One Week and a Day

Lauren Becker

He thinks things about me I do not want him to think.  He stops at my desk, his cologne invasive. He leaves himself behind.

He wants to take me with him. Anywhere I want to go. He asks if I want to go to Paris. He asks if I have eaten escargot.  I tell him I don’t care for escargot. I tell him snails taste like mushrooms, which I hate.

Steak tartare? Duck a l’orange? Pâté and champagne? He will buy me bottles of the best champagne.  I tell him I have work to do. He looks at me with x-ray eyes and tells me to think about it. He’ll talk to my boss and get approval for last-minute vacation time.

He has seen me with my boss and knows my boss has never taken me further than the hotel two blocks away. He has seen my Eiffel Tower paperweight and guessed, correctly, that I have never been to France. He has guessed, also correctly, that I would like for my boss to be asked to approve my vacation with another man.

I consider Paris. He would look better in Paris. I would tell him to wear less cologne. I would tell him I wanted separate rooms. I would drink his champagne. I would not let him in my room.

He would become angry. He would accuse me of accepting his offer with no intention of holding up my end. He would say I was a tease and a thief.

He would buy me a bottle of Chanel No. 5. He would buy me a scarf from Hermès. He would apologize and tell me he drank too much champagne. He would drink too much champagne again that evening and take away my scarf.

He would take me to the Loire Valley for wine tasting. He would take me to the finest restaurants and shows.  I would wear dresses and high heels. We would take cabs.

This would continue for two more nights. With two nights left, I would let him buy me expensive lingerie. I would tell him to shower. I would turn off the lights and drink champagne in gulps while he soaped away the cologne. He would wear even more the next night.

We would not visit the Eiffel Tower. I would see it from the window of our high-rise hotel. I touch the tip of my Eiffel Tower. I go to my boss and ask him to take me to the hotel two blocks away. We drink a bottle of grocery store wine. He smells like nothing.

Lauren Becker is editor of Corium Magazine.  Her work has appeared in Los Angeles Review, Wigleaf, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her collection of short fiction, If I Would Leave Myself Behind, will be released by Curbside Splendor Publishing in Spring of 2014.