Salty Kisses and Bad Table Manners

On our first date, Sal takes me not to watch the sunset on the beach, like everyone else, but the sun at noon, on a clear day, in the desert. He gives me smoked glasses, that’s how I know he cares.

When I tell my friends about our first kiss, they ask me what it tasted like. 

‘Salty’, I say, and they giggle. 

‘What do you like of Sal?’ they ask me then. 

‘He’s different.’ 

This seems satisfying enough and they move on to talk about our history paper, and about Alice from science class, whether she’s been absent from school because she really has mononucleosis or because she’s pregnant. 

Not me, I’m still thinking of Sal. Thing is, he is different. His skin is whitish-grey; when the sun is strong, it’s translucent. Unlike everyone I know, he’s made of sixty percent salt. I like that about him. He makes me look at things from a new angle. He knows quirky stuff, like that if you soak old apples in salted water, the wrinkles will go away. But my mum says I only fancy him now because he’s exotic.

‘You’ll get tired of him soon enough. And, for God’s sake, be safe,’ she adds, and leaves the kitchen muttering something about Alice.

And then one day Sal takes me out for dinner, and when I complain my pasta isn’t salty enough, he rubs two fingers over my plate and says: 


I stare at my food. I’m no longer hungry, not when my pasta is salty of Sal. 

He walks me home, one silent hour later, and I break up with him. 

When I tell my mum, crying salty tears as she’s hugging me, she says:

‘Oh well, bad table manners. Sounds like your dad after all.’