There was no blood in the barn where the girl said Tyler raped her. There was nothing. I checked several times. The hay smelled fresh and sweet and I rubbed my face in it to assure myself this barn couldn’t have contained such a soiled one. What had really happened is that she was there with someone else and that someone else had run away. Tyler left his mark on me to remind me not to talk about it, saying people wouldn’t understand. I was comforted that he was a husband in our bed that night although he made noises I had never heard him make before, like that of an animal.
The next day, the mark was a thumbprint size of a bruise on my arm and blood caked on my buttocks and thighs. Was it the other woman’s blood? No, it must have been my own, for the thing Tyler did to me he hadn’t done before, making it ache there. Had she caused it, caused him to act in this way? I asked this of the pieces of straw on the barn floor. I ran my fingers through the stalks as if shuffling through tarrot cards. He had called her a cunt. Was she? She had looked so small and worn and thin. I had seen her lying on the barn floor even as he was pushing me out, squeezing the bone of my arm. The next day, the sheriff questioned us. She had been found on the side of the road, in a ditch, barely conscious. I said nothing and by the time she had accused Tyler, there was no evidence. Hay doesn’t lie, a barn floor would have revealed something, surely.
He never makes love to me anymore. He doesn’t seem satisfied until he has made some kind of mark. He is coming up with contraptions patched up from farm equipment. He tells me I am to blame for the stream of girls filing in, each of their shadows the same, long and thin, the shoulders sloped, unsuspecting. I watch from our bedroom, the closing of the barn door. There is nothing, no sound. How could anything bad happen in silence, among gentle, dumb beasts and how could it be that he is guilty when he is still acts as husband every night, without fail, with a rigor some would call grossly violent, perhaps, but which he tells me demonstrates his absolute passion and dedication to beautifying me? My silence has been a key he says. He has never been so consumed with a desire that I should be whole, that we should be together, as one, that there should be no division as there has been previously in my days of doubt, of questioning.
Nightly I am chained to the radiator. He feeds me meals on the floor. He tells me how dear I am to him now and how it had never occured to him that he should be more my master, that this would have made it the very thing between the two of us and I the more lovely. He kisses my bones more visible beneath the flesh. He carries me to the bed when he is ready for what he must do for what he must unleash. When it is accomplished, he speaks as he is securing me. My silence had enabled his vision, that vision of who he is to me, my own dear husband. He cries when he talks about it. He strokes my hair. He forces me between his legs, forces himself into my mouth. My arms strain against the chains. The purification is in the sickness he says. It was ok to take him in so far that I gag, he says, to choke over and over and over. It is the love in him that makes it possible. He says I am more radiant than a flower.
After a day of packing and unpacking, driving, moving furniture, rugs, sweating, heart pounding, I am on the beach in a new long cotton dress, my bra straps showing because of the newfangled style but I do not care. I am cool, finally, sitting in a low chair, the water tickling my ankles. And I’m no longer what I used to be, on this beach where I used to bring my younger body. But can you believe I have the nerve to yearn for a man to emerge from the ocean and come up to me there while my eyes were closed, my hair blowing across my face – and kiss me on my lips with his wet salty mouth? There was no one on the beach at that moment but had there been thousands all at that spot, would one man have done this? I suppose if this were the kind of beach where that sort of thing happened or men were expected to behave thus and how I wished for it and to feel that mouth, to taste it.
As it happened, only two women passed, both overweight and in capris and tshirts. They laughed and as I opened my eyes to observe them, one of them said “Becky?” as if they had mistaken me for someone they knew. I know people from further inland who come to this beach and I run into all kinds of people I know here even though all the time all I want to do is just get away. To save this woman from some kind of embarrassment I simply wave and say “hi,” but it would not have been like me to show much animation. She knows immediately I am not “Becky.” I am thinking it highly likely that Becky is a person who likes yellow, who spares others sadness, who remains loyal and doesn’t cheat, who wouldn’t kiss a man rising up from the sea especially if she were dating someone steadily or married, who wouldn’t think such things to herself: If a man rises up out of the sea and wants to take me, I’ll have him, and lose my life to the abyss as atonement.
