We found it down there towards the bottom of my medicine cabinet. Henry’s eyes are tinted a bright pink and he sneezes every other second; it’s the first week of spring, and Henry is one of those adults whose allergies explode at a whiff of pollen.
I hand him the tiny bottle. He holds a roll of toilet paper because I don’t buy actual tissues. When he can finally see enough to read the allergy medicine’s script, he sighs like he’d found a bathroom after years of pee purgatory and can finally let it all out.
“God I love you,” he says.
This is news. This is a first.
“Mmmm,” I say back.
After twenty minutes he stops sneezing and starts looking for his pants, which are hiding somewhere by the floor of my bed. We’ve fucked for six months but don’t keep clothes at each other’s apartments, always leaving on weekends wearing yesterday’s outfit—long-term and steady in our walks of shame. After thirty minutes the Drowsiness May Occur warning on the bottle Occurs in a big way. Henry stops rummaging for socks and lays down on my bed.
“Gonna lay down for just a real quick second here babe.”
“Super fast nap. Then I’ll be out.”
“Don’t dream about operating heavy machinery. Bottle’s orders.”
But he is already out. I watch him snore as I dress, and I worry. He’s had six months to love me for my good penmanship. For cooking him pho. For sucking his balls and for always buying his coffees because he never remembers to carry cash. But instead he says I love you now, for the first time, because I handed him antihistamines. A Target-brand bottle with a childproof cap. I’m barely there at all.
Front page image by bark.