Drama Romance Funny

Though Teddy had tried, Rosa refused his attempts to drive her to her mother’s funeral one weekend, firm on her decision instead to go to the concert she’d been excited about for weeks. 

Chester Stinson, a blonde haired teen idol within the community was the frontman of ‘the Christ Incarnates’ , and Rosa had decided that if she could score some over the counter painkillers or some MDMA for him and the band mates, maybe she would have her way in. 

Teddy had a rare stirring of his conscience when he had heard about Cathy’s death, noticing a long dormant, long repressed image of love, long marred and blurred by his alcohol binges and sexual promiscuity. He pictured the tiny Cathy in his minds eye, walking down the aisle in wavy white strides, her thin arm linked with her father’s, as her father walked her, or rather, with his limp from the bullet wound he’d suffered fighting overseas, she walked him down the aisle. The warm, inviting, roasted chestnut round eyes, the way they so fully absorbed him into their burning inner spheres as they locked upon him, reminded him of the way Rosa sometimes glanced at him from the couch beside him. It was in his daughter, Teddy had finally come to remember the love he had betrayed and forgone and drowned away for all those years, and suddenly the love had clutched him, not with grace, but with absolute vengeance, with a bitter merciless assault.

During The weeks since Kathy’s death, not much had changed at Teddy’s luxurious bungalow abode, Teddy and Rosa continued their usual routines of eating in front of the television, going about on their nighttime escapades, and enjoying mostly silence aside from the flipping television channels, the debating over what to eat or watch, the chewing, Teddy’s snores, and the occasional laughter from a particularly funny scene, Rosa’s falsetto giggling counterbalanced with Teddy’s deep ,bellowing belly roars.  

Sometimes, as he and Rosa burned the midnight tube-oil, Teddy could see his once vibrant, dancing beauty, his sweetheart, Cathy, his Coney Island baby, swirling around his mind, in palaces of gold with roses burning a blazing red fire into his chest. His head would swell and he would sweat with grief, lamenting as the commercials for vacuum cleaners and car insurance dragged on, he felt the restless inertia of undigested guilt rising through his chest like razor blades. Nevertheless, with the crack of a beer and the flick of a match he was quickly spared his judgment, granting him eternal salvation, or at least until the next commercial break.

“You good, hon?”

He would snort at the couch next to him where Rosa lay nodding off in the dim blue glow. Outside the waves on the lake thrashed against the shore, impossible to hear over the static signals and the plastic thoughts and the poorly scripted dialogue colliding in the room between them. A fly buzzed through the various bags containing empty containers, splatters of mayonnaise, unopened ketchup packets and soiled napkins. Ron, the coke snorting house cleaner was due back any day for a good top to bottom. He was always a welcome distraction from monotony, and from flies.  

“Get you anything, hon?”

Teddy’s guilt could be heard over the whirring fuzzy signal tones, the buzzing flies, the used car salesman. 

Nevertheless, the guilt didn’t reach Rosa, didn’t touch her bosom, didn’t fuck her eardrum, didn’t stab her soul, didn’t taint her blood, didn’t tare her stomach to shreds, for she’d inherited none of it. It didn’t matter that Rosa hadn’t sent that letter to her mother, it didn’t matter Rosa had neglected to speak the truth, the truth of her mother’s virgin-like innocence, the truth of her fathers mob ties, the truth of why she hated watching ‘law and order’. It was as if a chip had been removed from her brain’s circuitry, the chip containing her mother, the configuration of her circular brown orbiting eyes, her exquisite, luscious pink cushiony lips, her soft as earth, motherly tender, toffee tasting skin. 

She didn’t see her mother pushing her in the shopping cart, letting her pick the cereal, simply based on the prizes, she didn’t see her mother taking her to drawing class on a snowy Saturday morning, the one morning she had taken off from the hospital, solely for Rosa’s sake. None of those realities were realities in Rosa’s realm, in her mind of lingerie and underage rock shows, and bubblegum magazines and scootering through parking lots and getting drunk and intoxicated and fucked as much as possible. Yes the guilt in Teddy’s voice could be heard over the cable static, it could be heard echoing through the oversized bedrooms in the lonely bungalow. It could be heard over every single erectile dysfunction commercial and over the roaring, ripping, black waves outside, but even so, it didn’t register as Rosa’s guilt, for it was Still only Teddy’s guilt, his and his alone. 

