Fiction

THURSDAY

Sid had difficulty spotting Corina among the group of kids dressed in the school’s bright uniform of white and blowzy maroon. Sid assumed Corina to have just run into the church, but with her alarm already flagged, she decides to pursue her feeling. Sid’s gut is more sharply aroused now, more than she was accustomed to. She remembers Saul. And feigning calm, Sid decides to end the conversation. This will be her first time inside a church.

She could sense her intrigue with Saul dwindling as she became aware of little else save Corina and the howling warmth within her. She would be more lively and detailed next time. She promised.

She cut him off, “Sorry, Saul.” In her panic she pounced on his cordiality, “S’got to go. Guh bye.”

It felt like a lurch at first. Just so accurately described by the authors in the numerous paperbacks she’d consumed in Corina’s house. It quickly became something else. Even then she thought it was silly, and as she spoke aloud she was surprised by how dry her mouth was, “I am about to be expunged.”

She got sick and one knee buckled shortly. Her mother’s mop hit the floor, filling the spaces between the fingernail size Nineteenth Century tiles. Some of it contained blood.

She was thinking slowly, breathing heavily and moving as if she were no longer Sid. A dangling arm, she watched it swing without compelling it to move, as it reached for the crest of her hijab as if to pull it back, but it instead felt the place on her head where her hair parted…

A FINE ROMANCE

“Roland honey, there you are.” Someone hears a word and thinks of you. Roland wondered what his wife thought just then when she heard he was home. Was she creating fresh images and expectations, or was she revisiting the trunk filled with old memories of varying vintage? Scattered of course, older on top of old with the new interjecting as may. The interspersion of our thoughts tends to diversify our emotions, casting them about like many types of ballast. There is no human catchall for feelings, save the tremulous clink from underneath. Unfortunately we sometimes bargain between feelings and presume oneself, the upbraided and well intentioned self, to overrule the sensitive and nimble and sympathetic self. Our memories join different teams playing on the same ballpark. They’re there somewhere, and naturally, only one batter and pitcher at a time. The arbiter we find is the outsider, usually yelling from the bleachers or stampeding selflessly toward the field. Finger raised, or otherwise, derisively turning the same arbitrarily picked numbers on a rotary phone while the person on the other end spills words over breaths on the other end, our interjector, our lone objector here attempts to raise hell just as much as she wants to kick out all the dust from underneath the carpet, so to speak. Sometimes she is only wearing one shoe.

Roland’s thoughts turned with his attention as he watched his wife approach him. He gauged Cass as if she were much farther away than the hallway’s length. No, it was Roland’s thoughts that where drifting back, making Cass walk farther. Roland fell back into desultory thought.

It occurred at first in increments unfeasible to the human eye or heart. The changes where discrete and well guised. Then, eventually, the changes marked a directional shift to a new destination, To hell with so to speak. I can’t distinguish a sock drawer from Bloomingdales. Why can’t I learn to say I love you if it’s in everything I see? With time, it appeared to Roland that he was always on this course, fraught with peril and tempests. Although his heart pricked less at the thought of her, and the pain subsided for the most part, Roland thought more heatedly now, We needed more contact between us than I imagined. More contact than I would have admitted to. Contact of a certain but diverse type, of course. In its incremental shifts, time managed to smooth out Roland’s despair and pleading desire for change. He never dropped anchor to observe the shifting course around him, because Roland was a man alone, stationary, cast away somewhere. Everything else turned and shifted discreetly, plodding forth as the world does. And his diffidence became in tune with the rotating world around him, and his aggression deflated into wistful lamentations, But lo, there I was minding the current of our emotions as if it were a creek lined with poplars, and all around me others built dikes to keep the tremors of human forces and relations up. Those people existed in a world with dams and oceans, knowing my creek lined with poplars to be a fiction common in books and television. I didn’t distinguish lens from dam, and when the flood came I washed up on a lonely shore with no one except my books and tele…

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