Reasons To Be Beautiful

By Domino

Email in care

(Azurenon is not the author, but your message will be passed along)


This story is about a heterosexual wife and mother, who is bored with her everyday life, until a neighbor (single female) moves in next door, adding a bit of spice to her other mundane existence.

This is a short story, about 15 pgs give or take and strictly Original fiction; no uber Xena here.

Contains male/female and female/female sexual relationships. Not a lot of sex, but it's there.

For those looking for romance and a happy ending... not here, however. Sorry.

Love hangs herself

With the bed sheets in her cell

Threw myself on fires for you

10 good reasons to stay alive

10 good reasons I can't find

His kiss was like cardboard, or maybe the stuffed animal I used to practice on when I was twelve. I tried to remember a time when it had felt like kissing a man; when it had been animated and meant something. His tongue was thick and warm, but it was a foreign object. My body warred, wanting to reject it, wanting to embrace it. My mind quite simply didn't care. I wondered if the reaction of my body was a reproductive response to stimulus, if it was nature's trick in order to insure that a reasoning mind's biological imperative to procreate was not ignored. I wondered if I had remembered to put fabric softener in the last load of laundry. I wondered if I had any bullion cubes tucked into a cupboard somewhere; they would add a nice flavor to the rice Martha Stewart had assured me was the perfect compliment to the honey glazed pork chops I had in the broiler. I wondered if Cruz would be home in time for dinner. I wondered if the vegetable was burning. I almost missed it when he stopped kissing me.

He disappeared into the vacuum of the television room and ESPN and I rescued my peas from immolation to the gods of the open range. Did anyone really like peas? Sure, they were edible...but like? I thought about it a moment: sad, green, globular orbs. Richard's mother slapped hunks of butter on them until they swam in an unattractive, yellowy soup. I hadn't used to do that. I also hadn't used to fold socks into perfect round balls, fishcakes hadn't always been Thursday's weekly fare, and once upon a time I did not know how to crochet. I conceded that I had very possibly become Richard's mother...without the sciatic problems.

        "Mom!" the bellow announced my fourteen-year-old son nanoseconds before his moose-like tread gave him away. I wondered when I had stopped thinking of him as a miracle and began thinking of him as a noisy stranger who never stopped eating and left his gym socks in abstract locations.

        "Cruz, leave your shoes on the service porch!" I bellowed back. The nice soccer mom with the eighties perm had given him a ride from practice, which meant he probably had yet to discard his cleats. The super secret third eye mothers get when their children turn about a year and a half provided me the opportunity to see his disgusted huff of a sigh and disgruntled eye roll—as if I did not have the chance to see it live and in person a good thirty times a day—through the wall behind the refrigerator.

        "What's for dinner?"

        "Pork chops."

        My son's dark, spiked head popped ferret-like out from behind the doorframe leading into the laundry room/service porch. "Did you make rice? Because I've got to have rice, Mom."

        "Yes, I made rice," I rolled my own eyes, not caring if he saw it or not. The little bastard was in his Asian phase right now. Half-white, speaking barely three words of any recognized Asian dialect, the closest Cruz came to genuine culture was recently binge eating a lot of rice, hanging out with Koreans, Philippinos, a few Japanese kids, and reading Honda Tuner with the avid fanaticism of a barely pubescent teen who can't even drive yet.

        I served rice and peas for dinner to make both of the men in my life happy. Cruz could barely eat the rice because of the beef flavoring brought by the bullion seasoning; real Asians eat white rice, he informed me. Richard was a real Asian, but he ate his peas in carefully measured bites; a little butter-soup escaped the confines of his spoon and slid down the corner of his mouth.

        He had French kissed me today. Did that mean he wanted sex?

        I cut my pork chop into tiny geometric cubes. It was dry and tough, but sticky with its honey glaze. That was kind of like sex; not dripping, just sticky enough to be moist outside, but stick a fork in me and...

        We had eaten enough. I stood up to gather the plates of the table; caught a glimpse of the picture we made in the full-length mirror by my mother's nice oak hutch. We were the lie of Normal Rockwell—may the bastard rot in hell.

