Monday, April 21, 2008

Turn Off The Light

"Ignore the mess. I'm not the cleanest person," he said.

I smiled and clutched at the edge of the covers, still sitting and wondering when he was going to turn off the light.

"How do I get you out of this?" Kevin asked, his hand on my shoulder.

"Will you undo me?" I asked. I ran my hand down the hidden zipper on my back.

He unzipped the dress until it hit the point where it always caught. "That's as far as it goes," I said. I stepped out of the dress and took off my shoes and tights. It didn't leave much so I got underneath the sheet and thought about how I'd ended up in a stranger's bed with blood on the sheets. Would this be where I finally got what I deserved?

"Will you turn out the light?" I asked.

"I like the light on," he said. He took off his sweater, the static making his hair stand up.
I pulled the sheet over my head. I couldn't stand the brightness.

"Stop it. You look like a corpse," he said. From underneath the sheet, I could tell he had turned toward me.

"Turn off the light. I can't function like this," I said.

He turned off the light. "Better?"

But it wasn't. I stayed where I was. I could imagine the absinthe, that horrible vivid green, making me glow and remembered my doctor asking me if my life felt unmanageable. That, I supposed, was one way to put it.

"I don't understand what you're doing," Kevin said.

"Hide and hide. It's a variation on hide and seek." I scrunched myself tighter underneath the sheet and felt the bloodstain, gritty and stiff, with my toe.

"Come on, I'm really tired," Kevin said. He sighed.

I shrugged, but kept silent.

"I don't need this," Kevin said. I thought about the picture on his desk. He rolled over and positioned himself under the comforter.

I stayed still, hoping he would fall asleep. I wished I lived somewhere warm, and I thought about when I was a little girl learning to swim. My mother or one of her friends would put me in our swimming pool, a small above-ground affair, that seemed huge at the time. I would swim to one of them while they kept moving further and further back, forcing me to go farther each time before I ended up in one of their arms. It was the idea that I would end up somewhere safe that kept me going, and I knew that's what my last boyfriend was, the refuge that I kept trying to reach and never could. Without someone coaching me through the water, I couldn't conceive of what would make me want to keep going.

I looked over at Kevin, predictably asleep, and felt the bitter aftermath of something longed for, but ill-considered, the way you find leftovers - - indifferent at best, repulsive at worst. I closed my eyes and waited for the morning.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Jazz is not just music, it's a way of life, it's a way of being, a way of thinking. . . . the new inventive phrases we make up to describe things -- all that to me is jazz just as much as the music we play." Nina Simone

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Shawn Of The Dead

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


the walking man said...

What a strange turn in Alexa's night. Michelle you have the imagination and insight of a thousand Brahmans.

Wonderful excerpt.



Brian in Mpls said...

Sinnerman where you going run to?

Anonymous said...

Stonewall them, Winged Wheelers!!!--JLCGULL

Charles Gramlich said...

"Closed my eyes and waited for morning." Great line. For me, though, sleep is a great escape. I close my eyes and sleep, and dread the awakening of morning.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of stone walls, if you know what I mean.--Rodney Dangerfield

Lana Gramlich said...

Shaun of the Dead was hysterical. Write on, woman. :)