Sunday, April 11, 2010


He had this crease in his bottom lip. I remember because most times—after our kissing—I’d see a bit of my saliva gleaming there; a small ounce of my reflection. I knew God, or some petrified angel was telling me I was a part of him. I just knew it.

On the days where kissing seemed foreign and the world gone awry, I laid in a fetal position in bed. The cigarette burns on my thighs—a reminder of his anger—rubbed together. The shattered mirrors around the bed and slippers too far to reach were all reminders. He didn’t belong to me. His past had stated claim way before we met. At some open mic, on a withered bar stool, and a shot of tequila in hand. He said, “Ladies shouldn’t drink such hard liquor.” Having caught the whiff of an obvious attempt at “hooking up”, I snickered, “Not tonight playboy.” After a few more shots, we danced to spoken word; oblivious to the onlookers nearby. The poet’s cadence more pleasing than music, he whispered the words to my favorite song in my ear behind my jet black hair. We left inebriated, bare feet on pavement, and made it twenty blocks to his studio apartment. After we made it up the three flights of steps, we danced again.

I still love him when it rains; when Mother Nature takes over crying for me. Everyone is a little cheerless on a rainy day. That gave me comfort. After all, misery loves company. He is great company: His sadness a puddle within his eyes, shortness of breath, and trembling fingers. The remnants of his broken heart are salty on his cheeks. I’ve tasted them.

I found a lock of his widow’s brunette hair in his nightstand the first morning we woke up together. I wasn’t surprised because our pillow talk had been predominately about her. She was a poet of sorts. She left him haiku's and soliloquies in his journals. I once found one and tucked it into the palm of his hand during breakfast. Enraged that he hadn’t found it himself; he threw his plate of waffles into the wall. It was the first time I’d ever felt fear around him.

Her body was found floating in the Hudson. I’d done some research after he’d told me the story. It’s not that I didn’t believe him but, I had to know what he was feeling. She had gone missing for 4 weeks. Waiting. They found a body but he didn’t identify her for another three days. Breaking. He poured her ashes over the Golden Gate Bridge because her favorite place was San Francisco. Slipping.

It was 7 days after her birthday that the fighting started. He’d come home with the smell of another woman on his clothes. I questioned him. He didn’t like to give answers. I found myself flung into the bookshelf; the pages of my favorite love stories sopping from my wounds. The same stories he read to me with his arms cradled around mine in our dent in the love seat.

The next time we were on the balcony. He shook me hard, ten flights up, people yelling from below. “You’re going to drop her!” “Someone call the police.” By the time the boys had come, we were in love again. It only took you twenty minutes to apologize and promise you’d get help. To promise you’d never hurt me again.

I was a fool. A woman easily affected by the victim inside of you. I wanted to heal your wounds. I wanted to be the future you thought you’d never see. I wanted to be her, if only just for a little while. I watch you sleep sometimes. Peacefully, as though nothing happened, as though no one were wronged. I wish I could still feel your touch, but I can’t, you’re too cold. There is nothing but air, space, and time between us now. The other angels tell me you have a new lock of hair in your nightstand now. They say it's jet black.

It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve seen that reflection in your lips.I wonder if that puddle is still there. I wonder if I'm in it. I wonder if I am still a part of you.



Healingprose said...

Yesss! I love the metaphors and how they fit into the story. Defnitely made me feel for the character.

ty said...

wow. ohemgee. this really touched me. riv, you've def got talent. i want to steal the last paragraph for my fbook status because i feel it soooo much. So much...

DdotRENEE said...

I'm loving the play on of types of liquids: tears, saliva, river...

nianicole said...

LONG SIGH....i need this in a book and in my palm like right now! you goin be one the greats kid!