colors

Bedroom Stories

(see also: hiding)
Bedroom stories

Folded away in here the dark is almost warm.

It almost

wraps itself around me.

It almost

calms the rioting flesh.

But it’s not enough!

Scraps of lint pile up in corners where I can’t see them.

Feathers roam the air where I might breathe them.

I hope my eyes never adjust to this half light.

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flash fiction or w/e

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The open road was the second mistake, but it took a while to get there. First came the boxes: cardboard, made for packing and impermanence. You hated for things to be thrown away, and you hated the boxes, but you kept quiet until the yard sale when the girl with the red backpack came and bought my lamp. You went inside to make coffee but there was no coffee maker anymore and I walked in just as the ceramic hit the floor. It was the loudest thing.

The first mistake had to have been the wooden floors. The creaking was so insistent! More than the dark knots and the smell of dust and yellow light in the hall. It all got to my skin before you did, before you took my hand and we danced in the living room while the seasons changed. I never knew what home was. I only wanted to look at the maps.

Inevitably the floors and the lights and the boxes all led to the open road, the one you insisted you would accompany me down, at least until we hit the coast. Through the city we were alright. Across the plains we were alright. Up the mountains (and down the other side) we were alright, but when we hit the water we started to sink, possibly because there weren’t any floors out here. Howdid we not see this coming! Why weren’t we prepared!

It was not until we got out of the car that we realized The Wanting was terrible and The Leaving was worse. It was not until then that we realized that the colors of the maps were not true and you’d have to go back the way we came and I’d have to stay here. But it was never anyone’s fault.

This is Fiction I Swear: Part 9

Part 9: The Daily Herald

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A most excellent kind of panic attack. If you’re going to have one, have one like this.

I’m leaving work after the first shift a little after five and the time changed a few weeks ago so night has been slinking in for a good half hour. I exit the building through the back door and see the sky to the west is a million different colors: black, indigo, blue, purple, pink, gold, white. It’s so beautiful it hurts. But it keeps hurting and I wonder if the pain is from something else, like the cold biting at my neck where I forgot to bring a scarf. Like the knowing how close you live but how far apart we are.

I walk on and the pain only gets deeper, only gets sharper, until my breath is coming in short bursts, barely filling half my lungs. Oh god I want to stop or pass out or die or something but its Sunday and the streets are almost empty and I’m sure in the morning my body would be mangled and robbed so I keep walking for five more blocks while the fear seizes me completely—

And then it evaporates.

And then I’m back to drinking too much coffee and buzzing so badly it’s like I did a couple hard lines in the bathroom of Bar Deville. Not that I’ve ever done that. Must make analogies less specific! And one day I will but right now my phone’s going off and I’ve got some place to be. It’s Graham who has agreed to meet me at a café near my apartment to talk about things because he needs a game plan or something.

I don’t like this café, but I don’t like many cafes so it’s nothing personal against this one. Actually this one is better than most because it’s mainly neighborhood people and construction workers getting coffee instead of the usual flannel-clad crowd working on their Mac Books and not tipping the staff because they’re “poor” because they have all these loans from liberal arts school. For christ’s sake.

Graham is already here sitting at a small table against the exposed brick walls. He’s got a drink in front of him and looks up immediately when I walk in but doesn’t wave or anything, just looks at me in that sort-of nervous, sort-of intense way he does. I sit down and he says Hey and slides a newspaper over to me before I can say anything. My breath gets caught in my chest when I see the headline on page 4, the local news page:

Bicycle Collision Leads to Two Arrests in Bridgeview

You must be kidding me. That fucking girl in a beret! I snatch the paper to read the rest of the article which goes like this:

Two Bridgeview residents, Ana Kasic and Michael Devin, both 23, were involved in a bicycle accident late Friday night that turned violent and led to the arrests of both Kasic and Devin. The crash, which took place on 18th Street just west of Racine, appears to have stemmed from some personal, possibly romantic, conflict between the two. It is still unclear how the collision occurred because both parties lay blame on the opposite side. Devin says Kasic pushed him from his bicycle, while Kasic maintains that Devin harassed her while she was riding and caused his own fall. Law enforcement got involved when two officers noticed the pair arguing loudly in the middle of the westbound lane. The argument seems to have turned physical only after the officers arrived on the scene. Devin suffered a bloody nose from the altercation, and Kasic had scrapes from the crash. Both were released from custody within hours and neither side pressed charges.

I look up at Graham who’s staring at me, waiting for me to say something, waiting for me to explain myself. I know he’s fixating on Michael’s name. If it had been anyone else! But it wasn’t. It was you. You and your—

But before I can finish having that thought, the one I’ve had so many times it’s become like a heartbeat, I see my landlord’s truck pull up to the stoplight outside. He’s on his way to my place there’s no question about that and I have the money! I’ve got to give it to him! I tell Graham I will be right back—right back, I promise!—I just have to do one quick thing. I think I said half of this on my way to the door because the next second my feet are pounding against the cement to catch up with the truck.