I walk by the Wiilams-Sonoma display window advertising spring pastel crockery and immediately I say to myself, “yes, it would be nice to have a saffron yellow soup tureen or a Dutch oven in lilac or a set of plates with the stencil of a daisy-sniffing rabbit on them. Why not? What human being wouldn’t want to have this? I mean, really, I have an indigo blue soup tureen and I have plates with flowers on them, but nary a dish in my cupboard has a rabbit on it. And a ceramic trivet in blush, for the spring time, wouldn’t that impress the boyfriend to see that on the counter supporting a dish of risotto still warm from the oven? Standing here in the bitter cold, fingerless gloved hands tight around my backpack strap, I feel somehow better and more warm thinking about soups and stews and salads in Williams-Sonoma pastels. And it’s good I set example for liz because one day she will be here to pick out items for the wedding registry to celebrate her marriage to a fine young man who is smart and kind and from a good family of moderates and liberals — an upbringing that renders him able to appreciate the subtle balance of Liz’s womanism, scholarship, and need for a pretty yet smart kitchen.” I am so far down the rabbit hole that I am almost buttoning the hooks on the back of my kid’s vintage wedding gown when a pre-set alarm on my phone buzzes, alerting me her college’s financial aid deadline is Tuesday and that FAFSA says no work study and no brand new pink trivet for my risotto dishes. And so I turn from the window display and the dreams of a foolish woman and shuffle over to the bookstore where I will charm a barista into honoring my free coffee coupon, two weeks expired.
some nights i feel them. a gentle lilting of the hairs on the back of my neck where i was first bitten, decades ago, but i don’t see them. not like
i used to. not since high school. not since james. the redhead with eyes like a field of wheat and pale skin that shimmered gold in sunlight. he lived with his father and younger brother in a damp second-floor apartment over someone’s garage. it was all they could afford, he said, since the mother absconded with the savings a week after visiting with a psychic for the first time. despite his heartache, james was patient, great for falling in love with, still i could not make my heart keep him. too fragile, you know the kind, too hungry to be anyone or anything other than himself – shorter, darker with skin like his father and brother, not freckled and fair like his mother. the first time we made love it lasted the whole day – stopping, starting, petting, panting, starting again, laughing, bathing, eating, starting again, “i-love-you-but-wait-okay-go-no-wait-do-you-love-me-swear-you-won’t-tell-anyone-at-school-okay-i-love-you-go-now-oh-God-forgive-me-we-might-die-oh!” afterwards, i sat on the side of his bed, trembling. he was curled on the floor wiping with his hands the warm ribbon of blood trickled from the slender ache between my legs down to my feet. after that, we did it all the time: for hours, seconds, what time would allow, in shower stalls, bathing tubs, the neighbor’s swimming pool, the beach, behind drawn shades and splayed out in open fields. at times, so full with our water, his ginger, my blood, the rutting, i cursed him. i was drunk with us until i wasn’t. at the library one day, we fought. he wanted mexico. tijuana was cheaper than vegas, he said, and no one would check to see whether i was 18. twenty dollars could get us married, a motel room, and a bucket of corona. i did not want that and instantly i told him all my love had left me. i stood there trying to call it back, squinting my face to make tears that wouldn’t come. it was no matter. it was gone. he yelled, blood rising beneath his skin turned him dark and he grabbed my hands in his fists, nothing, it was gone. it couldn’t be helped or i would have helped it. he came to me weeks later, hid behind the wall next to my bedroom window until my parents were away. i kissed him through the window screen, met him in the large pantry beneath the stairs in our kitchen, closed the door and allowed him to undress and mark me so that he could see i carried only the tattoo of his bite. not the love. it was not stowed away in a pocket or tucked behind a zipper, bent in the fold of a cuffed sleeve, or tangled in my hair. it was gone. and just like a smearing of my blood rinsed clean from his dingy bed sheet months before, in the end, it was no matter.
You should do this because it’s fun and who doesn’t love something free (and pink!).
WHAT: Meal Ticket Poetry photo contest.
WHEN: NOW – MONDAY, JAN 14.
WIN: A signed copy of “How to Make Pink Confetti” AND Social Media Promotion to 50k+
RULES: MUST follow @mealticketpoetry3 @cjenkinsiv @catbellypress and post photos inspired by the THEME.
THEME: What keeps you up at night/What’s your insomnia/Capture your apparition.
For more ways to share and win shoutouts, artwork or promotion for your talent or business:
Daily Meal Ticket: http://j.mp/mtII*
Meal Ticket Poetry Creator: http://www.cambridgewrites.com