8.23.2014 Journal Prompt

Photo by Frank Horvat
Photo by Frank Horvat

August 23, 2014: What are they saying?

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One thought on “8.23.2014 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    Not in my head, but at my back. Listen. All their voices hissin, like air escapin from a tyre when a knife’s been thrust into the black rubber. It was Robbie did that, with the tyre. It was not me, and anyways that was years back now and not anythin really. Yet the voices are at my back and I knows they is talkin ‘bout me.

    They don’t look at me none, but that’s deliberate. They looks down at they’s cups or across at one ‘nother or out the window. Not at me. Not their eyes on me, ’less I looks away and then I can feel ‘em, their looks like needles stuck into my back, prickly like nettle stings on my neck.

    The girl who takes my order for coffee, even she don’t look. Her name’s Christine. She pretends like it asks all her concentration to write down on her pad of paper what I want, which is the same order as I’ve made a hundred times before, every time, ‘cept it’s for one today and not two. Christine puts the pink kitten-tip of her tongue between her lips and it’s a pantomime of concentration and it’s so beautiful at the same time, so briefly beautiful it hurts, and I licks my lips imaginin her tongue touchin mine, just that perfect pink tip. Then she’s gone with my order.

    And the chair opposite me is empty when yesterday it was not and that’s what they is talkin about – everyone in the shop. They is all of ‘em tryin to picture how it was when she was there and by ‘she’ they mean Kelsie. Was she wearin the yellow dress, the one cut so low at the front that her titties was almost jumpin out of the dress? Or was she wrapped up in a blue cardigan and her knees drawn to her chin and her feet on the edge of the seat and her hair all this way and that and anyhow, like she’d just risen out of sleep? A hundred pictures of Kelsie in that chair and they can’t remember which one it was yesterday. They can’t remember, not really. Not like I do.

    Kelsie in a grey cotton pinafore and she smelled of flowers yesterday and her hair was folded into a neat plait that hung down her back and she wore red slippers like Dorothy in that movie and all she needed to do was click her heels three times and she was back in Kansas again. And Kelsie’s eyes as blue as a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer sky.

    ‘Fuck you,’ she said and with the sound turned down it was like ‘I love you’ and her lips makin the shapes of kisses in the air. And I shrugged and said nothin back. Then Christine took our order and she smiled and said somethin ‘bout the weather and how she thought there might be a break in the heat comin. And Kelsie made bird-wing shapes with her hands and she laughed and said Christine was a delight and a dear and maybe she was right about the weather.

    Only, it’s hot as ovens today, like it’s been for weeks now, and sweat pools in the small of my back and my hands itch with the heat and with what they’ve done. ‘Fuck you,’ she’d said and she kept sayin it and it was all on account of what she done with Tony Zift and she thought that was nothin ‘cept it was like a knife thrust in black rubber, thrust in me, and air escapin, all pinch and purse and hiss.

    Now I’m sittin alone and Christine don’t say nothin about the weather and she takes her time bringin my order and everyone is lookin every which way and lookin at me when my back’s to ‘em and I can hear what they’s sayin ‘bout me cos I think maybe they knows what I done and why I’m orderin coffee just for one today.

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