Other People’s Smiles

“Do you ever notice people smiling?”  She didn’t turn to him to get his attention, but threw the words out into the void wondering if they would be picked up and answered.

“I guess.  Sure.  What do you mean?”  He didn’t turn either, casually answering her strange question.

“Like, do you ever notice other people.  Do you see them smiling while you drive by them or as they pass by you on the street?  Do you ever get jealous of them?  What do they have to be smiling about that I don’t.  What am I missing?”

“No, not really.”

“Oh.  Maybe it’s just me then?”

“I don’t know.  I’m sure there are others.  It’s kind of naïve to think you’re the only one in the world who does something, or anything for that matter.”

She didn’t answer right away.  She paused and thought over his answer.

“Why do you think you don’t get jealous when you see someone smiling?  It feels so natural to me, wondering what it is that causes their face to shine like that.”

“Why don’t I get jealous when I see other people smiling?”

“Yeah.”

“Because I have you.”

 

Excerpt From Nothing: You’re Incorrigible

“I don’t chase people.  I’m not a dog or a child.  You want me or you don’t.  I’ve got enough value in myself to know that I don’t need you if you don’t want me.”

She knew she was standing on thin ice.  The question she was asking herself was if he knew as well.

She did want him and she always had wanted him, but for once she was going to stand her ground.  None of his bullshit games were going to get into her head.  They were entering new territory now though and the games have seemed to level up.  Instead of him waiting for her to come find him he was acting as if she was the one doing the avoiding.

“It seems you’ve made up your mind then.”

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Eve

“Close your eyes for a moment and listen.  Stop thinking, stop questioning and do it.  I’ll wait.”

She hated giving in but she decided to concede for a moment.

“You better not do anything to me or touch me or try to scare me.  I’ll fucking sock you one, hard.”

“Shh.  Close your eyes.”

I waited ten seconds for her to settle before speaking again.

“Now don’t say a word and try to move as little as possible until I tell you I’m done.”

I was only a foot away from her.  We were sitting in the car in the back of the parking lot at the grocery store.  It was late and there weren’t many people around.  The car was off and there was no sound except the occasional car zooming by on the highway that ran next to the parking lot.

“You’re you and I’m me and we’ve got this thing between us.  We also have our own things going on separately and we can’t spend every moment we want to with each other.”

My voice was soft.  I had to concentrate to keep it as monotone and straight as possible.  It often fluctuates to eccentric when I’m the only one talking, as if I forgot how to speak as if I were a normal person.  I maintained it now as well as I ever had before.

“So I want you to try and imagine, without guilt or wariness, that it was just us in another plane of existence.  Somewhere that we could be we and nothing else was in our way.  No schedules or interruptions.  It was just like this, the two of us, only closer.”

A transport trucked whizzed by and the car rocked back and forth in its wake.  We both remained still.

“I want you to think of this other world us and imagine yourself there in other world you.  I want you to think of tonight in the stillness of the night in a quiet house with all but one tiny desk light on to peek through the room.  It’s just us there laying on the couch together enjoying the sounds of each others breathing.  My hands are in your hair and your making soft cooing sounds every few minutes.”

I grazed my finger tip along the side of her neck and around the back of it.  Her held tilted and a soft sound was muffled by her closed lips.

“It’s Christmas Eve and it’s just us.  The night is creeping on and we’re stretching it out as far as it will go.  We’ll eventually slip away to the bedroom and stick our bodies together as if they were made of glue but not before our eyes got heavy.”

My fingertips slipped through her dark hair and let it cascade downward out of my hand.

“When we woke up the next morning we’d let the day slip away.  Christmas morning would be Christmas afternoon before we decided to get out of bed and join the world.  We’d be able to do anything.  Presents.  Slip into the car for a drive anywhere just to enjoy the lonely roads together.  It was as if the world fell asleep and forgot to wake up with us and we were going to take advantage of it.”

I wasn’t looking at you.  I was speaking down your body.  I knew if I was speaking at you and looking at you that it wouldn’t last long enough because you’d tell me to stop.  Now I was almost done.

“So tonight and tomorrow when you’re with you and I’m with me remember to close your eyes and catch a flash of us.  That’s where we can be together when we can’t be together.  I hope you can make it.  Alright, I’m done.”

Then I leaned in and kissed her on the shoulder and stopped talking.

