Written for Trifecta.
I tell him before the curtains open. He doesn't flinch.
During intermission, he turns his head as if this limited range of motion requires infinite strength. He looks at me through tinted eyeglasses, and he says, “so you’re rich. You’ve been rich for two years, and you thought it best not to tell me. You let me waste away my life driving that truck until I went near-blind. Is that correct?”
I return his gaze, black glass reflecting black iris. Resentment pressed against aversion like lovers meeting in a kiss, or a blow.
“I’m telling you now.”
He rises, knocking his glass onto the floor with a rogue piece of fleshy hip, my relief as intense as a choir of angels. The lights dim, and I grasp my own wine glass, hollow yet whole, transfixed by the performance and the unfettered existence unfolding at my feet.
Relief relaxes into a giddy, heady, blurry evening. I crush the shards of Leroy’s wine glass with the heel of my boot, and then I introduce myself to the piano player. He lives alone in an apartment downtown, in the top half of a high rise. Before he succumbs to sleep, we share a cigarette and he says I should make myself at home.
I sit, pressed against the cold window, gray plumes curling from my mouth and memories sailing through my head, everything dissolving into the invisible wind that blows on the other side of the thick glass. I memorize the panoramic view, balls of lights piercing the absence of light; I suppose this is all our universe is.
When the sun rises, I do not mourn the end of night, the pastel glow melting the rooftops into one continuous dream. I am ready to start again.
(Adapted from my current manuscript in process.)