Three Minutes into My Campaign Speech at the Fundraising Dinner, I Remember Our First Date

Photo by Sri Lanka on Unsplash

by Kathryn Kulpa

In the moment before the bullets fly, I think of what I wanted to tell you. That you are the one, that you have always been the one, and if the world were just you’d be the hard target, the one Secret Service men throw themselves over, and I’d be the soft one, upending a table to protect you because you were the one who would save us all, you were the cool head, the hands that always found the right tool, you could screw in a wobbly toy garage door with your thumbnail and I knew you were better than me, better than all of us. And I wanted to tell you too about those girls, that they didn’t matter, that they were ice cream at the fair, they were plastic-bag goldfish that I whined and whined for and then left behind on the Tilt-a-Whirl. Goldfish don’t remember, but I will always remember you lifting your arm past the barricade, holding up your phone, shining your light to deflect, to distract, to blind. You wore pale green like a bud and that was the color you wore the night we met, it was spring, like now; it was May, like today, and we joked about messages to friends to extract us if the blind date went south, Mayday, Mayday; the gallery opening we knew about and the street fest we didn’t, leaving early to join a wine-loose parade of giant monster puppets who waved their tentacles like a blessing, and All of a sudden I really want calamari, you said, and all of a sudden I really wanted you, but waited, made a mix tape and gave it to you two days later (not the next day, not to seem too eager). The first time we held hands your hand was warm and steady and it was steady holding that light and I want to remember you that way as they crouch-hustle me out, I want to remember that my hand reached for yours, I want to believe you saw it, and all the things I didn’t get to tell you: I want to believe you knew. 


Kathryn Kulpa is a New England-based writer with stories in Best Microfiction, Fictive Dream, Fractured Lit, Ghost Parachute, Monkeybicycle, TrampsetVestal Review, and Wigleaf. 


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