Alone In A Car

She sang me a song last night.  She sang me a song on my drive home.  It was late and the night was full and long.  She was stretched out in her bed, the blankets were half on her and the heat was turned up, because the darkness breathed cold air and there was nobody to snuggle up against.

She wasn’t asleep yet, but the winds were blowing her there.  She always slept naked and the sheets got to snuggle up against the lucky parts of her.

“I’m tired but I’ll be there soon, you in bed or no?”  I asked.

“I am, but I’m here.  Talk to me,” she replied.

“I don’t have much to say.  I just wanted to let you know.”

“Mmhmm, talk to me anyways so I don’t fall asleep before you get here.”

“Well its dark.”

“It always is at night.”

“Funny how that works.  Yeah, dark.  Nobody is on the road.  I’m glad because the headlights make my eyes heavy when they come at me.  I hate that.”

“Yeah?”  Her voice sounded tired, like she had just woken up.  She assured me she wasn’t asleep yet though.

“Yeah.  You can go back to sleep.  I won’t be long.”

There was silence.  I knew her enough that I knew she was shaking her head from side to side as if I could see her.  There was a long pause between us both.  I passed a number of trees and a few exits.  Three or five minutes worth of exits.  All I could hear was her steady breathing.

“You asleep?”  I asked quietly.

She responded with a, “nuh uh,” and let more silence fill the space between us.

The country was a hard place to drive because the street lights were far and few between.  I constantly had to check to see if my headlights were on because it seemed to dark when the moon wasn’t shining free in the sky.
She had to have a place in the country though.  She liked the city but only for playing.  The country was where she wanted to live.  Seclusion with a twist, she called it.  Long drives were meant for talking and peaceful silences, she told me.  1 am was a long time to wait on the way home though.

“It wasn’t worth it at the time but it would be when it was over,” she always said the most confusing things.  I loved to listen to them though.

“Oh pretty baby, you know how I like it that way.  Oh pretty darlin’, you always kiss me when I wake,” she started singing softly on the other end of the line to break the silence.

“You know how to love me and my wild mind.  I make you crazy but you always let me shine.  Drive through the dark to find me and keep your eyes sharp.  The roads getting heavy but your eyes won’t miss their mark.”

Her voice was soft and barely awake.  It wasn’t a whisper but there was some volume she was holding back.  It fit the night and it entranced me.  I had never heard the words before but they sounded as old as Greece.  I don’t know if she was making the song up on the spot or if it was something I just hadn’t heard yet.

“I’m here waiting, lying in your bed.  The sheets half off me and I need my hunger fed.  Oh pretty baby maybe you can speed just a little.  Oh pretty darlin’, my body is hoping you will.”

Then there was near silence.  It was accompanied by her soft but heavy breaths.  They were rhythmic and consistent.  I dared not break them and listened intently for an indeterminable amount of time until she smacked her lips without purpose and asked, “where are you now, baby?”

I blinked back into consciousness and realized I had been on auto-pilot and was nearly at our road.

“I’m almost there.  Turning down the drive now.”

“I hear you.  Hurry.  Feed the cats then come here.”

“Mmhmm, wait for me.”

“I will, baby,” she let out a soft moan as she clicked the phone off.

 

Futile

Him:  Why can’t we just go back to how we used to be?  I don’t even recognize that anymore.

Her: Because we can’t.  Ever.  It’s gone.

Him:  Why does it have to be gone?  Nothing ever has to be gone, all you have to do is say it isn’t gone and treat it like its right here.

Her:  It’s gone.  Face it.  It is so hard to bring back a feeling that has faded.  It’s impossible to make one go away that’s replaced it.

Him:  Nothing is impossible if we want it to be.  I don’t think you want it to be when it can be so simple.

Her: It’s not simple though.  It just isn’t.

Him:  Why not?

Her:  Why?  Because I can’t trust you, that’s why.  Plain and simple and out there.  That is something I can’t get over.  No matter how many times I think we can just go back to talking like normal we can’t because I can’t get the mistrust out of my head.  No matter what it’s always there lurking and any time you say something that sounds a little off it rears its head and that is all I can think about.

Him:  How am I lying?  Why can’t you trust me?

Her:  Because I know you’re not telling the truth.  I just know it.  There are things you say and do that make me feel in the depths of my bones that you’re not being honest.  You can tell me up and down that I’m being foolish or that I need to trust you but these are feelings I can’t get past.  These are feelings I have to trust.

