She gets off the train and swiftly tucks her gloveless hands in her coat pockets; jamming her right thumb into the clumped up earphone cords connected to her phone that is, also, jammed in her pocket. She walks briskly to the traffic light and waits with head bowed for the light to favour her crossing. Five minutes after she has crossed the slushy mess of a road, she is letting herself into a warm lobby with a fob that is part of the tangled mess of that same right coat pocket. She briefly debates checking her mailbox but doesn’t do it. She, more pressingly, needs to pee. She takes the elevator up to her floor and walks – trots- to her door. She pauses for the briefest of beats outside her door and swings her tote off her shoulder. She lets it hang at her side as she opens the door – it will discourage the cat from dashing outside when she opens the door wide enough to walk in. He is sitting by the door as expected, he is shooed back by the bag he has not yet come to expect after six months of the same… Cats are not known to be exceptionally bright. She closes the door and does a pee-jig by it as she hangs up her coat. It has become more like a pee-shimmy by the time she kicks off her boots and walks sideways to the bathroom. She pees – relief. The cat winds his way around her legs. She wishes that he wouldn’t. He rubs himself on her tights. She tells him to go away. He seems to listen and settles just outside the door. She needs a shower and some dinner – in that order. The shower is warm and necessary. The cat sits just behind the shower curtain and jumps back when she is done and moves the curtains out of the way. She puts some music on and sashays as she lotions. She throws on something comfy then passes through a body spray mist she has created on her way out the bathroom door. She decides a quick stir fry will do and gets out a chopping board. The cat trails her to the kitchen, meowing now in hopes of a cat treat. She picks out a knife to chop some onions, the cat lays it’s upright tail lazily on her legs. She squats, plants her vegetable knife deep in the thorax of the cat in one swift motion, then walks back to the bathroom for another shower.
And as I listened and I read and I thought… I thought
He will break my heart
And I will let him
To see what he does with the pieces.
If he will find the apex of his artistry in
She looked over the curving mahogany railings to the beaming face standing sentry at the base of the stairs. His smile was definitely twinkling in his eyes today. His joy mirrored hers but looking at it blossom in his slightly dilated pupils… Well, everything was worth it for this tiny moment. This blip of happiness. She gathered up her hem so she wouldn’t trip over it as she descended. She could already hear the murmur of their thirty closest family and friends in the great room and it wouldn’t do for their welcome to be a resounding thud from her skull fracturing if she misstepped. Not today, at least; not in this perfect moment. When she got to the last two steps, He stretched out and held her hand gently. She smiled at Him gratefully and twirled on the landing. The dress was, after all, His gift to her and He had yet to see her in it.
“Come, everyone is growing restless,” He smiled but gently tugged her in the direction of the great room. She was eager to follow, breathless to please. Her happiness was His, but much greater as she was the source of His tonight. She seldom was…
They got to the double doors with their intricately carved, brass polished handles and paused for a beat. Francis was going to announce their arrival before they went in. He, too, was smiling at their approach as he turned to open the doors. This moment was almost as much his as theirs. He had been butler and head groundskeeper for as long as she could remember and he had been privy to all their sorrows and disappointments, no matter how hard she had tried to hide them. As soon as she set the tip of her heeled sandals over the great room threshold, a mass of bodies collectively enveloped then swept the rest of her into the room.
“My daaaarling! How are you both feeling?”
Her sister was looking only at her, breaking through the overwhelming haze of hellos, momentarily dispersing them. Her gaze was swaying gently from face to belly back to face- the careful pendulum of love. And for the first time that night but probably the thousandth over the last week, her left hand strayed to her belly. Her right was still firmly cocooned in her husband’s. As was wont to happen, He responded before she got a chance to, “Maman and Baby are doing well, Jas. Where’s the toy?”
The toy was Ethan. And she had begged Him to stop calling Ethan that. For whatever reason, He had adopted Jas as His little sister but would not extend the same courtesy to E. But she said none of this and smiled shyly instead. She kept her mouth and thoughts shut. Everyone expected her to… Or they had come to expect her to because of habit. Those ugly thoughts they mostly shared that she did not spare time to have thoughts in the first place were long established.
Jas winked at Him and nudged her chin ever so slightly to the table weighing the hors d’oeuvres. E was intent on the story he was listening to from Aunt Joan. All three pairs of eyes followed Jas’ chin. In the split attention lapse that followed, Jas took her hand and gave it a squeeze – as one would when shared words of condolence suddenly feel like they are not enough.
