The Morning After Halloween by Laci Mosier

The Morning After Halloween

 A man slept over last night. He needed something to wear home this morning, but all he had was a T-Rex suit. We both agreed that a dinosaur walking home in broad daylight wouldn’t do. 

I dug around in the closet and tossed him your old t-shirt. “You can wear this,” I said. He had worn athletic shorts underneath his dino suit the night before, so he, at least, had the bottom half of his morning-after outfit taken care of.

As he got dressed and pulled on his shoes, I asked if he wanted to get coffee, probably too familiar an activity, considering our only other conversation happened twelve hours earlier over highballs of whiskey and dressed in costume. Me, a Pegasus. Him, as previously established, a T-Rex. 

Now, in the bright light of morning, our powers, if we ever had any, have long fizzled out. Premature wrinkles glare from under our eyes. Our mutually oil-licked skin proves itself Exhibit A of the previous night’s ill-conceived choices. And any amount of once-possessed bravado is quickly wilting in the sweat of a shared and ferocious hangover. We needed the coffee, you see.

So, here I sit, staring at him, in your shirt, in our coffee shop, while we soberly re-introduce ourselves as the subpar humans we really are. We grabbed a spot outside, our old spot, and I find myself pointing out the mulberry tree, and the bluebirds, and telling him how disappointed I felt the first time I learned they are in fact quite mean-spirited birds.

He smiles, and I realize I’m telling him all the silly, quaint things I used to tell you. The things you already knew. And what’s weirder is how I expect him to have the same reactions you would have. To throw his head back and laugh in the same way. To think I’m quirky and weird and darling, in all the same ways you did.

When he doesn’t do any of these things, it feels like I’m having a conversation with a tourist. It’s so tiring. This. Why doesn’t he already know all this stuff? I’m suddenly mad at him for wearing your shirt. It seemed fine earlier, maybe even a small act of defiance — I know how much you loved that shirt. But seeing it on another man right now, under these circumstances, is like taking a gulp of wine from a crystal glass and tasting the soap from the last time you used it.

When I can see the bottom of my americano, I realize I’m used to rushing. In contrast, this humorless ex-T-Rex is proving to be more of a tortoise. He’s quiet and sips his cortado slowly. And if we’re being honest, it’s really starting to irk me. I have a life to get on with. Doesn’t he? He’s not in a rush. Why? You and me, we were always go-go-go.

And that’s just what you did, isn’t it? Go, go, go right into another woman’s bed. 

He continues to sip way more sips than I think that tiny cup could ever hold. I cross my legs one way, then the other, bounce my foot at the ankle while he sips and sips and sips. I could scream. Instead, I close my eyes and let the sun warm my eyelids, and I feel like I’m back home in my parents’ yard, beach towel laid out in the grass, a lawnmower humming somewhere in the neighborhood. It’s warm, this feeling, and familiar, and I take a deep breath in through my nose as if the air itself is medicine. I almost forget I’m not there alone. 

“It’s blue jays,” he eventually says. 

“What?” 

“Bluebirds are the nice ones,” he says. “Blue jays are the assholes.” 

I open one eye and squint it to look over at him. He’s smiling stupidly. “Alright, Dino-Man, what else do you know?” I say, dubiously. 

“Well, a group of ladybugs is called a ‘loveliness’.” He waits a minute, taking his time. “Butterflies can see in color.” He takes a sip, then, slowly, one more. “And otters hold hands when they sleep.” His mouth curls slightly as he says this last one.

“Keep going,” I say, and I close my eyes and turn back to face the sun.

Laci Mosier is a poet and fiction writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Her writing has appeared in The Maine ReviewTupelo Quarterly, American Journal of PoetryHobart, and others. She is currently working on a visual poetry collection entitled Learning to Fly, which subverts articles and advertisements found in vintage magazines. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Next: Lake Enid Idyll by Sean Ennis

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Art: Hastings County Archive Public Domain

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