        I had a good husband. I had a handsome son. I had a Buck, the obligatory Golden Retriever outside. I had a nice house in the suburbs of Maryland. I had a white picket fence. My neighbors brought us cookies when we moved in. I had a college diploma tucked away somewhere. I had a good set of china, and lots of lace doilies scattered around the house. I had a fucking mini-van, for Christ's sake.

        I remembered when we had owned a milk-crate instead of an entertainment center, when we had to wrap the TV antenna—or was the plural form 'antenni'—in foil, when our mattress had seen more wear than a Vietnamese hooker. I remembered owning a Volkswagen bus. I remembered thinking duct tape could fix anything. I remembered when Richard and I had still bothered to look at each other. I remembered when I was not a pork chop.

        Richard did want to have sex that night.

        I climbed into bed in my least inspiring flannel gown. Its cut was billowing and high-necked, almost Victorian in style. He spooned against me, his cock stiff and jutting like the prow of a ship, leading the way into the night. He wasn't holding me; he was letting me know what he wanted.

        He teased me for a while, or maybe his aim was just impaired, because he rubbed around for a few minutes before wedging himself inside. I came to the conclusion that we had just had foreplay. My hands reach for their place on his spine, the bony knobs of his vertebrae rolling under my fingers. He sawed back and forth inside me and my body began to react, finding its place in the act. He panted on me, hot, humid breaths forcing their way into my mouth. I lifted my hips, taking him deeper inside. He sped up, his dick shutting down his brain. I groaned as his frantic movements ground his pelvis between my legs like a sporadic vibrator. He jerked inside me, once, twice, thrusting deeper, and then spurted. It felt like warm buttermilk and I gasped. I jerked my hips up sharply to bring myself over. I came. I was unimpressed. I wondered why my body had bothered. I wondered if it was to induce the milking spasms in my vaginal muscles. I wondered if it was Nature's way of insuring that the biological imperative was not ignored. It didn't matter.

        It doesn't matter, I told my body silently. He's fixed.

Give me a reason to be beautiful

So sick in his body, so sick in his soul

And I will make myself so beautiful

And everything I am...

        I brought her cookies on one of my good china plates when she moved in next door.

        I saw the U-Haul truck pull into the McClure's former driveway. It was one of the small ones; a faded mural racehorse strained in profile on the side of the trailer. She got out, a tiny little redhead dressed in black running pants and a black tank top. Two white stripes ran vertically down the outside of the legs; and nobody had hips like that outside of magazines. If she was over twelve, I might have to hate her.

        I peered out my dining room window like the nosy neighbor on Bewitched. I saw nice arms, and a bright red and green and gold snake wrapped around her left bicep. I saw flame red hair that had to be out of a Clairol bottle. I wondered where her parents were.

        Her parents never showed. I guessed maybe she was not twelve.

        Cruz had a soccer game, so I didn't get around to making cookies until the following Monday. When I did, they were white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Yes, it was just a fancy way of doing chocolate chip...but cookies say a lot about a person. Oatmeal is boring, chocolate chip is passé, white chocolate macadamia nut is passé with a twist, and that was me in a nutshell. So what if the twist was mostly in my own mind? There was a part of me that still read romance novels and knew that I, just like the Lady Gwendolyn St. Eire, would have kneed the dastardly but dashing pirate "Lance" in the privates the first time he tried to ravish me, and that I, just like the Lady Gwendolyn St. Eire, would have eventually succumbed to his throbbing manhood and turgid desire. It was the part of me that knew I was more than just a pork chop, that I had a twist, even if it were only in my own thoughts.

        I was babbling to myself, nervous as usual at the prospect of meeting someone new. I fortified myself with the knowledge that I made excellent cookies. I worried that maybe she would keep my good china plate. It would break one of my eight settings.

        She answered the door before I was ready. I had been standing on the porch too long, almost deciding that she was out or busy. I had decided to ring the doorbell once more just to be certain and my finger was out, poised to punch the button one more time, when the door swung open and she stood there.

        It was hard not to stare. She was not what usually moves into cul-de-sacs in Maryland suburbia.

