Thursday, December 6, 2012

Martyr

Short story

I didn't think you'd be here tonight. I thought we'd moved beyond the subtle touch.

But I found you sitting next to me at the bar laughing at my friends' jokes and touching my shoulders just so.

And for a moment I, I thought I heard you say that you wanted to be next to me. For a moment I thought I heard you ask to come on home with me.

That might have been the music, it might have been the booze, and I'm pretty sure all you want from me is your toothbrush and your high heel shoes.

I've been meaning to hand them back but it's always an awkward time, I put all of your things away in a box behind a shelf. I asked you to come get them but you never say you will.

And tonight's the night I think I know why. You don't want to see me again because we'd end up where we were; believing our pathological fallacy, our contiguous lie.

This town ain't big enough for the both of us but I hardly feel the need to leave with you pressed so close to me. I can smell your favorite perfume behind that rum and coke; and I'm sure my bitter ale can't hide me.

I thought I'd drift out to the bars with my friends to forget you. An opportunity to do something I regret. I thought I'd leave your body's ghost in my bed. Wake up on a couch in some burnout's basement and be unaccounted for. I thought I'd sleep you off and shake off your airs, but when you leaned to get the check I couldn't help but feel your heartbeat through the bass and the static.

It was as rapid as mine. My smartest friends are putting up smiles but dreading the moment when—tonight or tomorrow—I break down again. You torture me with your party dress and all I can do is watch as we find ourselves a cab.

And when I try to sneak out of my own room and forget you in the morning it's not because I don't love you. It's because I do—too much. I'll lie to you then I'll lie to myself because as good as it feels when we touch—it's all temporal. The passage of a moment, and we are in it, the moment when what we had drags us down like an anchor while last night parts the seas and the future is the pharaoh's men coming to drag us to our slavery.

But I'm not Moses and neither are you. Yet we've wandered through a desert for forty years and will never reach the land of milk and honey.

I sneak out of my own house, quiet as a mouse, because your ghost still haunts me and I must be true to her. You can't be real and alive, your flesh is covered in spikes. Each tiny hair on your body when they brush against me lightly I am sliced open—a death—a thousand tiny cuts. My heart stops and you kill me for a moment. For a moment I die at your arm's caress.

When I lock the door and face the winter cold headed off in a direction I don't know, I hope you don't hear me and I hope you sleep in. But I hope that when I return you are gone and my life without you can begin.