And how guilty it felt to be guilty! Oh the guilt the guilt, how it lurched in through his eyes, swarming his intestines, poking into his thick blackened lungs. It stole into his heart and unzipped it, letting the contents scatter clumsily about, all throughout his half-dormant, inebriated state  A delicious plate of oysters and cocktails served up by Cassandra, the dressed in white lunch waitress at their Costa Rican honeymoon hotel. Cassandra smiled and shook her hips and they bounced around Teddy’s mind like bowling balls of jello their heaviness crushing his insides one bounce after another as he continued staring. He tasted a vile green pungency of Cassandras virginity being defaced while Cathy slept upstairs. It hadn’t ever occurred to him that infidelity could be so sweet and so wretched, so liberating and so incredibly burdensome upon his mind. Ever the deep sleeper, Cathy had no idea that Teddy was stalking the grounds and preying upon young buxom sweethearts with skin painted gold and hair like shining silk, flowing like sunlit rivers in warm afternoons. The hotel was fragrant with plants and vegetation and painted with ivory stones and full windows and openings to let the bright mornings and starry night skies into the rooms.  While Cathy dreamt her sweet as honeymoon dreams, Teddy walked Cassandra down a marble walk way towards a private section of the white sand beach, laying her upon it was like a bed of warm icing sugar. As he held Cassandra he could taste his first ever bite of a fresh pie and he could touch the softness of a newborn puppy, her eyes opened up like massive cherry pits to let in the light of the moon above Teddy’s shoulder and his smouldering gaze soared into the depths of her squirmy, melting soul. 

And by the morning she was nothing but deflowered, no fresh orange juice or mountainous breeze could restore her inner sanctity, and as she went back to her day of collecting plates of half finished food and folding white fluffy towels, Cassandra relented, eventually to find her eyes wide open against the towel fibres she had been collecting, tucked in a long and unused stairwell, trapped in the echo chamber of her sobbing humiliation, she screamed the screams of a woman disowned from her God.

Nevertheless, Teddy was all the while parked beside Cathy in a clean white sheeted bed and the scent of her rosy skin emanated love into his nostrils that morning as she crawled on top of him while he was still snoring, prepared to sleep the day away. Teddy barely even hesitated before his chest grunted a foul breath into her face of stale cigar and the odour of secrecy and sin, he barely even stopped himself from thrusting the beaming rush of love and light vibrating against host chest away, aggressively shoving Cathy off him, almost causing her to fall off the bed, while he turned to face the opposite side and snore for a few hours, leaving Cathy to stare at the pale ceiling, and watching the sunlight slowly inching it’s way across the floor tiles. 

And Teddy could sleep the day a way without any issue, without even a single conscious thought of his newly married bride laying beside him watching the day die, thinking about nothing, clutching onto her newly sanctified love. Yes, Cathy had seen the signs, her mother had warned her about Teddy, and Teddy’s closeness with her father was as bad a sign as any. Perhaps it was Teddy’s resemblance to her father which drew her irresistibly, his ability to be so uninhibited, his debonair good looks, and his inability to be contained. Cathy enjoyed his voracious appetites, she liked the way Teddy threw cash on the table at fine restaurants, or at fancy department stores, and the outlandish wedding reception he had funded from his contracting business. She liked how Teddy’s work was kept secretive, and how he lived in a separate world away from her, it made her feel an extra sense of importance, she longed to be the familiar, the solace, the refuge where Teddy could return to, to bury his head in her bosom after a long day when she would run those expert nails through his scalp. And what she loved the most, what she laid in wait for, what tantalized her day and night, was for Teddy to come and possess her the way he had when they were teenagers, the way he would take her frail inexperienced body into his complete control, the way he would physically inhabit and dominate her entire existence, the way teddy would pull the gravity out of her being with one single touch, her breath being sucked out of her, her entire will collapsing, her bones liquefying and her heart oozing into pink rose petals. It didn’t bother teddy then, to see the young fresh out of high school girl subject to his every whim, eager to satisfy his fiendish hunger for pleasure and vice and forbidden lust. Cathy was quick to realize that Teddy’s needs were insatiable, at least by her, but that only helped to strengthen her resolve The unreality she lived in, the firm contract she had signed with herself that she would be able to break into his empty eggshell jagged and frost crusted chest cavity and find some kind of life she could awaken. 