But that tiny squeeze spoke other volumes. It spoke of waves of heat and sweat tangled between two lithe bodies in the swimming pool shed on hot summer afternoons. It spoke of goosebumps and steeped nipples, buttons of tension responding to well-experienced thumbs on taut January’s endless nights. Those same thumbs she could feel on the back of her hand now, right below her wedding band. The squeeze spoke in waves but it felt like cascading falls and abandon. Really, it felt like Jas testing their limits of exposure and now was neither the time nor place for it. Not that her husband would be remotely suspicious or concerned. He would probably attribute her flush to nausea or her anticipated response to the crowd’s overwhelming love.
She withdrew her hand slowly but firmly, not wishing to offend Jas but also desiring to not draw attention to what she was definitely making a bigger deal than it probably was. Jas bunched up her face for the tiniest second then relented. She went for His elbow instead and dragged Him further into the room to say hi to “the toy”. She used this spare second to carefully compartmentalise her rushing emotions then glided in to say hi to her parents who had stayed back to give the couple time to wade in and work the room…
There are things that have begun to burn.
Save those you can while they in any part
We leave what we cannot take. We trusted
What we did not make
After all, and went ahead and claimed it –
No, we did not make love. We made,
We did. But we did not create it. God did. God
Love. So how could the creator become in any part
the created? No.
So when these things that have begun to burn
can not be salvaged
We leave them and run. We haste from the embers that become
We are followed in our turn but the scarring is
localised to a minimum. An infinitesimal organic suicide
We labour with the remnants of our burn
To plagiarise and live in reruns.
Tomorrow we make again what we did not create
And trust again what we did not make
Our memory heals enough so we replicate.
There are mangoes in my backyard
Drooping down from the mango trees
If I reach out of my window, my fingers
Brush against the leaves. I can smell their
Sweet fragrance so heavy on my nose that
A taste would surely put
To all my nerve-ending woes
I was given mint tea with honey and a single
Slice of bread. Its to satisfy my hunger and
My thirst while I corrode in bed. I dunk the
Bread in my sweet tea but it is wafer thin and
Breaks. The part that doesn’t make it to my
Mouth, I guess the floor can take. I pretend
The sliver in my mouth was a ripe yellow
And luscious green. But I still can’t taste what I really want
(Since this act does not have that scene).
One day I’ll find the courage to reach just a little
More. But I’m terrified that in that moment
She’ll walk right through my doors. And oh,
Isn’t she so privileged. She can do just as she
Please. If I could walk on my two mangled feet, I would
not be grazing leaves. All I want is one mango
I would be satisfied with one. But
Don’t touch is what She
Said. And last commands can’t be undone.
Sun- Too much sun. But that’s only my opinion from behind the safety of my glass sliding door. My iPhone says it’s 36 degrees on the other side of the transparent barrier boxing me in my warm 620 sq foot cocoon so definitely not appropriate weather for the blue bum shorts and orange cami I have on. I wage a little war in my head between closing the blinds that are casting black and yellow ochre stripes down my slender frame or leaving them open so my whole parlour looks ready for the early stages of a Hitchcock movie. The sunshine wins… Obviously. I don’t even know why I bother with this ritual every Saturday. I adore the light once my eyes adjust and it stops blinding me. Besides, Saturday’s are the only days of the week that I get to fully bask in the sun’s humbling ambiance. “Humbling ambiance” – hmm, I like that phrase…
I spend my whole life with words and phrases. I work a 6-7 job that keeps me on my butt in a dingy room pre-editing articles for the biggest daily self-help editorial east of Wyoming. And west of Iowa. Okay, okay, it’s the biggest editorial in Nebraska. But, when I talk to people about my job, I usually leave out the west of Iowa part. I also stop at the “daily”, since saying more usually loses me “cool” points. The fewer specifics, the better. Anything to give my self confidence a boost since I have no real friends for a 400 mile radius and I have had no real life in a two-year span. This lovely Saturday though, none of that matters. It’s a beautiful day outside AND I’m going skiing. I am also fully aware that I live in Nebraska without a plateau in sight. But I’m making the solitary drive down to Jackson, Wyoming. I’ll drive down, glide on some of that beautiful pow, spend the night in a not-so-reliable temporary establishment, catch a morning run or five, then head back home in the afternoon. I’m completely stoked. It’s been a minute since I did anything outdoors. Even longer since I took a solitary road trip. I can feel the greatness of this weekend in my bones! Or is that the crack in my sliding door sending shivers up my spine?
