8.9.2015 Journal Prompt

Photo by Mary Ellen Mark
Photo by Mary Ellen Mark

August 9, 2015: There was always a story.

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One thought on “8.9.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. She was all wrong. That’s what I thought when I saw her. She was sitting in the park and smoking a French cigarette and holding a child’s toy but sitting by herself. I asked if she’d lost someone, and she said to me ‘fuck you’. I shoulda left then, but I just laughed and I tried to explain myself.

    She said the toy horse was called Farn. I nodded and didn’t know how to make a reply to that. We talked about the weather and the time of year and what I did for a living and what she did – which was working in an office just two doors up from where I worked. I asked her who looked after Farn when she was working and she looked at me like I was stupid.

    Men say the shit dumbest things, she said, and I wasn’t sure she was talking to me or just to herself. I aint fucking simple nor a child. I just have a toy horse with me sometimes. And it aint nobody’s business that I do.

    I was about to get up and go when she leaned into me, close enough for kisses and close enough I could smell the cigarette on her breath, bitter and sweet, and she lowered her voice and she said as how she could read my mind and she’d be delighted to accept my invitation to take her out for a drink sometime.

    We met at Barney’s and she’d scrubbed up nice and I almost didn’t recognize her. I said as much and said maybe seeing her without Farn was the reason I didn’t know her. She said what she said before – the first thing she ever said to me: ‘fuck you,’ she said. I laughed and bought in the drinks and we sat at a table in the corner.

    I did most of the talking and she just listened and drank her vodka spritzer and smoked another French cigarette. I told her about me and all my best stories and the stories that made me look good and some as made me look bad. She kept nodding and she smiled some and she looked at me like I was all wrong.

    We had maybe four drinks before she stopped me and she said I should take a breath. Then she looked me full in the face and she asked me to say something about her. The first thing that came to me, she said. It caught me off guard and I fumbled for my words, fumbled for the right words.

    ‘You’re the prettiest girl in the room,’ I said.

    ‘And?’

    I sucked in air and blew it out from my cheeks. I thought the pretty line would have been enough

    ‘And you smell of cigarettes and flowers and mint. And your eyes are like bits of the sky is in ‘em and your hands is clean and small and your hair is like summer and your skin is like new.’

    I was just putting things together all anyhow and hoping they made some sort of sense.

    She leaned in, close like in the park, and this time she kissed me, quick as quick so I afterwards wasn’t sure that it had really happened. And she said, her words all hush and breath, that it was the things I wasn’t saying that she was listening for. And she slipped a piece of paper into my hand and it had a number written on it and she said to call sometime soon.

    Then she was gone and I was drinking alone and a strange feeling inside me, like air and like the absence of air. Like a bucket of bees and all fizzing and soft – the way bees are when they bump up against glass, again and again, as if they might somehow surprise glass and find a way through. And like a punch without the hurt, and all the wind taken out of me, and a voice telling me to breathe and to breathe.

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