Flame colored hair was what would always come to mind when I thought of her. A little past the shoulder, long, straight layers framed her face and brought out the milky complexion of a true redhead. Her eyes were hazel and blue and green and deep set, her mouth full, with an elfish mobility and curl at the corners. She was not as young as I had thought; lines as delicate and fine as a Chinese fan unfurled at the corner of her eyes and bracketed her mouth in something between dimples and laugh lines.

        Her mouth was not smiling. The quizzical, half-ironic smirk she had worn upon answering the door was melting away like an ice cream scoop running down the sides of the cone. She looked at me like I had punched her. I thrust out my plate of cookies in the universal sign of neighborly peace.

        "Welcome to the neighborhood," I said.

        She looked at me blankly.

        "Hi," I tried again.

        Her expression still looked shell shocked. Maybe she was from DC, were your neighbors wanted to mug you, not bring you baked goods.

        "I made you cookies," I said, wondering if she could talk. I tried to remember whether or not I remembered any sign language from college. I was fairly sure I could still finger spell...

        She finally accepted the outstretched cookies, murmured a subdued 'thank you'. I thought she was weird.

        She came to my house the next day, my good china plate tucked under her left arm like a football. She was like an entirely different person. She apologized for being such an idiot the other day; she had been having sinus trouble and was half-comatose from a Benadryl overdose. She smiled, she laughed. She complimented me on my cookies. Her nose crinkled at the bridge when she thought I'd said something funny. Her eyes were mostly blue that day, bright and inquisitive.

        She still looked out of place. She had a little gold hoop in her right eyebrow and I knew at least one tattoo, hidden today by the sleeves of her white knit polo shirt. Her jeans were faded and comfortably fitted, rolled inexplicably halfway up her calf. A white pua shell necklace encircled her neck, a brown beaded anklet rested just above her right foot, and three oblong green and black marbled beads were threaded through a black leather thong to make up her bracelet. She looked like one of those eternally young people who can get away with dressing like a teenager even when they are thirty.

        She was thirty-two and she came back the next day.

        There were a lot of next days.

        Richard did not like her. There was something about the way her mouth curled up naturally into those knowing smirks that grated on him, so eventually I started going over to her house and she stopped coming to mine. Hers was bare, compared to mine. A cheap Ikea couch, a cheaper kitchen table, a mattress on the floor. It was also a hundred times more vivid.

She painted.

        Canvasses peppered her walls: fairy landscapes, craggy glaciers, colors and forms swirling and merging to crash together into a kaleidoscope world that leapt at you in a frenzy a hundred times more compelling than the best art gallery showing.

        Her moods were like her paintings, as sharp and unpredictable as a roller coaster, dipping and swelling from intense passion to whimsical indifference. I had forgotten that side dishes existed outside of white rice and mashed potatoes; she ordered Thai food and laughed when I fried a good many taste buds in one incautious bite.

        Sometimes the way she watched me was almost hungry.

        Richard still watched ESPN.

        One day, in a fit of productivity, Richard painted the garage.

        One day she painted me.

        I knew she was going to do it. She told me...cajoled me, begged me, pleaded with me, actually. When she got like that she was unstoppable, I knew that already. How else do you explain the rollerblading?

        I wore something pretty that day. I brushed my hair with special care. I brushed my teeth with whitening paste, as if one use would make a difference. I brushed them again in a fit of optimism.

        She pulled a blanket over her canvass when the light began to fade. She did that everyday until the picture was done. She finally showed it to me. I was thunderstruck.

        I was also naked.

        I wasn't sure what I had expected. I did not expect to find myself painted in bold, sensual lines. I stood in unselfconscious abandon in a rainstorm, welcoming the rain like a lover. It cascaded over my body in pearly beads and nearly translucent rivulets.

I was curving and smooth and ripe and sexual and she had gotten the color of my nipples exactly right.

        And that was my new awareness.

