By Robert John Miller

She said she was into philately, which I thought was odd to just toss out in casual conversation but I got pretty excited and asked something like, "How exactly do you people get into that sort of thing?" and she said "I don't want to talk about it unless you're really interested because people always make fun of me," and I said, "How cruel people can be!" We kept talking and after a minute I started looking her up and down and realized how stunning this woman was, and I don't mean to sound crass but you couldn't help but notice her chest, and then she got a little gleam in her eye and asked, "Would you like to come over and have a look at them?  At my apartment?" and I said, "Yes!"
So we take a cab back to her place and she says, "I need to use the bathroom before we can get down to business."  I was still a little uncomfortable with her forwardness but I liked her and I was lonely and it had been a long time, so I go ahead and get ready because at this point I'm not really sure what the etiquette is and I don't want to disappoint her.  From the bathroom she calls, "Make yourself at home.  I hope you were serious because I only show them to special people."  I call back, "I am definitely serious."  And she says, "A lot of people don't understand what it all really means, you know?  How it's really about communication, about a real, hard connection."

"You're a poet," I say.

"And then you have to be careful about moisture and safety.  One little rip and it's all over."

I pucker at the thought of it and call back, "Oh, God!  Does that happen often?" 

And she says, "More often than I'd like.  Of course I'm not trying to break any records or make money off it or anything.  I just do it because I couldn't imagine not doing it.

"I guess that's a good attitude to have."

"You're not a numismatic are you?  My ex was a numismatic and I don't mean to bring him up now but that did cause a few problems for us."

"Oh no," I say, "I can run an eight minute mile without even breaking a sweat."

A few minutes later she comes out of the bathroom fully clothed, rapidly notices that I'm naked from the waist down, looks me in the eye and says, "You aren't wearing any pants."  I say, "I never wear pants."  And she says, "I know that isn't true because you were just wearing them."  And I say, "If you like it better that way I guess I can put them back on."

She walks into another room muttering something I couldn't hear and looking even more confused than I am.  By the time I zip up she's coming back carrying a book of postage stamps that she really wants me to see.  I think, "Well, this is quickly becoming one of the strangest nights of my life," and decide to relax and just see what turns up next.
We sit down on her futon and she starts flipping through the book and she shows me her John Lennons and her Princess Dianas and her Canadian Winnie the Poohs.  She has a whole series of stamps featuring bicycles from different countries and a separate book for stamps saved from letters from friends who had travelled.  She shows me her stamps from the 1960 World Refugee Year which raised $80 million dollars and all feature an uprooted tree.

"The most beautiful thing about collecting stamps," she says, "is that you can never collect them all, so each time you glimpse one it's a reminder of how many others there are, how much else is going on in the world.  It's just so overwhelming," she said, "that it forces you to just enjoy them.  At first you get so anxious because you can never keep up, and then you realize that you don't have to."  And she keeps going on like this, and I get so enamored with her and her stamp collecting that I completely forget about my earlier dreams of wild fellation.

Robert John Miller's work has appeared in Writers' Bloc, poeticdiversity, and AlienSkin Magazine.  He is from Indiana but currently lives in Cambodia.  His blog is at Contact Robert.