The Most Beautiful Thing About Her

I mentioned not long ago that I was feeling a particular kind of freedom where writing is concerned. And soon after I mentioned that freedom, I wrote "Glass," a little short I posted here on the blog. I wrote another fairly silly piece which I submitted to an online magazine, and I started writing another thing that I'm taking more seriously. I haven't looked at the bulk of it in close to a week, but here's what I have so far. I only imagine it going about another 500 words or so.
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The Most Beautiful Thing About Her

They’d been living with us for almost two months.

He was sleeping sixteen hours a day—from four in the morning until noon head-to-toe with her on the ratty couch, from noon until eight or so in my room.

Early on, I’d wake up some days and find her standing at the stove in front of a pan, the flame turned on high. She’d have her arms at her sides, an egg in each hand. She would be crying silently, or about to cry, and the first thing that would go through my head was: If she drops those eggs, how many will we have left in the fridge? And then: Will she expect me to help her clean up the mess?

He would still be on the couch, sweating through his T-shirt, stretching out his legs, and I’d wonder not what she was doing with him—I couldn’t give a shit about the intricacies of their love or desire, whatever it was—but how she managed to sleep each night on a couch that smelled so bad. My roommate and I had found it in an alley, and it’s like it was made of equal parts animal and piss. I refused even to sit on it.

What to say to her on those mornings? Her boyfriend would vaguely notice I was up and make his way down the trailer’s hallway to my room. Sometimes, he’d put on a little show before he left. He would stick out his belly and scratch it through his T-shirt, or run his fingernails over his ass through his boxer shorts. He’s affect a southern accent—we were all doing it that summer, I can’t remember why or how it started—and say something about having to take a piss. “I’m gonna go shake the dew off my lily,” he’d say.

Trying to joke his way out of his depression, out of his joblessness. I’d done this kind of thing before.

We didn’t have cable or Internet access, but the PC was rigged up to some fairly miraculous speakers, and I would leave her in the kitchen and walk back into the living room to play some music. Not too loud, hoping that by the time I returned, I’d smell eggs frying.

A few weeks later, I would find her crying while standing in front of the washing machine, about to add the detergent. Or I would hear her through the bathroom door.

“Open up,” I would say, pushing the side of my face against the door’s rough wood. “Let me in.”

The door would inch open seemingly on its own, and I’d find her sitting with her back to the sink, holding her face in her hands. Her feet were always bare, and her toenails always polished. Those toenails were perfect—they killed me.

I’d sit down next to her and put my arm around her shoulder, and she’d lean into me, continue to cry.


Lisa said...

Love it.

Chad Simpson said...

Thanks, Lisa.

I'm hoping to finish the thing tomorrow, now that I've finished grading.

We'll see how it goes.