        It added a new dimension to everything. It was my new secret. The way she saw me, the mirror she had held up to my face. I was not Richard's wife, Cruz's mother, a member of the PTA or the soccer mom with the grass-stains in the carpet mats of her Chevy Astro. I discovered my sexuality and freedom and found someone who liked Hemmingway and could discuss James Joyce and could stand aroused and naked in the rain.

        One night I put curry, chili paste and celery into Cruz's white rice. It bit at my tongue, nipping at it like the sharp, urgent teeth of a lover. It was not Cruz's rice anymore; it was mine. Best of all, Asian kids are supposed to like hot food. I took perverse satisfaction in watching him try to maintain a stoic expression as he ate, and it took Herculean effort to refrain from snickering every time he gulped at his milk.

        One night I took a bubble bath. I touched myself with slow languid hands; let soap slick fingers glide over my nipples until they were aching and peaked; slid my other hand between my legs. I was wet and slippery and my fingers moved smoothly over swollen lips and slipped into frothy depths and circled the place where my flesh strained and quivered until I arched and whimpered and shuddered into an orgasm so intense I convulsed and sat panting, bent over at the waist, feeling the rapid throb of my heartbeat in places a good deal below my chest.

        One night Richard began touching me. I let him, because it's what we did, the way things worked, and it seemed only fair. I pretended he was the rain. He came. It was like hot Champaign erupting inside of me, jettisoning a million, tiny, impotent little bubbles. That night my body did not bother trying to go with him. My biological imperative had finally realized the truth...he was fixed.

        The next day I went over to her house. We ate cheese and French bread and apples and drank a heady, tart white wine on the floor while watching one of her sharply unfocused artsy movies. She watched me suck an errant drop of wine off my fingers after pouring myself another glass; her gaze was funny—hungry and maybe a little angry.

        I realized that I was wet, and that was the second mirror she held up for me to see myself in.

Miles and miles of perfect skin

I swear I do I fit right in

My love burns through everything

I cannot breathe

Miles and miles of perfect sin

I swear I do I fit right in

I fit right in your perfect skin

I cannot breathe


        The music was wild and swirling, crescendo after crescendo building and tumbling down. My head swam with it and I had the oddest maybe my blood was boiling in the cauldron mix of ecstasy and enraged pain and guilt pouring out of the speakers. I shook my head and felt my entire body follow it's dizzy arc. I squinted one eye and tried to judge how much damage we'd done to the tequila bottle on the floor in front of her stereo. I hoped I was merely seeing triplicate, because if we'd really drained three bottles of Jose Cuervo down to barely a fourth remaining, we were in trouble.

        When three of her managed to get to their feet in a drunken lurch, I realized that we were probably safe. When she held out three hands in silent invitation to help me up and I took my best guess and flung three of my own hands at one of them in acceptance, I was fairly certain of it. We made our way to her back porch with interspersed assistance from the walls and her refrigerator. It was the first time I wished she had more furniture. Her cat, Bean, looked at us with implacable feline dislike from the porch railing when we stumbled out; only a cat can turn the act of grooming into a gesture of such immense disdain.

        She pulled a package of somewhat crushed cigarettes out of her back pocket, the effort almost knocking her over. The hot ashy taste burned and coiled its way down my throat; I coughed. She watched me while she smoked and her expression was sober with speculation. I looked away from her suddenly green cat eyes and took a deep breath, hoping to maybe sober up a little. I smelled rain and concrete and suddenly noticed that I was hearing the sharp stab of raindrops against her porch roof.

        I was drunk enough to know exactly what I was doing. I ran out into her yard and stood with my arms open wide, embracing the secret lover she had painted for me. I heard her hiss of breath halfway out into the yard. It sounded like Bean, sharp and feral.

        It was summer; my t-shirt was soaked, my hair plastered back from my uplifted face. I knew when she joined me; her body burned with a heat I could feel several feet away. I looked over my shoulder at her. The rain may have been my secret lover, but she was like a part of it...the flame of her hair rolled back from her forehead and into the black of her tank top like lava from an erupting volcano flowing into the sea. A child of storm, fire and water. If hot geysers of steam had hissed up off of her, I wouldn't have been surprised. She looked at me and smiled, a fiercely joyful baring of teeth. When she held out her hand for me again, I took it, laughing, and let her lead me back into the house.

