Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Excerpt from Short Story in Progress: Paint

Talking to Amy opened the floodgates. Now my heart’s on my sleeve everywhere I go and the hand I was playing close to vest is now face up on the table. It’s not a winning hand, no. Charlie and I had been conjuring metaphors most of the day.

He said he’d painted himself into a corner with the situation.

I asked him his intentions with the girl.

He cocked his head to one side, the left, and said, “I think I’m going to tell her soon.”

“Have you two done it?” I asked.

“No, I decided early on not to go that route.”

“Understandable. You resolved yourself not to engage in intercourse.”

“To put it simply, I guess.”

“But it’s good, too, because you have an out. You’re not obligated to stick around. You can get out of the room with just some sticky footprints across the floor. That’s easy for her to paint over and you can just buy new shoes.”

“d.B., you on the other hand, have kicked over the can of paint, and are covered in it.”

“I’m pressing my paint-soaked body against the walls and rolling around.”

“Handprints everywhere.”

I looked out the glass doors onto the patio. I managed to frame half of Emily’s face like a daguerreotype through the door. This way I could look at her casually without her noticing as much. One great big blue eye shone through the reflected glare of the pink-orange sky and met mine. I think my right eye met her left eye. Then half a grin crept across half her face. Charlie clasped my shoulder, said he needed out of his pseudo-relationship.

He was worried Alyssa may be thinking Facebook Official about the two of them. That’s why I never listed my Status, ever. If you don’t know where I stood beforehand, there’s no reason you should know now. Plus, I don’t feel the need to proclaim to world when I was sleeping with a chick. Unless, that is, I wanted out, which I did. Like Charlie, he wanted out.

I asked him his intentions again.

His direction became a bit more concrete, bits of his break-up plan began to solidify. He’d do it by the end of the week, maybe sooner. It was Wednesday at this point. I said it’d be a good idea to kill the thing before the idea of a relationship takes root.

“At least you have an out,” Charlie told me, “yours is leaving at the end of the summer.”

He meant she was leaving the country. It was my natural out, my exit strategy.

Nothing about me says I’m a good person. I’m actually quite a monster. I’m an asshole. Don’t talk to me, it’d be better if you didn’t come over here. It’d be better if you never talked to me. You’re still doing it, you’re still talking to me. I can’t believe it, this girl is fucking talking to me. What the fuck is wrong with her? Her breath kind of smells. I’m going to kiss her once we get away from these streetlights. Who meets someone walking back from the bars? But I’ve resolved against intercourse right? I’m going to fuck this girl.

I think she fucked me, or I fucked myself. Honestly, I didn’t mind fucking myself, so long as I was the only person left fucked. This one might have victims. I should have picked up on her Velcro-like clinging ability when we parted ways that first time on the way back from the bars. I’d given a friendly ‘good-bye, see you around wave,’ which she must have taken to mean, ‘Join me, become one with me, and never leave. Ever.” She ran back and deposited her name and number into my phone. I had laughed uncomfortably and made some ethnic joke which she had understood.

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