Him:  Lets say I was lying.  I know this is a bad place to go because it feels like I’m basically admitting it when I’m not but lets say I am.  What is it I’m lying about and how does it affect anything?

Her:  (laughing) You’re saying you aren’t lying while asking me what you’re lying about?  How the hell do you think that sounds to me?  WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL ME!?

Him:  Because I can’t!  I can’t!  I can’t tell you.  It has NOTHING to do with anything else at all but I can’t tell you.  It is the one thing that I cannot do even though it is meaningless.  And I know you’ll think that if its meaningless then why can’t you tell me.  It’s because it’s meaningless between you and I.  It has nothing to do with how we are.  Or how we were.  Or could be.  Or would be.  Nothing to do with it at all.  But I cannot tell you what it is.

Her:  This is ridiculous.  If it is something you can’t tell me then its important.  If it wasn’t important then you would be able to tell me.  If it meant anything then you would need to tell me because it meant something.  If it didn’t mean anything then you could tell me because it was meaningless.  Either way, no matter which way you want to serve it there should be no hesitation at all.  You should just be able to tell me and have it done with.  But its one of those things; you can’t tell me because it isn’t meaningless or you can’t tell me because I’m not as important as you think I am.  Either way it’s something that makes my feeling right.  I’m vindicated in telling you we can never be like we were.  Everything I thought and felt was right because you can’t tell me.  It doesn’t matter why.

Affidavit Of Love & Death

“Excuse me?  This isn’t the kind of love I ordered.  I distinctly asked for something with less spittle.”

“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to steal that.  I hope you don’t mind.”

“I’m dying.  No, please.  Don’t make a fuss.  It’s coming and I can’t do a thing about it.  I just hope my hair doesn’t wilt before the funeral.  Anyways.  Tell them all I loved them.  No, don’t say that.  A few of them were the most unsavory types.  How about this?  She loved who she loved.  The rest can find the nearest trolley and throw themselves beneath it.  Just be kind enough to not do it in the early morning or evening commute.  No use causing a commotion even in death.”

“Hello.  You don’t know me but I’m in love with you.  Thank you for letting me tell you that.  Have a wonderful life.”

“I really don’t know what the big deal about having money is.  So you can buy whatever you want and most of your worries will go away, big deal.  I can find new worries so easily to replace the old ones.  They’ll be wonderfully frightful worries ten times as worse.”

“If you’re going to kiss me then kiss me already.  If not then stop staring at me like you’re going to because I really have to use the bathroom and I don’t know how much longer I can hold it.”

“When you’re dead can you please turn off the lights on the way out?  Some of us still have to pay the power bill.”

“I love the way you let me stare at you.  I know you notice and I’m glad you don’t ask me to stop.”

“Lets all go to the zoo and try to guess which is the next trainer that is going to be on the news because they were mauled.”

“If a writer dies and goes to hell they’re eternal damnation is spent doing the same thing they did when they were alive; trying to finish writing a novel but eventually scraping it and starting over.”

“I think it’s time.”

Me, Flirting

Something Blue:  “Okay, let’s nap and forget the world.”

Me:  “Nap?  Sure.  I’m going to insist actually.  Legs tangled, right?”

Something Blue:  “Can I have kisses?”

Me:  “I thought you’d never ask.”

Rushes my lips against hers, arms around her back, pinching tight around her rib cage. Smashing a kiss into her the way angry waters erode boulders along the beach. Lifting her. Carrying her until momentum is stopped in a thudding halt against a wall, table, desk, chair and falling into or onto it with a hunger such as what was deprived during lent.

“I mean…,” kisses you because I missed your lips.
“You can have either. Or both. Take your pick, or take everything.”

55 Fiction: Just Being Me

“I want to say something.”

“What?”

“Something I shouldn’t.”

“Then don’t.”

“But I want to.”

“Oh my god.  Do it or don’t.  Stop fucking around.”

“I -,” the three little dots sat on her side of the phone for a long time.

“Spit it out!”

“I have to pee.”

“You’re so god damn annoying.”

“I know.”

55 Fiction: The Cause

“I can’t remember.”

“You can’t remember what?”

“I don’t know.  I just can’t remember.  There was something there.  Something important and now its gone.  You know that feeling?  Where you know you wanted to keep something but you let it slip through the cracks?”

“I do.  Or something similar.”

“Like what?”

“I caused the cracks.”