We came from cells, she said.

I didn't think too deep about it. She would always try to say shit like that. Like she wanted to connect with me on a deeper level. I guess it was me. At the time I couldn't think of anything except what was right in front of me. What I was doing, the day-to-day. But women would bring up things they thought was mind blowing: how we grow, how we can know one another, connect, think outside our skull. Shit like that. I didn't pay attention half the time. Half the time I was thinking about the office case I was in charge of or what I was going to make for dinner. Where I left my wallet.

Cells? Is what I said.

Yeah, inside your mom your cells spit. You developed into a baby. And look at you now, Jim. Grown to the age she probably was when she had you. How old are you?

Thirty-two, I said. And my mom had me when she was nineteen.

Women always think I'm younger than I really am. I guess it's nice. But the truth of the matter is that I don't feel like I'm 32, or don't act it. So I usually don't say how old I am. Or most times I lie because I can, lying comes easy for me. But this time I told the truth because why-the-hell not.

Oh, was all she said at first. And there was a pause in the conversation. I was kind of hoping it would be over, that we could just be quiet for a while, then she went on.

Well, next year, I'm going to be twenty-four. Same age as my mom was when she had Beth.

Beth was her older sister. I wanted to meet her just then. Wondered what she looked like. Was she more mature? Would we have more in common?

Huh, was the noise I made, hoping that the conversation was going to cease or become something beyond age. Like she might stop talking. And might start taking her clothing off.

I'm ready too, she said instead. To settle down, to start a family. I mean, I'm looking for that someone...special.

And she actually giggled. I felt turned off. Annoyed almost. I wasn't interested in her anymore. And wanted to be alone. I got depressed about where I was and who I wasn't with. I stood up without saying anything and went into the kitchen and turned on the stove top.

I mean, aren't you? I could hear her call from the other room.

Aren't I what? I yelled back, pretending I didn't understand what we were talking abut. Trying again to get her to stop talking altogether.

Never mind. She trailed off as water came out the faucet.

And I thought she would stop, so I went back to her on the couch after I set the kettle on the burner.

Instead she smiled sadly and I became interested in her again. But she wouldn't look at me, and I knew that if I was going to get her clothes off I was going to have to make her feel better about this. So it was a dilemma for me. I reached for the tip of her chin and said what came to mind, You deserve someone special.

a short breath came out her nose like she knew what I was saying was true but that she knew, too, that that person was not me. She got it, and that turned her sad smile into a knowing smile. She leaned in and accepted my touch and she kissed me. Appreciating my honesty, or my whatever. Hoping maybe I could change. As if a future realization would be that she didn't deserve someone better than me, but that she might as well just settle with this older man because he listened to her sort of. He got her enough.

I pulled away from her when I heard the kettle whine.