He Promised

You stand there, a frayed corpse of only twenty-three long years, watching the world through a pair of eyes that are looking everywhere except anywhere.

Waiting.

Your scattered mind is still working, all five dull senses taking in the sharp outlook of a nameless morning of a month you can't remember: steel-colored skyline overhanging the shadier part of a town you can't get rid of because no matter how fast you run, it follows you everywhere you go [white trash trailer park trampstamp beat-up ford pickup truck leather seats love-making on cotton sheets stained blue from all the tears you've cried over the years he's hated to love you and you've hated to love him]; fresh drops of rain and gasoline stinging your nostrils; small gasps of laughter too loud, too real on a day like this, pounding against your eardrums in a constant thwack, thwack, thwack; the cold air weaving under your too-short skirt and too-tight blouse (you knew you'd always end up like your mother one day) through your bones. A walking mannequin frozen from the inside out.

You rock on your blistered heels, back and forth, anxious to see the man's high cheekbones poking out from his pale face. He's inside the gas station, your only ride home, like he always is every Saturday morning after you've done your rounds the night before. But this time, it's different, something happened and it is called Michael and, oh God, he's dead and you're still fucking here living, breathing. Alive…

The hole in your stomach pollutes your insides, weaves a web from black-blood cell to black-blood cell—internal bleeding from a split artery, brain hemorrhage, poor bastard drowned in his own blood, D.O.A. at the hospital… but none of this means anything because that's just what happened, that's what the police officer who knocked on your apartment door at seven this morning said (fucking lied through his teeth)—a thought that makes your stomach drop to your toes, esophagus burning with bile you can't throw up…

No. No. No. You don't let yourself think about it. You can't! You won't! But you want to. Oh, God, you want to! Every fiber of your being physically aches for just a glimpse of his high cheekbones jutting out from under taut skin; the flicker of his eyes, the color of the Mediterranean Sea looking onto everything else and then yours, finally yours, tracing your swollen lips, large orbs undressing you slowly, inch by inch, always so slowly no matter how much you begged; a second of being held in long arms, the muscles strong and tense, twisting to form a small piece of heaven—yours; the small waft of aftershave and chocolate and cigarette smoke swirling round and round your head and flooding your nostrils, so heavy it is intoxicating; and then his lips, oh, Mary Mother of God pray for our Sinners now and at the Hour of their Death, his lips, bow-shaped and ripe-red and plump—there's no other word to describe it—liquor sweet and whiskey sour—touching yours—it is euphoric, a feeling you've never felt before, not once in your life, not once with another man—irrevocably indescribable—a drug that you cannot get enough of, and though it poisons you every hour of every second of every day, you cannot and will not ever get enough. Beautiful, so beautiful… that man is a train wreck, and like one, you cannot look away for fear of missing the aftermath. You should not dare to.

The hole in your body and the one in the sky gets bigger, the size of the crater scientists' suspect are going to kill the human race within years. Two sleeted-coal shades of sky darker and he still is not in front of you, fingertips barely-there-touching your elbow, guiding you across the parking lot to the passenger door of his pick-up truck… he's always gentle with you, the one thing you hate the most about him. Or love. Yes, love, you could never hate a beautiful man like him, but anyhow; when you are wrapped in his arms under layers and layers of blankets hours later in his bed, muscles burning off the rush of his only moments before making love to you, a dirty, fragile, ugly thing as you are, after asking almost fifty times if you are alright—are you sure? We don't have to do this anymore. I'll let you rest, I will—you always tell him no in that lazy half-asleep-way and whisper no [I could never rest without you (because that's how they do it in the movies)] and swallow his lips between yours and that's when he bites with his teeth and digs with his tongue and scratches with his nails at flesh that hasn't belonged to you in years.

But this wasn't part of the deal, you remember distinctly like tomorrow. He promised.


author's note: this one is for you, Jake&Justin. No matter how hard I try I can't look either of you in the eyes because it hurts, i'm drowning in this… this guilt… for you, for your mom, for the rest of our family… it's like… like, if i don't get out of this soon—somehow—i think i'll be eaten alive. God, i cannot even fathom how much pain you both are in right now, and will be in for the rest of your lives. fuck, i don't know why i wrote this anyways… i hope, if anything, you know that i drank and cried. to you. for you. because i love you both. So much. and I know that sometimes, sometimes that still isn't enough and never will be. But I hope right now, for now, anyway, that it is.