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“Bloodflowers” excerpt 5

April 20, 2013

“Grunt,” I ask, “do you need to go potty?”

He looks at me expectantly, then at the door.

“Okay then,” I tell him, opening it for him. The back porch light is on and when I shut the door again to wait for Grunt, the glass pane in it acts like a mirror. I see my reflection there, and honestly, I’m no longer sure how much of myself remains in the image I see and how much has now been replaced by Dave. This is fucking ridiculous, and when did I start using the word ‘potty,’ anyway? I want to reach into the reflection and rip the skin off my face, tear my hair out, but that’s just the Dave in me. I hate finally understanding the depth and complexity of his emotions because they a) suck and b) make me realize how little I actually knew David, even as we built a life together.

“I’ll tear you fucking asunder, bitch!” I snarl at my reflection. I stick my tongue out. Seeing my reflection leaves me feeling terribly lonely for no real reason that I can pinpoint, even as Jay walks into the kitchen and wraps his arms around me. He looks questioningly at my reflection, now our reflection, watches me, and rests his chin on my shoulder as he often does.

“Who/what are you tearing asunder?” he asks me.

“No one. Just random thoughts.”

“About tearing bitches asunder.”

“It happens.

I see Jay’s eyebrows raise he gives a small shrug. “If the bitches deserve it,” he smiles, “then by all means, do go on.” He gives me a peck on the cheek and releases me from his hug so I can let Grunt back in.

We’re laying in bad that night and James has himself glued to me, it seems. His face is buried into my neck, and he has one arm draped across my chest; he randomly twists strands of my hair around his fingers. It’s going to be a bitch to try to comb, but I don’t care. No one talks. It’s just us, just the dark. Both of us are nearly dozing off, I think, when Jay mumbles into my neck. It tickles, and I can’t hear him clearly through his mumbling and my sudden thrashing in bed at being tickled. The sudden break in the silence makes me jump, too, and the flailing under the covers is really just a pathetic attempt to hide that.

“Say again, Jay?”

“I said, ‘I finished the book,’” he says more clearly.

“Dave’s?” I ask, knowing full well that’s what he means. Why do we ask stupid questions to which we already know the stupid answers?

“Yeah.”

“And?” I don’t mean for it to sound rude. It’s just a tired request for more information.

“I dunno. I just felt like I should tell you I finished it.” I don’t know how long ago he actually finished the book, but it had to have been prior to today since we’ve been together the entire time, and he was sans book. I’m not sure why he waits until 2am in a dark bedroom to tell me this. I work to quash a flash of annoyance; this is really Dave’s emotion, not mine. He was never much for having his sleep interrupted.

“Do you want to talk about it?” I roll over on my side to look at him; he’s barely visible in the dark room.

I can’t really read his expression, so I’m not terribly clear how to interpret what he says. “Actually, hon, I don’t. Not right now. I just wanted you to know… him to know… that I finally read it. All of it. I just thought he should know.”

This is not what I expected him to say, but I can put two and two together. He’s been working up the nerve to say he’s read it, and to tell Dave. He still refuses to talk to Dave directly if he can at all help it, and I’m frankly shocked any time he acknowledges Dave’s existence in our lives to begin with. It can’t be an easy pill to swallow. Dave insists that he and I will know when our time together is up, and since he can’t lie to me, I can take him at face value on this. I can feel his convictions regarding his belief in this thought; he doesn’t want to be stuck this way now any more than I do. I’m hoping it’s sooner rather than later, or at least most of me does. If I really wanted David to be gone, he’d be gone. Poof. Done. That he is still here is a constant reminder to James that I am still damaged in some way and still in love with someone that isn’t him. And yet he wants Dave to know he finished the book; he’s at least trying to understand. Sometimes I wish he’d just give the fuck up on me.

Do you think he wonders sometimes which of us he’s fucking? Do you think he knows there’s a difference? 

Dave is awake.

“Oh,” I exhale a long breath, and my response is to both Dave and James: “He knows.” I like when one response works for both sets of conversation.

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From → Bloodflowers, fiction

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