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  • Lena Drake

The Englishman

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

LA in the summer. Birthday party in mid-city. You wore a cardigan; wide mouth and cartoon smile. Accent gave you away, home somewhere grey: the uptight parts of Europe. I sat on your lap in the cab because there was "no room.” We kissed in a dark corner of the club, hoping the guy I was dating wouldn't see us. Your dancing was better than your kissing. The lights doused you in blue; you look perpetually blue. Near-morning noodles. You leaned across the table, asked me intimate questions about my life. I asked for your sign. “Leo,” you said.

“Me too,” said the guy I’m dating.

Two weeks later: Greece. Flew fast and far for an Acropolis view, we say. You dug, not me, the dirt. Looked for things, you were always looking. I wandered, also looking. Brushed each other’s teeth in every Airbnb in Athens. An old man told us Naxos is paradise on earth. We believed him because it felt good to believe. Sardeles on the sea; the night that turned to day; you mispronounced my name.





Paris in the fall. Like dogs, we pissed on the best cities in Europe. You flirted, not with me. I drank, not with you. We biked home, you on the pedals and me on the seat. I laughed, laughed, laughed, legs splayed, cheeks drying. We fought. Probably for hours. I maybe admitted I was, I am, in l*** with you.

The countryside. Same trip, different day. You thought I missed my train; a lovely worrier. I agreed to museum outings because I liked hearing you talk. Drunk in an old family home, we walked--or careened--outside. Sat in wet grass and climbed something tall so that we could feel closer to the moon. We danced in the dark, you are so clear to me.

Midnight beside the Seine, empty wine bottles. You told me you were scared of becoming a professor because you'd sleep with all your students. Said this was goodbye. Outside the metro, T-3 minutes until train arrival, I asked if you’re sure.

Photo By: Kelly Balch

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