A week later we took our first trip into Seattle together. It was her idea. We rode in my car since she said she didn't have one. She looked nervous sitting in the front seat with her hands folded in her lap. When I asked her if she wanted me to put the radio on she said no. We ate Russian pastries from paper bags and watched the ferries cross the sound, shivering and standing as close as we could get to each other. Our fingers were so greasy when we were done we had to rinse them off in a water fountain. She laughed when I splashed water in her face. I could have written another ten thousand words just from hearing her laugh. We bought five pounds of prawns from the market and headed back to my house. I don’t know why the hell I asked for five pounds, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.
“You have one of these,” I said, as we were cleaning the prawns together at my kitchen sink. I ran my finger laterally along its body, pointing out the dark line that needed to be cleaned out. She frowned, looking down at the prawn she was holding.
“It’s called a mud vein.”
“A mud vein,” she repeated. “Doesn't sound like a compliment.”
“Maybe not to some people.”
She de-headed her shrimp with a flick of her knife and tossed it in the bowl.
“It’s your darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein. But sometimes having a mud vein will kill you.”
She set down the knife and washed her hands, drying them on the back of her jeans.
“I have to go.”
“Sure,” I said. I didn't move until I heard the screen door slam. I wasn't upset that my words had run her off. She didn't like to be found out. But she’d be back.