Posted on September 6, 2015 by Patricia Ann McNair9.6.2015 Journal Prompt Image from Leon: The Professional September 6, 2015: In the shadows… Like this:Like Loading... Related
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Corby lives by hisself these days. All the doors and windows locked fast as a safe and the phone left forever off the hook. He sits watching the world through his tv and he finds reason enough in what he sees for feeling how he feels – which is that he can’t trust no one.
I feel sorta responsible. We was something once, me and Corby. Lovers I guess and he was filled up with hope then and laughing all the time and sometimes so drunk the world was all tilting and dancing. Years it was like that and me and Corby so close we shared the same plate and the same cup and I thought it would always be that way. But time is a conjuror and he tips things on their heads in a blink. One day it was Corby as had my heart and then it was Tim.
That did for Corby, I reckon. He found us, see. He found me and Tim and we was all wrapped up in each other and naked as the day and blowing air like chased bulls, and Corby seen us like that. Shit, but I was sorry for him then and I told him so, over and over, but the trust was broken and I don;t reckon on it ever being fixed again.
We argued some, around that time, cos he was hurting like a bucketful of bee stings and I felt like I had my reasons and I felt sorta guilty, too. But then, as things settled, we stopped arguing and Corby put locks on the doors, heavy like he had something to hide that was of value. And locks on the windows, too. And he stopped taking calls and stopped going out.
Like I said, I feel sort responsible, so I go round there once a week and I take him his groceries in two brown paper bags and I dress pretty. I knock on the door to a rhythm he recognizes, something I been doing for years now, but still he don’t trust that it’s me. I can feel him checking, can feel his eye pressed to the spyhole in the door and he’s looking at me and making sure. I knock again and he asks who it is, and I know he can see me.
I can hear him suck in air and he counts under his breath, counts to ten, and then he slides the bolts back on his door. He pulls me inside, quick as lickety, and he slides the bolts back again so we is both of us locked in then.
He looks pale and like he might be a boy facing the promise of a whipping. And he don’t say nothing. I talk to fill the space between us, talking ‘bout all sorts and ‘bout nothing particular and for sure not ‘bout me and Tim and how we is still together. Corby follows me from room to room, quick as a shadow and like he can’t take his eyes off me, like I might be capable of worse than breaking his heart. I go to the kitchen and I set down the groceries on the table.
I stay maybe an hour or an hour and a half. By the end of the time he’s a bit softer on account of we’ve drunk our way through a bottle of Pinot Grigio – from Italy on account of the Italian wine is crisper than the Pinot Grigio from California and not so sweet. And Corby says something ’bout what I’m wearing and how my hair is. And I ask him how he is doing and he just shrugs and he says he’s ok.
He kisses me when I’m leaving and he don’t say he loves me but I know he does. On the other side of the door I hear him sliding the blots back, hard as hammers, and I walk away with his eye on my back sharp lick a tack or a knife. And like that Corby is alone again and I feel like I have met my responsibilities for another week.
Walls has ears. They say that and Della says it’s true as time or scripture, and she says we don’t never should forget it. Della makes her words small as prayers and she kisses me soft as secrets and she unpicks the buttons of my dress, and I unpick the buttons on hers. And this cain’t be no sin what we do and it cain’t be unnat’ral and don’t cats lick kittens like me and Della do and everyone says it is the cutest thing then. And the walls of the room is our witness and walls has ears, they say, and I can feel ‘em listening to me and Della.
And if they has ears, then maybe they has eyes, too, walls does, even though nobody says that that like they say ‘bout walls having ears. But I can feel ‘em on me, the eyes, and on Della, too. I can feel ‘em running over the swells and into the folds of our bodies, feel ‘em watching us with a intensity that burns – not sharp like the sun-gold eyes of ravens nor crows, but watching gentle as God and watching all that we do.
