Welcome back, Bloganuary participants! We are in the final stretch! Just five more days to go before we can finally rest.
However, my lack of sleep has nothing to do with Bloganuary and everything to do with the Australian Open.
I woke up early this morning to watch the women’s semifinal matches. The men play tonight/tomorrow morning, and after that, it’s the women’s final on Saturday morning, followed by the men’s final on Sunday. So I will be drifting in and out of sleep every night for the rest of this week.
But that’s not why you’re here today. You’re here because the folks at WordPress want to know “What language do you wish you could speak?”
I still hear Pete’s voice in my head when I knock on Carrie’s front door…
“Remember what happened to Ron?”
First of all, Ron can’t drive. Not a car—he’s totaled three. Not a bike—motored or pedaled. Even walking, he can’t drive. If you want my opinion, bruh was asking to get hit.
And yeah, I know they still haven’t caught the guy who did it and ran and that the description of the car fits Carrie’s Subaru almost exactly, even down to the first three letters on the license plate—Ron passed out before he could read the rest.
I look over my shoulder at her ride parked in the driveway. It does appear to have a sizable dent on the front fender, but that could also be how the shadow hits the hood from the porch light.
Truth is I couldn’t give a damn about Ron. If she did run him over, hey, that just means he’s out of the picture. Besides, she’s told me countless nights that I’m her muse. What has Ron done for her except get caught cheating?
“Why would anyone want to use a turkey baster to get pregnant? Wouldn’t a syringe be easier? Like inserting a tampon?”
And with that, Thanksgiving dinner was ruined. We stood around the dining room table. On it sat a feast from end to end—roasted turkey, honey baked ham, sweet cornbread, mac and cheese, chicken liver stuffing, sweet potato casserole, rice and giblet gravy, and of course the collards.
I knew he was gone when I awoke shivering. Silly me for thinking this time would be different, that a random man you bring home from the bar would have the decency to stay at least until sunrise.
The hardwood floor feels like ice on the bottoms of my feet. I need carpets, but with what money? I’m too cheap to turn the heat on before the first deep freeze. Bedroom slippers will have to do for another month. At least the alcohol lingering in my system keeps me warm from the waist up. What need do I have for a man?
We didn’t get that far. The bed frame parts are scattered across the floor, the box spring is propped up against the hallway wall outside the bedroom. The mattress—where I lie on my back, knees drawn to the ceiling—blocks the front door.
I squeeze the back of my thighs to still my legs from shaking, but it’s no use. I can feel his tongue down there, and the memory of it sends me over the edge. Philip’s tongue has the strength of an ox, the prehensility of that of a giraffe. His mouth reaches places Levon can’t even dream of, and Levon loves to boast about how big he is, how far he extends when he’s hard.
I hear the shower turn on down the hall. He must want me to join him. What other need would he have to wash? We haven’t gotten dirty . . . not yet . . . and we kind of have this thing with showers.
She strikes the match. A spark of light ignites the end of the cigarette perched between her lips.
“I wish you wouldn’t smoke,” he says. “It’s not ladylike.”
“What do you know of being a lady?” She blows smoke in his face, laughs when he inhales and coughs for air.
She needs something to laugh at. After the week they’ve had. Police in and out. Guests confined to their rooms. Bodies in bags wheeled through the rotating doors.
It’s the first day she doesn’t see a news van camped outside her hotel. She’ll savor this moment of peace and quiet.
“Why do you think he did it?” he asks.
She shrugs, takes another drag. “Why does any husband kill his wife?”
“But Maria, too?”
She closes her eyes. She will choose to ignore the pain in his voice at the mention of the second-floor maid. Especially since she’s not supposed to know about the affair. As far as he, the authorities, the hotel guests, and the rest of the staff are concerned, Maria was strangled after she walked in on the man finishing off his wife.
It was only a dream, but when I see him in the checkout line, three aisles down, my heart quickens, and I remember his eyes shooting bullets through my chest, two thumbs applying pressure to my throat.
The air in here is stifling. Leaving my groceries on the conveyor belt, I dash for the exit, nearly colliding with a woman steering two shopping carts, one carrying the three children who will devour the food in the other within a week.
The humidity of the late summer afternoon is a surprising relief to my lungs. But the reprieve is brief.
I hear the whisper of sliding doors behind—he’s followed me.