him I like-like him just fine. I wonder if this will jade him.
Before I can get to lost in that thought he tells me about the girl
who sits next to him in science. “She’s pretty mom and she doesn’t
make girly noises when we do something gross in class.
I like her, not like-like, just like.” he says.
I think, “Son you will like-like her soon, because you are so full of hope.
You are just like your mother.”

After the story my girl, she whispers in my ear
tells me she likes-likes me a giggle on her tongue.
I know she will break my heart, but I have hope.
I am just like my son.

So, when she touches me the way she touches me.
I like it. I tell her I like it. She tells me she knew I would.
I say I’d like-like more, please.

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