Love … LOVE

by | Jun 11, 2024 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Nine

Hearing loud voices, I rushed out of the house.

“Love … LOVE,” our employee Gayle screamed as she dashed to her truck. “You don’t know what love is,” she called out, opening the truck’s door, turning on the ignition, and slamming her foot on the gas pedal.

As she peeled away, I was left wondering what her outburst was all about.

Then I saw José, standing in the entry to our stable, his arms waving frantically over his head, looking as agitated as though he had just been speaking with his mother.

I ran, thinking something terrible might have happened to one of our animals.

“What’s going on?” I asked. “I heard Gayle yelling, then speed away. She almost hit the fence.”

“All I said was that I wanted her to stay,” José said with his hands.

“Is that all?” I asked.

“She was covering the urine in the stalls with new shaving and I asked her not to ….”


“She said she’d had enough of this shit … and quit. Other than not removing the urine before putting down new shaving, Gayle’s a hard worker, so I said ….”


“I love you ….”

“By which you meant?”

“I didn’t want her to quit, I wanted her to stay.”

“And you were thinking that telling a gringo ….”

“A gringa.”

“Okay, a gringa, that you love her, she’s going to understand that you didn’t want her to quit, that you wanted her to stay?”


“José, you’ve been in this country for what, more than fifteen years? and you still believe that you can go around telling almost strangers that you love them? that they will understand that by saying you love them you’re showing your appreciation — to the cashier at the supermarket when she bags your groceries? to the highway crewman when he avoids banking snow in front of the entry to our stable? to your hairstylist for not cutting your hair too short in the back? José, in this country when you say to anyone that you love them, they understand that you want to have sex with them, whereas to you it’s simply your Latino way of expressing concern or thoughtfulness.”

“Yes ….” smiling his irresistible smile.

I took José in my arms, “I love you.”

“I’ll meet you in the bedroom,” he said with his eyes.

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