It’s like that sometimes when I’m alone, too, when I’m sleeping and I wake sudden in the night and the dark is so close I can touch it and the walls is listening to my every snatched breath and the walls is watching me too and I can feel eyes on me, just like I feel ‘em when I’m with Della and we are making love out of our bodies and our breathless souls touching each other; and the eyes in the dark are on me when I am alone.
And if they has eyes and ears, which I think they do, then why not mouths also, for I swear that I hear something sometimes. Sighing I hear, like the walls was wishing they could come a little closer to me and Della and lay down on us, like a blanket, and be a part of what we is. Or whispering, they do that, too. My name when I’m alone, like God might be calling me, only I know it is not God for he belongs in church and the voice of God is mighty and all his words cut into neat and perfect shapes; but the voice of these walls, well, it is slippy and guttural and not Godly at all.
And having ears and eyes and mouths, well hearts they might have, too, for when I’m alone and sleep has left me, and I’m listening to the walls and they is listening to me, I think I hear a declaration of love everlasting, which is so near to God except for the voice. And the walls do call me sweet and lovely and saying what would be given for just one kiss or touch, which is everything.
And I tell Della, and she says hush, and not cos she’s listening, too, but cos she wants all of me, here and now, and wants me to be paying attention to only her and not to the walls. And she says all they has is ears and not eyes or mouths or hearts. And she puts the flat of my hand neath her breast, presses it there so I can feel her heart beating. And I don’t tell Della that I do that with the wall sometimes, the same flat of my hand, and I swear there’s a heartbeat there as sure as there is neath Della’s breast.
Who is it, he says, his voice lifted so it could be heard on the other side of the door. And he holds his breath to better hear who it might me.
A girl’s voice and he thinks he knows the shape and soft of her words but he needs to be sure. He presses one eye to the spyhole in the door and sees the world on the other side all distorted and bent into strange shapes. And it looks like her, only she is turned away from the door and all he can see is the back of her head and her hair.
What do you want? he says. And he says it like maybe he won’t let her in, which is the opposite of what he’s feeling, cos if it’s her then he’s the one that wants something. Wants to lift her up and dance with her all round the house, and kiss her head to toe and all the naked places in between, and slow kisses and licking too, and in a hurry and wanting it all to last, both at the same time.
Just open the door, she says, and she looks like she’s putting one eye to the spyhole on the other side and her view of him will be like something far off and just a shape in the darkness, any shape. Come on, Kit. Just open the door. It’s cold out here… and lonely.
Her words is all dove-call and slippy and like fingers reaching through the wood and touching his lips and his cheek, caressing words.
How do I know it’s just you? he says.
She sighs and she steps back from the door so he can see her better. Then she unbuttons her coat and holds it open. She ain’t wearing a stitch underneath and even though she is not her actual shape when he sees her through the spyhole, still he is hard and his sudden breath blowing like a ridden horse. She shuts her coat again and she says if he don’t open the door then she’s going elsewhere and some other guy’s gonna be real lucky tonight.
He slides the bolts back and he lets her inside ans secures the door again.
Who the fuck else would it be? she says. I get that you don’t trust no one, but I ain’t no one. And Jesus, Kit, it was you as rang me. And I been coming here the same for almost a year. And it’s fucking cold standing outside with just a coat on and not even wearing shoes.
He pays her a hundred dollars, which is the agreed price. Then he takes her in his arms and he dances with her, even thought there ain’t no music playing. And he kisses her – not on the lips cos that ain’t allowed – but every place else, kissing and licking, until they is in his bed and he’s taking his time and she’s trying to hurry him along and they’re fucking to the clock and she makes the noises he likes and they almost sound real and he can’t hold back and she says not to stop, not to.
And after, they lay a while and Kit tells her he loves her and she laughs and says love costs a whole lot extra and she says he can’t afford that.
When his time is up, she just puts on her coat, pats the pocket where the money is, and smiles at him. Next week, lover? she says. Kit nods. I’ll be waiting for your call, she says. And he watches her go and when she’s gone he slides the bolts back on the door and presses his eye against the spyhole, and the darkness on the other side is empty.