Black Cow #1
Not a chance, he thinks to himself. Not. A. Chance. There are certain harsh truths you must accept when the roll of the genetic dice hands you a set of features like his. Jug ears, and uneven teeth. Carmine hair that inspires friends and strangers alike to feign panic and yell Fire! when they see him. He’s got no chance when it comes to a dish like her. Still, he can’t help himself. His wishful gaze pours over her like Hershey’s syrup, as she sits at the counter sipping the Black Cow he’s made for her.
She can sense his stare. Not a chance, she thinks to herself. Not. A. Chance. She isn’t shallow. Certainly not. But the poor guy is no Frank Sinatra, and though she pretended not to notice the way his voice pitched and plummeted like a roller coaster when he asked for her order, she felt so embarrassed for him she wanted to melt into the floor. Still, just for a second-before he’d moved away to mix chocolate ice cream and root beer, before even more awkwardness fizzed up between them, they’d held each other’s gaze, and she saw that his eyes were cocoa brown.
Black Cow # 34
Lately, she has found herself craving a Black Cow almost every day, and surprisingly, she has hoped he might be the one to make it for her. Over the past few weeks, one scoop of chocolate ice cream at a time, he seems to have overcome his consternation when near her, chatting comfortably away in a rich, even tenor. She is discovering that his character is agreeable-and he is funny, too, making her laugh as much with his wit as his own infectious laugh, until her sides ache. She notices his freckles. Cocoa brown like his eyes.
Black Cow # 99
To celebrate her hundredth Black Cow, he slides a frost etched parfait glass in front of her, squeezes her hand and says, This one’s on me. He shyly slides a small box in front of her too. His eyes hold hers for a second before he moves off to take another order, leaving her to unwrap her gift. A small heart shaped bottle of dime store perfume. Carefully removing the lid, she inhales deeply, the raucous scent striking her nose.
She tips the bottle sideways, using her pinkie as a stopper, and then daintily dabs a fingertip’s worth of the redolent amber liquid behind each ear. It’s more than a little pungent at first, but over time, when she has worn it long enough, it will seem less startling, less shocking-blending with the fragrance of her own skin. Maybe even get under it.
Like he did.
Scent and Elixir and Frank Sinatra’s My Funny Valentine