Candles

There was this drop dead gorgeous paralegal who’d worked in the office. This was years ago. We were on opposite sides of the building. Only ran into her occasionally. She was a knock out, though, her father German, her mother Vietnamese, and the results were striking, the best of both. She was friendly enough but business-like, almost icy, and I never talked to her much. One time, though, we were talking and she was rubbing her fingers over little spots on her arm and neck. Little red spots, lots of them, like tiny little burn marks. She said they stung. I asked if they were insect bites, imagining a cloud of black flies or mosquitoes. She laughed. Said they were burns. Burns? They really are burn marks? Yeah, she grinned, from candle wax. Candle wax? Yeah, she said. Her date last night had dripped hot scented candle wax all over her body. I must have blinked. Blinked again. It was fun, she said. I said I’m sure it was. She smiled. I had no idea what to say next. Then her phone rang. Gotta run, she said. As I walked off a lady a couple desks down asked me what the paralegal had said the marks were. Apparently everyone was wondering, but no one had the nerve to ask. Bites, I said. Black flies. Black flies?  Really? Yeah, I lied, she’d been camping. That’s too bad, the lady said, I could have sworn they were from hot dripping candle wax.  Black fly bites look like candle wax burns, I said. It’s easy to get them confused. I bet, she said, I bet it’s real easy.

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