It all became more clear as Teddy lay with his back to her, and suddenly the Costa Rican hotel room was growing dark and dreary with heavy breaths and sobs she couldn’t muffle crowding the air, and the more she blinked to cover her tears the more watery and dark and late it became in the room, the more the walls tightened upon her unavoidable predicament, the more she could suck on the bones of a dead future which lay before her. By nightfall, as Teddy found himself growing hungry and tired of sleeping , he opened his eyes and his mouth and a flame to his cigarette, Kindly offering one for his wife who Accepted it to be polite. Holding it, Cathy informed Teddy of her sudden epiphany, the revelation she had had sitting and watching the sun move all afternoon. 

“I’m becoming a nurse”. She said 

Teddy kept smoking. He smoked and smoked for what seemed to be an entire pack of cigarettes straight to the filter before he smiled and smacked her until she cried so much the tears ran down her face like a faucet. 

“You what?”

“What did you say?”

“That’s what I thought…”

“You didn’t say nothing.“

But she did say that and for once her word meant something because Cathy became a nurse. Inevitably, Teddy realized Cathy becoming a nurse meant she would be away from the house more and it could afford him more peace and quiet to smoke cigars in his underwear or dial up one of his speed dial whores to service him without even needing to leave the unmade bed. 

But as teddy lay back in his reclining chair while a gorgeous Australian woman on the television advertised a cutting edge skin care product with a blue kangaroo on the bottle, followed by a dancing robot selling loans, and then a preview for a movie about a man who keeps failing at his dreams until one day succeeding, despite the years of complete ignorance, sheer forgetting, absolute drunkenness and debauchery and distraction,Teddy finally wept with the guilt from that night in the Costa Rican hotel. 

The cigar burned right to his lips as he declined deeper into his reverie, reclined into his foul leather seat, paralyzed with his memories, Rosa on the adjacent sofa, eating away at the cold spaghetti left remaining in a take-out container, unsuccessfully channel surfing amongst the 3 am infomercials. Teddy shuddered and guffawed and slapped himself awake and tried to avoid the tears as they inched from his heart to his eyelids sliding out like tiny flaming razor blades. He could remember Cathy still in full scrub attire, preparing meals for him when he got back from a busy day of collecting debts, getting massages, and having sex with hookers. The way Cathy’s arms wrapped around him suffocated him differently in his mind as he reflected on the strength in them that had always evaded his consciousness, a strength not physical, but a strength of some kind of supernatural magnetism, as if in her own way, Cathy had claimed Teddy and not the other way around, as if every time he came home and she embraced him she was really saying “you are mine”. While Teddy often slipped away after a long silent dinner of heavy breathing and chewing and routine protocol questions like

 “What’s different about the sauce?”


“What’s for dessert”


“Is that Russian bitch on your ward still hounding you?” ,

Cathy was just the mother Teddy had wanted for a wife, she prepared his meals, gave him head, and accepted his verbal and physical lashings, all with good relish. After dinner, Teddy left, even after Rosa was born, without much of a spectacle, and many nights he returned late or didn’t return at all, without facing any questions. Some nights, when he did return home, sometimes even toward dawn, he’d arrive to the hideous tears, the wretched sobbing, the futile cries of his helplessly broken wife. And though at one point in his life, he could manage to sleep despite those tears of hers, as he sat. one night in the reclining chair, the hideous tears became his own, and they erupted from a ghost within his chest, a soulless demon crying out, begging for an end. 

Teddy’s mind flashed with lights, blue and yellow and white from Rosa flipping the television channels , and he found himself back in the tiny apartment near the railway tracks the one him and Cathy had lived in before marrying. He remembered taking her virginity on the tiny creaking bed atop the rusted metal bed frame that cracked against the wall with their body’s every inching movement. He remembered the nights listening to trains and Sinatra and Cathy's heartbeat. He remembered her shoulder rubs and her soft voice and the way her arms elongated around his firm chest like a tiny monkey, and how big he felt in that small room with the tiny Cathy on that puny little bed. And the light from the television rang through him like a shrill train whistle, rushing into his skull and blinding him like a raping migraine, his brain dissolving into salty wet tears, filled with pity and self disgust. And as Rosa flipped the channels , chewing on a straw, her vacant eyes hardly blinking, further and further teddy sank into the mercy seat. 

December 11, 2020 15:54

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.