The Need

There’s some wicked moment of a memory of a cross and roses on a bed of obsession, their rings off, backs to the wall. They shouldn’t have been there together. A memory that lingers in the back of the mind drawing outward toward a shattering on the kitchen floor in an average house, three o’clock in the afternoon on a Thursday. The crying of a name, the slipping from the present to reaching out over the bedspread to try to hold onto him. A shadow that falls the wrong way through the room and maybe, maybe he was there with her. Maybe they were in the hotel together. Maybe he was fixing her a drink. Maybe he was just fixing her, repairing all the damage that the others had done. Loving her. She felt him like a warm breath on the back of her neck, his hands clutching at her waist. The recall of the nights they’d spent hidden away together, mental postcard souvenirs of every second he had stayed right with her, each movement together a private exhibition of symmetry that in its’ wake had forever changed the way the world spun.

Three o ‘clock in the afternoon, her view blurry through a curtain of shaking tears because he was late with a phone call. There was a shift in the framework of time that kept her from drawing air correctly unless she heard from him at least once a day. He had promised, that was the thing. He knew she was this way now, needing him this much. Unable to function, without that phone call. The broken glass, the flesh of her palm butterflied away from itself deep, bleeding into the dish water. He had said he would be there, said he would call, they would do this together. He said it in a song on the radio so she had known it was true. He said it everywhere she went, he was so in her head now.

The floor. The floor and her apron turning red. The shards, glowing edges in the afternoon light flickering through the lace over the window, casting patterns on her legs like little diamonds and she could hear him filling the glasses with ice then, telling her how pretty she looked, with him again, in the room. They had slept with the windows open in the Summer air. The roses red, the petals spilling over the edges of the cheap bedspread and laughing that the cross had fallen off the wall.

Disappearing into that place in her mind where he was always waiting, that place before when they had been safe together in their obsession, in her memory of it. In this way, the days slid and she waited for him. He said they would do this together. He said he would not abandon her.  He said, “I shudder to think what you would do without me.” His kisses long and deep, her body arched, twisted, trying to be touching him in every way she could. Why hadn’t he telephoned her yet? He knew. Damn it! He knew she was like this now. She moved to stand, to move toward the phone. She would break the rules, call him. Her heel caught on the edge of the rug, something slick, wet, the blood, her hand… Her head struck the edge of the counter, her eyes closing, the phone ringing.



Originally published at SYWZine,

Editor, Laurance Kitts, May, 2012