People of Color Romance Sad

Just awake. My eye twitched & I didn’t know if it was an excess of coffee or tears. So, chai it is…less caffeine. Glancing my thumb over the screen, I skipped last weekend, still marked with his return. 545 AM. I rubbed the sleep from my sore eyes, as if further irritation made a difference. Reborn at his touch. Aged to white in a sentence. Falling back to my pillow, the wince surprised me, and not. I thought stab wounds to the belly took longer to kill you, but clearly she had poisoned the blade. I recalled how numb chill had leeched through me at his words. Where was the pain? Clearly the venom was also anesthetic.

    Brushing a curl from my face, I snapped myself present. Just a few hours to Newport, the clean wind & salt. Our erstwhile escape, changed. I had counted the days since he left, marked them in red pen, until this weekend. Our reunion. Apart no longer. Apart from it all. Apart from her. Now apart from one another. A part still beat, unrelenting. Apart from this, what could have reached us? Parts scattered, sharp shattered shards and us bleeding to collect them. Our parts to play with one another. So now, we rehearse in Newport.

    The audience’s cheers were motivation to rise & move through the morning. The simple tasks of life still held their prior twitter pated shine, even mundane morning beverage ritual. I sat to savor a cup. No mango, he wasn’t here, but no matter. I made a mental note to put mango on the list & began my meditation upon steam swirls, inhaling them deeply with care. Oh, how careless of me. Their scent flooded my subconscious. In truth, their target was easily found, buried under only a week. Damn them.

    “You what?”, I whispered, my own voice wraithlike. Neither he nor his pride answered. Our small breakfast table was easily traversed by his thick brown arm, even as I shrank from him in natural recoil. A mercy to us both that I did not see his sudden anguish at this, a deep blow however expected. I fixed on the mosaic tile swirl, the inlaid pattern of red and white in ebony wood, and how it had caught my eye at the estate sale. “Look mi amor…”, I had said. “We could eat breakfast here & avoid the spilled bed tray.”

    “Si”, he had smiled, reminding me yet again it was our room. So he had bought it, and we carried it upstairs to the corner by the window. I had been correct, it was just big enough for two bowls of fruit & two cups of Chai. Yet somehow unfathomably wide now, so much so I had to turn away from it. An excuse, of course, to escape his pleading, guilt imbued gaze. And also my pooling red rivulet on the table.

    The poison had spread alarmingly fast & I caught my breath as it seared deep into my gut. Nearly doubling me over as I rose, my barely touched Chai easily breached the mug confines. Flee. I must retreat, regroup, but I faltered. His warm hands steadied me, and his arms enveloped me close to the vast refuge of his chest. There I was safe to break, so I did, sobbing mutely. I screamed silently into his hot sweaty skin until I had to come up for air. Struggling against his arms, I realized he held me there against him, almost uncomfortably tight. And he was trembling.

    “Gah!”, I hissed as hot tea sloshed over my unsteady hand. I dabbed away the spatters in irritation & gulped it down in spite of the temperature. The coast, one room, two people, one precarious goal. I pulled out my bag & opened the closet with a bewildered tug. Is Zen packing even a thing, I pondered. I hoped so.

    A blast of cold air rushed in as he opened the door to the garage. He dropped his gym bags next to the washer one by one. All reeked of dirty socks and would not do, but he did not have time to clean and dry them. He was sure his luggage was here, bumping along in the dim light from the laundry room.  Oh, there it is, he blinked in the near dark. He hauled the suitcase down, laden in shame and dust, and rolled it upstairs to his room.

        Pulling a cleaning cloth from the bottle under the sink, he began wiping it down. His fingers tightened around the damp wad & executed a perfect bank shot to the trash. A deserved slam dunk, just as he had deserved her slap. It had been light, barely stinging as compared to his admission. At least he knew when to own his shame, he smirked to himself. 

    Still, he had been glad for it. The pain reset his understanding of his role this time, like his own former gaping chest gash. That morning, when he had laid his confession at her feet during breakfast, she had quaked cold & lithe. Shockingly, or maybe in sheer desperation, she had sought solace from the pain in him, which he gave in penance & gratitude. He had nearly broken, he recalled. Undeserved tears had welled as he held her, but he did not dare. Then, she was gone.

    A cold, wet nose to his cheek, a warm tongue lapped away the new tears. “Todo bien Sasha”, he soothed, and he rubbed her tan rump reassuringly. He rose stiffly from the cold bathroom tile and breathed deep. Sasha skittered at the sound of the suitcase wheels and curled up under the breakfast table, her eye on him. The teeth clicked in finality as he zipped the bag shut and hoisted it to his shoulder. A swipe to his unruly black waves, he chuffed to Sasha, “Ven, she will be here soon. Let’s make some Chai.”

January 07, 2022 19:56

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