just in case
A dusty guitar case leans in the corner of my bedroom next to the poker table, a simple reminder that you were once a part of us, and now you are a part of me, and I will keep you here as my last bet. The man’s choice was to remove himself piecemeal. There are stickers all over your guitar; places you’ve been, bars you’ve played, even one from that dive we drove to for hours in the dark. You were angry and intense. As you strummed harder and your voice cracked, you looked into my eyes for three point five seconds. I climbed on the table and danced to your words, your frustration, your dying dream. He is still disappearing one object at a time, but I will fight for your guitar; it will go where my dreams go.
We sat together bracing our feet against the warm asphalt tiles of the roof, sitting closer than we did when we were dating. I started a game of “I remember…I don’t remember…” and two beers in we were talking about our favorite pez dispensers, spyro gyros, and how we made our butterfly yo-yo’s “walk the dog.” When it came time for “I don’t remember,” we sat in silence, feeling the breeze, until you leaned into me and whispered, “I don’t remember why we broke up.” We gasped almost in unison; the burns on our soles became unbearable, and we climbed down the fire escape and into the cool grass.
Sunburn: Trigger Warning
I could feel the raw skin around my ankle like a shackle, a perfect pink design from a roped bracelet being pressed beneath an iron and applied according to directions. Hold down for three seconds longer than you can stand. I felt forgiveness each time the sheets brushed across it, searing my skin again as a reminder. I smiled at our days of summer, temporary tattoos, how your hair would dangle across your face as we peeled them back in anticipation, hoping the colors were bold and didn’t bleed. It turns out they did, just not for us.
Kamea stood under the waterfall as her skin fell off in sheets. She handed a needle to Foster and asked if he knew how to do a straight stitch; he grunted and shook his head mumbling about the “C” he got in Home Economics when he could have been taking Industrial Arts. Foster’s eyes widened, his head nodding to something he heard. Preaching to all three people at the wall of windows, Foster declared to Kamea that she didn’t need her skin anymore -he could turn down the waterfall. She graciously accepted his offer, rolled her skin in felt, and shuffled to the line when the announcement for medications blared across the floor.