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“Bloodflowers” excerpt 2

April 2, 2013

March 5, 2013

Bryan. Wake up. It’s 2pm. It’s a week or so after our fight in the grocery store, and I’m sleeping off a bad hangover after North’s homecoming show and after-party.

“Huh?” I reach over in bed to find Dave, but it’s not him there. There’s a very pale but warm sleeping body there, though, with very long, very red hair. He has no shirt on, and he’s got a load of tattoos on his back and arms. I’m afraid to look under the covers to see if he is wearing any pants. “Oh shit.” I squeeze my eyes shut to try to block everything out.

Oh, this is just precious, Bryan. I can hear his shit-eating grin.

I throw off the blankets, pull my pants on over my boxers, and make my way downstairs to make coffee before talking further. Maybe the body in my bed will magically disappear when I go downstairs. “Why are you here? Didn’t I banish you or something?”

No such luck. You can’t lie to me. Or yourself. Us. You’re not happy.

I mull this over. “Hm… Gee, babe. Sure looks like I was happy last night.”

Bullshit. You think I didn’t see what happened? That I didn’t see you get drunk, chat up this poor groupie at the club who’s convinced he can fix everything broken about you if you just let him? Didn’t see you pull him into our bed but start sobbing? He held you until you fell asleep, you know, in case you were too freaking drunk to remember. If you weren’t so pathetic, and maybe if you weren’t my husband, it would have been pretty touching. Go on and try to tell me again that you’re happy.

“So I lied. Sue me.”

All the litigators went straight to hell, he cracks.

“David?” I begin my question tentatively. “David, did it hurt to see that?” I don’t know what I want his answer to be, honestly, but I know my head is pounding and I’m feeling kind of pissed off and humiliated, now that I’m starting to recall a few hazy details regarding my night.

Not really… I kind of saw how it was going to play out. I mean, yeah, it sucks to watch you rebound, or try to, but the worst part was watching you fail at it.

“Gee,” I frown. “Thanks for the vote of confidence.”

I don’t mean it like that, you know. Just that I wish you hadn’t fallen apart. It would have been a step, even a small one, toward happiness. Toward letting me go. So I stayed quiet. And, frankly, it was kind of hot. He’s totally our type.

“Gross. My guardian angel is a pervert… and my ex-husband.”

There’s a long pause. Whoa, he says finally. He says no more.

“What?” I know something I said wasn’t right, but I can’t quite place what sounded so wrong.

You called me your ‘ex-husband’.

“Oh, David. I’m sorry. You’re still my husband. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” I’m floundering desperately to say anything to take it back. “I just say it sometimes now because people are getting confused, thinking maybe I mean someone other than you. I know it sounds weird, but I only started to say that really recently to keep you that much closer to me. I swear!”

You said it to me, though. He sounds pained. I try to keep apologizing, but he interrupts. It’s okay, it’s okay. I’m fine. It doesn’t bother me. Honest.

“Then what’s wrong?”

Nothing. It’s unrelated. I feel like I just got sucker-punched in the stomach. It’s not your fault, though, honest.

“Hon, you don’t have a stomach.” I try to make light of it. I think I know what’s happening, though.

Oh yeah, I guess I don’t. Weird. And I’m not your guardian angel, either, by the way, so you’re going to have to figure out the hot mess in our bed on your own. And he clears out again before I can say, “I love you.” Clearly, I have hurt him. He feels, as much as I do, that it’s still our bed.

So that’s how this is going to be, I guess. I slowly beat Dave to death (re-death?) with these tiny blows, one comment and action after another as I pull away from him? I have to break both of our hearts myself for either of us to heal and move forward in our disparate universes? I sit at our dining room table in silence, and I feel like my heart might explode. This. Sucks.

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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