(currently having this manuscript line-edited)
Still no. 1 in the budget tag (out of 921 stories). I uploaded chapter 13 on Wattpad.
(After line editing, I’m hoping to eventually self-publish this book.)
(© 2020 Andrew Cyr)
Look away, my father’s home, she’d say.
I looked down and away.
I didn’t know what that meant then, but I do now.
Like the floor crumbles beneath my feet, my heart hangs from this noose in crowded rooms — where ever she is, there my heart is around her neck like a charm or a fucking expensive wrist chain. I’d ask for it back, but I’m too shy.
A breeze pulls her auburn hair from side-to-side in tangles, keeping me from falling apart at the seams.
If I could change your frown upright, would she stay?
I shrug, asking myself in the mirror.
She slams the door, wearing the same frown she wore yesterday and the week before that, and the week I found her in bed, sleeping with her girlfriend.
She says she couldn’t feel me so far away.
She told me to look away. Her father’s home.
Look away. Pretend we don’t know each other.
Look, I tell her father. I want to marry your daughter,
And you’re not stopping me.
All you had to do was ask, dude, he says.
I wanted you to ask my dad, first, she says and smiles.
She’s here every other weekend.
She wants this, and she wants that.
Gonna have to wait until next week, I tell her.
I buy it. She hugs me.
We watch Lifetime movies.
She listens to the music that I can’t stand and don’t want to know what the lyrics say.
It was my weekend.
She took me to buy something for her first… Um… period.
She was embarrassed,
But we laughed through it.
It was my weekend.
She’s got her first car, and she’s driving me insane.
I tell her I love her before she goes and to text me when she gets home.
She forgets. So I call.
Sorry, I forgot, she says.
It was my weekend
Get a little closer, I say, taking pictures of her twirling in her prom dress.
It was her weekend.
I ask her if she’s sure. She says she’s sure.
She holds onto my arm, squeezing tears.
Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? a pastor says.
I do, she says.
Like a chemist, she found the formula to make my heart pump blood from my brain to her heart and back again.
When we’re close, I can feel her heartbeat; mine races with insecurity.
I’d burn anything to condemn the beating of this lie.
The lie that I’m not good enough.
I’ve torn myself to knots, she says.
But the way her makeup stains my pillowcase is the lonely position of indecision.
I’d burn myself from within to feel her breath against my skin—to feel her breath against my neck.
I’d burn her house to the ground (metaphorically) because that just who I am this week.
I’m a notch on her bedpost.
I was a notch on her bedpost.
Until I asked her to marry me.
She said, sure why the hell not, blowing smoke in my face
I laughed under a breath.
We tangled in her bedsheets.
We made love.
I felt her heartbeat, and she felt mine.
She took sandpaper,
Scratching the lines on her bedpost.
She said I’m the best she’d ever had.
And, she said If I ever left her, she’d burn this city.
I’m a Christian,
But Goddamn it,
Black Lives Matter.
Does this offend you?
The light it was broad, stretching the sky beneath.
The cop wouldn’t let up, almost an orgasmic aura on his face. Pleasure derived from another man’s pain.
The TV shows a jittery camera filming the man.
The cop stopped a man — who allegedly wrote a bad check just like the cop’s wife did when she was his age — had his knee on the man’s neck.
A puddle streams from the man’s zipper to the gutter, then blood trickles from his throat, flowing on the summer street.
White foam forms in the man’s mouth, which also trickles to the street.
The man’s not moving.
And still, the cop’s not moving.
The cops don’t check his pulse.
He stopped moving three minutes ago.
Still, the cops don’t check his pulse.
Four cops, crushing the man’s body to death.
Now I understand why they say fuck the police.
Pain builds flames.
The fires, they grow.
What a mess we’ve made
Ignoring the cries of the helpless and feeding the pleasures of the wealthy.
Turning a blind eye to poverty and the traps of inequality set by design, which leads to matches and gasoline.
The powerful pour the gasoline and for decades push the less fortunate to pick up the match like Adam in the Garden — the matches were there to bring awareness to the human condition of greed.
The cities, they burned.