The drive up is going okay so far. I just hit Wyoming, its a little past noon, the windows are down, and… a bug definitely just flew unto my dashboard. Whyyyy? I start frantically swatting at it with Khloe Kardashian’s boobs, which are plastered on last month’s issue of Cosmo. Two minutes ago, I had HAIM crooning from the stereo and I felt like I was in a movie about my life (picture “Thelma and Louis, but solo). Ugh, I hate bugs. Plus, this fairytale solo trip is about to go sour faster than milk left out in the sun if I run out of my water crackers nearly four hours away from my destination. Crap, there’s only four left in the box and I definitely left the other box on the kitchen counter. Perfect. Now all I need is an engine stall or a repeat performance of my food poisoning debacle from yesterday and then I can write this off as the worst day ever. I’m beginning to feel like I should probably have waited till next weekend to go skiing but that feeling is a bit late to the party. Roughly 200 miles to go but for the life of me, I cant remember now why I decided against a trip to Colorado instead…
I made it to Jackson! I’m not even stopping at the hotel first. I’m just going to drive straight to the resort and catch as many runs as possible before I pass out on a bed tonight. The parking lot at the base of the slopes is suffering a bit of human scarcity but I jump out to put on my ski gear, anyway. The fewer the people, the fresher the pow… Holy Mother of God! It’s definitely way colder than my iPhone said it was going to be when I checked the temperature yesterday. What is happening here?! That gust of wind nearly pinched the half of my nose with my nose ring in it clean off. Anyway, I’m here now and half way into my ski boots. I can’t possibly turn back around like a complete wimp. Besides once I’m fully decked out, the cold won’t matter. I buy my half day’s pass from a surly brunette called Carly and catch the chair lift up. Now this is what I’m talking about! This view is e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, but it doesn’t look like there’s been a snowfall in at least a couple of weeks. Maybe I’ll only do three runs instead of seven and call it an early night.
Okay, that first run was a bit choppy but that’s why I’ve got sloppy seconds! And if the second time is rough, well, that’s why the saying says the third time’s the charm. My lift descent this time is flawless and ooooh, I’m gathering some steam. Okay, this sloppy second isn’t so sloppy after all. Wait, is that a patch of ice ahead that I see? Better dodge th… Shit.
All the wind was definitely knocked out of my brain. It literally took a full minute for it to reboot and process. I guess my ribs feel like these mountains just used them as punching bags as well. But I seem fine otherwise. Nothing broken or twisted as I twist around to check my derriere. I’m only a little soaked and embarrassed, thank heavens. I don’t even want to think about how bad that could have been.
My tummy feels sore now that I’m up and trying to glide down slowly. My poor stomach lining was probably not prepared for a double attack in a two day span – food poisoning then a “soft” tumble down the slopes. Yea. Probably not.
Ok. I’m almost at base but what seemed like a tiny ache on the left side of my tummy a minute ago is absolutely excruciating now. I might as well slide to a halt and see if there’s a tiny branch sticking out of my gut or something. I lift all five of my layers. A quick peek and I’ll determine if a good back stretch or some pepto bismol will fix me right up. Is it normal that my skin is this tender? I know I just shook it up but I can’t touch it and it looks like its swelling. Ok, maybe that fall could have shaken the spleen off my mother but… Oh God, what if my sple…
Black hole, black pillow, black sheets, blank sheets, blank pillow
Blank line, white line, crimson line, blue line.
Crimson gash, crimson stitch, crimson wound, crimson blood
Black blood, blue blood, blank blood,
Black love, black blood, no blood, no love
Black hate, black void, blank love, no blood
Black blood on black wound
Wound in black sheet set on black pillow nursing
Black music like the buck, like the step, like the twist, like the stick
Black envy like a black rose filled with black thorns creating black holes
Red garden, green garden, yellow garden, purple garden
White garden, white rose, white snow,
Wine line, fine line, bloodline, crossed line
White chest, wine chest, lying chest, black vest
White sleeve, wine sleeve, cut sleeve, blocked sleeve
Wine float, black throat, long throat, cut throat
Black tip, blank tip, black rose,
Green leaf, yellow leaf, brown leaf, black fall
White walls, white roof, white washed, white gall
White foam, white froth, white sea, seagull
White truck, white ball, wide ball, white net, white goal
Wine drink, wine seat, wine crown wine love
Wine ring, wine stone, rhinestone, white love, red lust, bloodlust
Bloodlust for wine blood bearing white rings feeding wine drink, feeling
Black love, white love, wine love, wine rose
White love with wine rose swathed in black cloth
Black cloth, black sheet, white sheet, white rose
Blank white, frail white, tight white, white