I. She paced around her studio apartment on the ninth floor–the top of the building–closest to God. She wore all white. She couldn’t sleep; she couldn’t eat. Her bones poked through her skin, her clothes. I could see her shoulder blades push through like small wings, the coccyx like the beginning of a tail. There are cameras here. They are recording me. They watch me all the time. Who? She couldn’t tell me. The devil was there and we had to leave. Inside her bathroom she locked the door and read the bible aloud. I waited on the couch. She didn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep. The holes in the wall she covered with tape. This is how they know what we do. The man at the Catholic bookstore in Wicker Park gave her prayers to read, candles to burn, told her to get rid of all of her dark clothes. During a seance he saw the evil spirits leave her. It’s black body escaping from her mouth–choking her like smoke. I feel better now. I feel good. She doesn’t eat; she doesn’t sleep. I follow her to the roof, afraid she will try and jump. I am afraid she is leaving. She is gone.
II. Three years gone, vanished. He must’ve cheated on me 10 times probably many more than that. He brought the girl from New York back to our bedroom. Fucked her on our bed. Didn’t even change the sheets. I found her business card in his coat pocket; I could smell her perfume on the pillow. I ignored it. I let it happen. I thought if I let him do this he would love me more–he would be able to see that I loved him no matter what. But, it tore him apart more than me. He couldn’t stand himself and I could tell. He could barely look in the mirror. He couldn’t even touch me. He made himself sick and he drank everything. Stoli. Macallan. Taaka. I hope the straight liquor burned his throat. I imagine it was the only way he could quiet his mind–the only way he could sleep at night. His made him liquid, made him transparent, he disappeared. He was insatiable. Not enough liquor and not enough women. Not enough. Not enough in any room, in any bar, in any night. And then he crashed. Crashed his car on a freeway off ramp. Drove it right into the San Elijo Lagoon. The 1998 Toyota Camry filled with water and mud. He swam back to the shore and walked home soaking wet. I was the car. I was full of mud and stuck. I had been that way for three years. 1095 days of liquid dirt. 26280 hours. 1,576,800 minutes lost. I left the next day.
III. Jake collected old motorcycles and fixed them up–made them go faster than they were built to. The first day of summer he took me out on an old Triumph, all black and stripped of anything that could weigh it down. I touched the sides of semi-trucks with my palm of my hand. I imagined the ground warm beneath us. He got the bike up to ninety-five and I closed my eyes. The world would make whatever it wanted of me. I was a piece of driftwood out in the Pacific; a stray cat prowling the night; a weather ballon floating off into the atmosphere. That afternoon Jake proposed. He was drunk and feeling good and I was drunk too. It was a Thursday and we both had the day off. Something had happened at the factory; a woman caught her hand in a machine and lost two fingers. They closed for the day. I had called restaurant–35 on the books–I wasn’t needed. We drank beer all afternoon it the small backyard where I planted crook-necked squash and heirloom tomatoes. I watched the bees kiss the flowers and move on. One flower to the next. Taking their nectar away. It was five o’clock and I said yes. He pulled me inside and lifted my shirt over my head. Unbuttoned my pants and pulled them down but, not off. We made love on the kitchen counter and I was his. I was his again and again, and I would be his for the idea of forever.
This was inspired by the idea of momento mori and the painting that we looked at in class a week ago. I also was inspired by a dance performance by the choreographer Joe Goode. This idea that everything will eventually fall apart–the idea that nothing lasts is both scary and exhilarating. I hope that these ideas come through in these three very short stories.