A Loss of Appetite

A Loss of Appetite

She—whoever she is—is beautiful. Wait, no, she is more than that; she is ethereal. Her tawny brown skin illuminates against the darkness of the night and soaks up the orange glow that the string lights surrounding the covered patio emits. She has lips fuller than mine, a smile brighter than mine could ever be, and golden hair that coils in a way mine never will. Every part of her is superior down to the way she is making him laugh. Such hearty, boastful laughter coming from a man whose build is too stocky, his face too earnest for that kind of emotion. I’ve tried before, but I never could have that sort of effect on anyone, especially on a man like him. His laughter grows still as he reaches a hand across the table to covers hers, but the ethereal woman immediately pulls away.

For just a second, my heart leaps at the idea of her rejecting his affections, but then she takes those dainty, likely manicured fingers and swipes away the tears that have fallen from his eyes after the seemingly hilarious joke she just shared. Is anything ever that funny? Something soft and quiet settles between them, and they gaze at each other as if nothing or no one else matters, as if me standing across the street watching them doesn’t matter. Their fingers begin to intertwine leisurely, and, eventually, their palms meet. I know that the callouses which scatter his palms are a lovely juxtaposition to her own. I know this because those same hands—the ones he uses to lay carpet every day—would caress my skin morning and night, generating a certain type of pleasure that I haven’t felt since then.

My mind is begging for me to move even the slightest inch of my body, but my legs are rooted in this spot, keeping me hostage as I witness my ex loving someone else in a way I never thought he could.

“Hey! There you are. Took me forever to find a spot.” Marcus, a sweet, good-looking man and my boyfriend for the past year and a half, now stands beside me.

However, I can’t tear my eyes away from the two of them who are now engaging in a passionate kiss. Their hungry lips press together as if they are restraining themselves from literally devouring one another, and even from this distance, I can clearly see the wetness forming in his mouth as his tongue slips into hers. I never liked public displays of affection; it made me feel too seen, something I often avoid being.

“Hey…did you hear me? Are you okay? If you’re worried about it being too busy then we can eat somewhere else—”

I stop his rambling by mashing my lips against his. Marcus is —understandably —startled by my impulsiveness, but the tension in his shoulders quickly dissipates and he doesn’t hesitate to wrap his arms around my waist, drawing me in closer.

In this moment, I’m reminded of the stark differences between the past and present. This kiss tastes and feels nothing like it once did with him. Marcus’ lips are always too soft, too moisturized, his face too clean cut and perfect. There is no facial hair to tickle the tender skin below my ear. No chapped lips for texture. No teakwood fragrance burning my nose. No shivers rushing down my spine. No unraveling of the heart. It’s just not the same, and it never will be. I detach myself from Marcus’ lips and glance back across the street.

They’re gone.

Scanning my panicked eyes around the area, I finally spot them—two shadows taking complementing footsteps underneath the moonlight. They’re walking along the street and away from the restaurant, away from me. Her fingers cling at his bicep and he stares down at her like she’d vanish if he dared to blink. Every single muscle in my body—including my heart—turns to stone.

“Wow. Baby, I’m not sure what’s gotten into you, but that was great,” Marcus exclaims.

“Marcus, do you think that I’m ethereal?”

His head tilts slightly in amusement. “I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but if you’re asking me if I think you’re beautiful, sexy, and absolutely amazing, then, yes. Yes, you are.”

Marcus’ smile beams as if he’s just aced some relationship pop quiz and he looks at me with expecting eyes. I flash him a halfhearted smile before removing myself from his grasp and walking towards the parking lot.

Suddenly, I’ve lost my appetite.


About the Author

Angelica Williams is a twenty-four-year-old aspiring author and current freelance writer born and raised in Beaumont, Texas. In May of 2021, Angelica graduated from the Stephen F. Austin State University with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing. At a very young age, Angelica discovered her love for reading books of various genres, and soon, that love for reading blossomed into a deep passion for writing short stories, poetry, and more. Angelica’s short stories includes titles such as "The Art of Crying in Silence", which was published in The Blue Route back in May of 2021. Angelica strives to continue to emerge as a writer and hopes to obtain further publications in the near future.