A short tale for Valentine’s Day
“Kissing,” she said, tilting her face to the sky and resting it on the cool metal, “is like ten thousand bullets through your heart.
“No, kissing is ten thousand bullets through your heart,” she corrected herself. “Moreover,” (and it really bothered him when she used words like ‘moreover’), “it’s ten thousand bullets through my heart”.
The air was very damp where she sat, on a bench. It held no promise. Buds on branches shook with the faraway friction of dump truck tires on mottled lawn. Twenty metres down the path, a man dressed in navy blue dug into the earth, boring enormous holes around an army of plants she couldn’t see to identify.
“Kissing,” he said, “-kissing you, anyway, is like a million butterflies on my cheeks”.
“Don’t be such a pussy,” she said, pulling her knee under her chin and turning her face so he could see her scar.
“That isn’t funny, or nice,” he said, obvious bewilderment playing across his face. He was thinking of his mother, of her long silk robes and cigarettes, her plans for lunch that always fell through. The sunlight on the carpet in her dressing room, where he would lay on his stomach while she painted her fingernails.
She thought of his mother, too, of her letters on his dresser, her postcards magnetted to the refrigerator door. One had not met the other. Neither intended to.
“You’re too soft around the edges, Carl”. She said his name as if her throat repelled the letters. Ripe with poignancy. Stewed in hate.
“Don’t,” he said. One hand began its slow, limping ascent of his sleeve.
Her hand followed, gaining on his. It walked on twig-like fingers, one particularly heavy with sparkling, heirloom bud. “But I like your edges, Carl”.
His name sounded sweeter now, fell from her lips with pleasure and very audible disdain. She pressed her shut-tight lips into his shoulder and breathed hot air into the linen. She purred, trailing her finger button by button down the sheer, muscular drop of his chest.
“Stop,” he whispered.
“No,” she breathed.
“Then come home,” he said, flat as a made bed.
“I can’t,” she said, and her words fell like drops of blood on a clean sheet.
She stood then, brushed the raindrops from her face and the teardrops from her sleeve, and strode in the direction of the navy blue gardener, narrowing her eyes as she passed. They were dandelions.
“Why are the holes so big?” she asked. “They’re just dandelions”.
“It isn’t the dandelion, dear, it’s the root,” he said, nodding in the direction of what looked like a pile of tree branches. “Only once you pull out the lion’s tooth, then the flower don’t grow back”.
Carl’s first tear bloomed when he heard the ring hit the sewer grate.@2 years ago