        I felt giddy, high but not clumsy. I didn't want to lose that so I dropped to my knees and took a long swallow from the bottle. The rim was still salty and the lime I bit into was tart and bitter. I did not question her when she dropped to her knees beside me, not even when I saw the look on her face. She dipped her head for a drink. Her lips closed around my nipple, through my shirt, and she began to suck out every drop of moisture in long, hard pulls of her lips and tongue. I gasped, arched into her, dug my fingers into her hair and pulled her closer. When her teeth scraped over it, I cried out. When she began to worry at the nipple with her teeth between sucking, I would have done anything to make her not stop. My heart was slamming like a racquetball against the wall of my ribs and if she had been more gentle in her caresses, they would have been drowned out by it's pounding.

        Her tongue was smaller and more agile than Richards. It was a ridiculous thought, but when she kissed me, it was the first thing to come to mind. Her mouth was sharp with the taste of limes also—a lime flavored lip-lock—they were better than lemons. Lemons could be compromised into lemonade. Limes were prickly and old men and dogs. I kissed her back and admitted right there that I had been thinking about it for a long time now.

        Our attempts to undress each other were as hurried and uncoordinated as horny teenagers in a Buick at prom. I think. I had not lost my virginity at prom; I had lost it to Bill, my first college boy romance, after seeing Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom at the Cineplex. In a way, I suppose this was losing my virginity too. For a moment I was alarmed by the thought that I had forgotten condoms. Then I looked at her, full lips parted in a heavy, rhythmic breathing pattern, hazel eyes dark with arousal, and I felt her pressed against me, all firm muscle and hard curves and soft breasts and skin, tiny and as piano-wire tense and wiry as a cat.

        Her ceiling was speckled with a horrible acoustic that looked like cottage cheese spread over it in liberal clumps and her mouth drew at my neck with vamperic intensity. I knew I'd have a hickey; I hadn't had a hickey in eight years. I wondered where my brain had gotten off too, because surely sex on the floor after too much tequila with a woman who lived next door while Richard and his buddies were on their fishing trip and Cruz stayed the night at his cousin Rob's house was a bad idea. It had to rank right up there in the top three things I shouldn't do...right after mainlining heroin.

        The thing was, her skin was burning into mine like a small portable furnace and her mouth was hot and wet, leaving cool snail trails down my skin and sharp, pleasurable pains where she nipped at me, and her hands skimmed over me with the dexterity and smoothly coordinated movements she afforded her paint brushes and canvasses and I wondered if this could be another painting: her and I, sticky with tequila and lust, on the floor, making alternative romance novel love. Her mouth was on my side, sucking on the place my waist curved into hip, then over, in humid, open-mouthed kisses. I shook like cafeteria jell-o squares when she tongued my navel, wondered what I was supposed to do. I knew where she was going...but did I simply open my legs? Was there some sort of protocol for this sort of thing? Richard and I had long since moved past oral sex, him sixteen years ago, me after Cruz turned seven and I became a MOM. Moms don't suck cock.

I tried not to jerk when she speared her tongue inside me. I bit off a groan when she rubbed her tongue up and over me and back down, scrubbing it over my entrance. She gripped my hips in her hands and tugged on me...hard. So I gave into her and let myself be the woman in her picture. I moaned when she sucked on me and cried out her name when she stuffed her fingers up inside me like I was a Thanksgiving turkey. I couldn't focus very well on what she was doing. I kept expecting Richard's well-rehearsed movements and it felt like being thrown suddenly onstage with an actor who likes improvisation; my body kept missing its cues. I didn't care. When I did come, it was in volcanic proportions that had me shaking and shuddering like an epileptic in a seizure.

I felt clumsy when I tried to touch her back. Her body felt odd under my fingers. I had almost forgotten that sometimes you touch people when you make love, you do not merely lay on your back like a beached whale, too crushed by sudden gravity to do more than flop sporadically and thrash your tail in hope when the waves break against your side. My fingers floundered over her body in a drunken weave that suggested not driving tonight would be a good idea. The allure of her body's roads and paths beckoned me on anyway.

