like daddy like son

Cont. of “The One”

Sometimes Harold likes to take a walk around the block. He notices that Mrs. Lee’s garden is in full bloom and that baby birds are learning to fledge. He sees Mr. Wilson’s dogs lay in the sun. Sandy isn’t outside, but that’s okay. She’s probably out with her mama grocery shopping. Maybe when they get back, Harold can go over for some ice cream. Ms. Armstrong was always so kind and always smelled nice. Harold wished that he had a mom like that.

When Harold asked his daddy how he was born, his daddy always tells him he was born out of pure love. When Harold asks where his mama is, his daddy always lowers himself to eye level and places his right pointer finger on Harold’s chest and say that she’s right there in his heart. There are pictures of her and his father around the house. They’re happy and smiling. Harold thinks that his daddy should smile like that more often, but he doesn’t know how.

Harold notices that his father looks at Sandy’s mama in a funny way. Frank crinkles his nose and always comments that the Lord don’t make them the same no more. Harold asks his daddy what he means by that, and his father looks down filled with sad eyes.

“Well, your mama was an angle. Complete angel. That lady over there is no good. No husband and no one to take care of her and that girl over there. It’s a wonder how she’s able to afford that house over there. She’s probably a slut.”

Harold doesn’t know what a slut is, but he knows that it’s not good. Suddenly, he doesn’t like the way that Ms. Armstrong smells. She’s always wearing those low cut dresses and wearing too much makeup. Harold hopes that Sandy doesn’t grow up to be like her mom, but maybe it’s too late.

“Your Mama is a slut!”

“NO, SHE’S NOT!”

Sandy slapped Harold across the face and ran into her house. They haven’t spoken in a few days, but Harold knows she’ll come around. Every time they get in a fight, all he has to do is keep following her around until she gives in. He pushes her to the ground because that’s how boys are told to let girls know they like them. Maybe he’ll just go over and pretend to like Ms. Armstrong to save Sandy. After all, if there’s no man in the house, Harold thinks, who’s going to keep Sandy in line?

The One

Frank met Linda on a warm summer day at the local pool. Well, met isn’t the correct word. He saw her. He saw her from behind the wheel of his 1976 Jeep Cherokee. Her hair was longer then, legs leaner, soft porcelain skin. She had a youthful glow. Linda stood atop of a lifeguard stand, pointing at a bratty boy with sandy hair and bright blue swim trunks. It was then he knew—he had found the one.

It took several weeks of talking to himself in the mirror before he could introduce himself. He would stand there, shoulders back, and run his hand through his thinning hair line. There was nothing particularly handsome, but there wasn’t anything particularly damaging. Frank knew that he was an average man, but average was good. Average meant that he could just blend in. Frank enjoyed being able to blend it

Linda was the opposite. She was the life of the party, and although she didn’t have a very pretty face, all of the boys would crowd around her. Linda was eighteen and fresh out of high school. She hadn’t noticed Frank at first. He was just another older man who would come and lay out in the sun and doze off. Then, one day when she was switching out with Franny, Frank approached her. It was strange at first, but she took a liking to him. His eyes were soft and kind, and his voice was never raised. He was safe.

The two went to drive-in movies, shared milkshakes, swam in the shallow waters off the Florida Keys. They talked about the birds and the way the clouds moved across the sky. They talked about sea shells and the salt that collected on the back of leaves on white mangroves. They talked about how she felt stifled by her family and how she was never going to turn out like her mom.

Lately, Linda has been looking rather dull. Her hair has been shaved off, and her skin looks sickly. Scabs encrust her wrists and ankles. They fall off prematurely, and blood drips down onto the floor. Has it been several weeks, or months, or years? She’s not sure anymore. Her body aches, and she’s not sure if the last period she missed was because of the physical stress or if she’s pregnant again. She prays that she’s not—she doesn’t even know what happened to her last.

Frank is happy. He has a wife and a child, and there’s nothing more in the world he can ask for. Work has been steady, and although Linda gets on his case now and then, nothing can come between the love they have for one another. Afterall, he always knew she was the one.

 

8.12.17

You don’t love him

You don’t love him. At least, this is what you tell yourself as you drift off to sleep after a thirty minute fuck. If you loved him, you would have cum. If you loved him, you would let him fuck you with the lights on. You don’t, so you don’t. After nine years, fifty-six countries, and two affairs, it’s a wonder why he hasn’t left, but he hasn’t. Instead, your head is resting on his chest on a bed in a hut on an island off the coast of Malaysia. He won’t leave you because you hold a promise of a future, a family, a foundation for a fantasy—not that he has said any of this to you.

The preen-up will be over in another year or so, and that’s when you plan to pack your bags and never look back. But why leave? You don’t have anywhere in particular to go, and you don’t have any family or friends to see. Do you return to a city in a country you’re familiar with and know the streets by heart? Or try to establish roots somewhere else? You don’t have any remarkable skills, but blond hair and blue eyes will get you almost anywhere nowadays. Besides, with a cool two-hundred and fifty-six million dollars, you could go anywhere in the third world. Maybe take on a lover, or two, or four. Why not? You’ve wasted most of your youth fucking a man that thought your clit had too many turns like a rubrics cube and when you found someone who could handle it just right, you suddenly moved. You’re not sure if he ever found out, but you’re also not particularly interested in asking. Some things are better left unsaid.

How would he take it? Did he think that after ten years you’d change your mind and fall in love and say yes to numerous children he asked for? Four girls and three boys? Or maybe it was four boys and three girls? It’s been a while since he’s brought it up. He knows better than to ask anymore. Would they look more like you or him? Not that the children would be attractive, your genes could only cover up so much.

Time passes, and your mind starts to quiet itself, and you can hear the waves lap at the sand and the wind caress the leaves of trees. Maybe you won’t leave him. It hasn’t been a particularly hard or long life. And who knows, maybe you do love him after all.