As it is, my husband arrives after his work wondering about his dinner. My son likewise. And the dog. They leave to get fish dinners at a market. While they are gone, a man walks up and places his bait bucket not far from my chair. He rigs up his pole and struts to the sea. I want to see this, I say to myself. I want to see something. Make something happen, I say to him silently.
I prop up my chair. I put my book in my lap. There is no question that I am watching him and he knows it. He goes out to the shelf where we have caught hammerheads. He begins casting and making his way back to shore. Nothing has eaten him and he’s still working it, striding down the beach with the tide, leaving the bucket close beside me. Am I to watch his bait?
I do not respond to my husband’s call from the balcony that they are back with the take out fish dinners. Eventually my husband comes down to the shore. He and I watch as the man casts into the ocean. I tell him I have actually watched this selfsame man catching a fish from our bedroom window earlier that afternoon. That earlier fish he caught was large I say. What I do not say is that I knew I liked the man when someone walked by while he was holding up the large fish and they chatted for a minute about it.
The fish the man catches in front of my husband is small. Just a pinfish, says my husband, might as well put that on the hook and catch a real fish. As the sun sets, we eat our fish dinners on our balcony and watch the man cast into the sea and fight the waves. That is all we do before my husband has to leave.
First appeared in The New Absurdist
Xmas Drinking whiskey since noon left him louche and leaned against the front door of the house a hand in a pocket of a tweed blazer gradually sliding toward the floor just as the wind came all hiss and swirl and we are a tracking shot traveling back inside through tunnels of red wine and…
He stood at the foot of her son’s bunkbed. She had slept there the night before, her son being grown and in college. He had been dating her for about six months, but had not succeeded in getting her to sleep the entire night with him. She slept alone.
She reached out and touched the name stitched on his shirt. He kissed her lips. She wore only gloss. He liked that.
“I want to make you some coffee,” she said.
Her hair was mussed up. He wanted to forget his scruples, drop his pants, and climb right into her child’s bed, but he was running late.
“I don’t have time.” It was cold outside. He had to get the truck started. “OK, make me coffee, would ya? And chop, chop.” He patted her bottom.
She would pour him a steaming pint in his big thermos with cream and sugar and he would drink from it slowly to make it last. He would make sure everyone noticed its presence too, clinking it down here or there.
When he came back into the house, she was on the kitchen counter, kneeling, stretching for a bag of sugar.
“Watch it now, baby,” he said, trying to scold her, though he had caught a glimpse of her dimpled thigh under her nightshirt. He knew he would remember it all day. He pulled her down and retrieved the sugar. She took it from him with her icy, thin fingers.
“Let’s get married,” he said.
She didn’t look up to meet his gaze. She held the bag over the mouth of the thermos. As he watched a seemingly endless white stream fall into his coffee, he felt a pressure on his chest.
“Yes,” she said. When he looked up, he saw that she was watching his face, was not watching the sugar, was smiling in that way she saved for things that secretly pleased her.
more of Gry’s stories can be found here: http://blackshattered.wordpress.com/
Spray paint ecru to heat searing through my fingers I’m leaving this block of farce we’ve inhabited and lost: the rights to sleep facedown on canvas, away from red taxis and men shuffling in and out of banks, briefcases in hands to waste their lives; the rights to swing glass doors…
velvetblory asked: hey we love 'Bear' would it be possible to use it as a Blory in the future? Either way great piece
That would be great! Let me know how you would like me to proceed. It is a pleasure to be included.
Last night I had a dream about a bear. I was running with a man and my child and we were running with the bear, or from it, at times it was impossible to tell, the bear would catch up and we would be next to it. We ran into a glass building. We ran down a hall with the bear, who was enormous and black. I did not know the man but he had that look about him of a good man. In the fleeing, he became trapped against a glass door. I could not reach the man to pull him away. The bear began swiping, using its advantage to flay the man before the threshold. I will not describe the noises. I will not describe the cries of the man whom I did not know but whom I felt must be good, whom I would have loved had I known him. I do not want to remember the particular tenor of that agony and rage. I do not want to remember the feeling of what I could not do. I found an open room with glass windows and covered my child with my body.