Her bones were sharp under my fingers, the meat of her firm but not covering them quite enough. Nothing about her was thick enough to be a man. Her breasts were soft, and her nipples were not the useless kernels of a man. She demanded more of me with the tenses lines of her body and when I put my fingers inside her she was bubbling hot, clamping around them like a swallowing throat. Her skin tasted like the sea and between her legs was a taste like oysters or blood, thick and salty and slick. I fit inside her and on top of her and beside her and I couldn't breathe and I didn't think. She cried out sharply, the arch of her body when she came like the sweeping lines of a swan. And I loved her.

Give me a reason to be beautiful

So sick in body so sick in soul

I'll give you my body, just sell me your soul

And everything I am will be bought and sold

And everything I am will turn hard and cold

        I sat in the perfect silence of her living room, and she painted me again.

        We made love between applications of paint. She smeared tribal markings in crimson on my stomach and blue on my back. I traced the snake eating its tail around her bicep. "Oroborous," she told me, "The wheel of time. Eternity." The circuit our mouths formed when fused together felt a lot like that.

        Every afternoon she drew the blanket over her painting and that was the signal for me to traverse the landscape of her backyard over into the winter brown prairie territories of my own. Richard still disappeared into the black hole of ESPN and NASCAR, and Cruz still obsessed over rice and how high he could spike his weirdly cut, blond tipped hair. I could barely see them anymore; they slipped in and out of my reality like errant Star Trek characters.

        One night Richard found a Playboy instead of math homework in Cruz's backpack. He showed it to me and all I could think was that the plastically arranged woman had nice breasts. I had the oddest secret thrill. I liked breasts and we decided to ground Cruz.

        One night Richard began to touch me. I rolled over and got a headache. I did not have a headache the next day when I crossed the boundary of the fence-line and we went rollerblading, nor did I have one when she threw me onto her mattress and showed me her more than passable Hoover impression.

        One day she did not draw a blanket over the painting, but motioned me to her side in front of the easel. I looked at myself in the mirror of her canvass. I was in the sun and smiling and beautiful, and maybe my hair was a little too dark. I kissed her and smiled like the painting; she looked at me with the funny, hungry look that never seemed to go away.

        She fucked me hard and fast in the late afternoon, even though Richard would be home soon. I had to walk home sore, with sticky thighs, and I didn't care. I thought about the picture and made cooked carrots for dinner, instead of peas or corn. My sweater showed cleavage and I walked into the nowhere of the living room with a sway in my hips that had been missing every since I became a wife and didn't need to be alluring anymore.

        Richard looked at me and smiled; I smiled back, as empty-hollow sweet as a chocolate Easter bunny. We rolled our eyes together at the thumping base and posturing male singing voices coming out of the boombox in Cruz's bedroom.

        "You think he'll ever grow out of it?" Richard asked with a resigned amusement.

        I shrugged. "You never see adults listening to that crap...but then, I thought he'd be over the rice by now."

        Richard laughed, one of his real ones. For a moment I remembered why I'd married him. Then a roar from the crowd bunched into the box of ESPN sucked him back into the black hole of the television, leaving a lump of man-flesh sitting in my good recliner from LaZBoy.

I went over early the next morning, right after Richard left for work, leaving a pile of laundry on the floor of the bathroom like a range of small mountains, peaking in smelly gym sock summits. She was still in the shower, but the front door was open. I explored the bookcase in the corner, listening to the shower running...white noise.

She read a lot. She had one photo album. I touched it and thought about pictures of butt-naked redheaded toddlers and first Christmases. I pulled it down and opened it. There she was, tiny and wrinkled and sucking on her fist, probably hours after being born. There she was again, dressed in frilly lace, taking first tentative steps alongside a couch, chubby fingers clutching the edge of the cushion in a death grip. She smiled from another picture, tongue poking out of the space left by the defection of her two front teeth. She stood in a frothy blue prom dress sporting a corsage the size of your average table centerpiece, on the arm of her pimple-faced date. She stood next to me under a tree, laughing and flushed with new love. I was younger and had darker hair; we had never taken a picture together.

