I Have a Crush on My Mother’s Teen Idol

by

On Hong Kong Island, I run into my mother’s childhood crush—
her teen-idol-gameshow-host-on-every-girl’s-wall-celebrity-
still-a-bachelor, trying on Korean glasses
in the arts district once used for police housing.
I pick up a pair I can’t afford,
hoping for the freeze-frame of the moment—
it’s like in the movies when strangers lock eyes
across the fancy boutique, and she drops her gloves.

I know too much about this man,
his tabloid exploits, the “bored stag” lifestyle,
taking women half his age out for drinks.
But, if I’ve inherited my mother’s face,
why not inherit her taste in men,
pretend she’s a best friend who’s betrayed me
and I’m trying to get her back, make her jealous,
go after this man. It’s a sick, twisted family game,
and I’m ready to hold his gaze a few seconds longer,
picture our dream date: me waiting for him
in a silk robe with dragonfly pattern,
ready to eat spaghetti with our hands,
let him lick the tomatoes and Parmesan off my fingers,
drinking Mexican Cokes, then off to an artisan bar
drinking Old Fashioneds on dim sum trays.
My mother and father would be at the next table,
but in this dream, they’re in their twenties,
art is the lie—she glances over,
sees this girl in a body similar to hers,
wishing she were me instead and that she’d leave my father
in that moment, chase after some bigger dream.
And I let this man buy me a couple more drinks,
downing shots, but in this haze is where the scene cuts short.
Maybe it’s because he’s too friendly to the owners,
or that he’s actually shopping while I’m not,
but I don’t think the rumors are true—he’s not that crazy bachelor,
and he walks home, alone, happy, every night.