A block of ice took up residence in the Igloo cooler of my stomach.

Hey baby, take it all the way down

Hey baby, taste me anyway

You were born

We'll never know...

And fading like a rose

        She didn't bother to deny it. I looked just like her ex-lover. Her lover had died in a car accident exactly nine months ago. She kissed me and I tasted the ashes of ghosts on her tongue. She fucked me hard and fast, the way she did it when I now realized she didn't want to see me. I lay on top of her and touched her back, her skin cold against me. She was still sticky and hot inside, like an apple turnover straight from the oven.

        Wet red hair and turbulent green eyes and an elfish mouth open on gasps that had nothing to do with me. I wanted to open her up and get inside her, drown myself in the sharp jagged reef of her skeleton and sink into the heat of her blood and the pulse of her organs and have her feel me inside her the way she had felt this other woman. I wondered if those kinds of thoughts were what got serial killers started. I wondered why I still loved her.

        One night I made white rice and peas drowning in their buttery-yellow soup and I still didn't feel normal.

Love hates you

I live my life in ruins for you

And for all your secrets kept

I squashed the blossom and the blossom is


Her need tasted like a too-dry gin in my mouth—floral and complex—sucking up all my moisture and breath. The mindless roar of a football game blasted from the living room; I should not be doing this. I didn't listen to me, instead allowed her to thrust her tongue into my mouth, opening for her because that's what I always did, and because it seemed only fair. I knew what day it was, she had told me. Her eyes were clamped shut, but I could see the microwave clock over her shoulder. 6:45 pm, October 18th. A year ago her lover had been ripped to shreds by a savagely jagged windshield and crushed by several tons of merciless steel. The truck driver had tried to pull her out to give her CPR; she didn't look like she was breathing after the battering ram of his 18wheeler. He hadn't meant to tear her throat open on the spiked glass of the windshield. Hadn't realized that one piece was sticking up like that.

Her kiss was acidic. It burned, eating away at me. I took her eggshell skull in my hands and kissed her back, just as fiercely. I wondered if I were to crush it in my palms like a walnut, would I be able to pull out the meat of another woman's memory? I wondered why I still loved her and when love had become as sharp and slicing as a razor blade.

I thought about cookies, and when I had lost my white chocolate and macadamia nut twist. I no longer believed in love as soft and delicate as a rose blossom. I no longer believed in romance novels, the Lady Gwendolyn St. Eire, or her pirate. St. Eire had been raped and her pirate probably had a small dick.

And they say in the end

You'll get bitter just like them

And they steal your heart away

When the fire goes out you better

Learn to fake

It's better to rise than fade away...

Love was something that eventually was bleached away, any colors it left behind ugly and leached of life. The kind of love that did not go away was the kind that fucked you on a bed of broken glass, digging into your skin, a buckshot spray of punctures and slashes.

One day she began painting me again. We made love between applications of paint. I wondered if I had remembered to put the towels in the dryer before I came over. I thought about fixing steaks in Martha Stewart's new marinade when I went home.

One day she showed me the painting. I was wrapped in the boughs of a fairy's fern, smiling in the cool of a forest glade. My hair was still too dark. I smiled like the picture and kissed her back.

She made love to me, soft and slow, like maybe she didn't mind seeing me that day. I wondered when her magic had turned into the sort of purified pain one sees on Christ's face in crucifixion depictions; A flame haired Jesus writhing in redemptive agony under my mouth.

One day I didn't cross the tundra of my backyard into her fairy day I didn't go back.

Hey you were right

Named a star for your eyes

Did you freeze did you weep

Turn to gold, baby sleep

One night Richard smelled like his secretaries perfume.

One night Cruz smelled like pot.

I made chicken and rice and peas and still did not feel normal.

Hey honey mine

I was there all the time

And I weep at your feet

And it rains and rains

        One day she brought me a painting. I was wrapped in a cloak of night, studded with stars. My hair was the right color.

        I loved her.

I didn't believe her.

I sent her home.

The End

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