sour cherry

She likes food that weeps. She likes juice she can lick, plumpness that pops in her mouth. She buys cherries and caviar. He likes food he can pull apart with his hands, tear and shred. He buys meat and bread. They never cook together.

He listens to jazz, and marvels as the notes scatter the air. His fingers follow their dance, and his eyes stay open. She loves the blues, and revels in the richness of the moans. Her fingers interlock, and her eyes stay closed.

It will never last.

She reads Russian authors and daydreams about the melancholy of a Moscow winter. He has never had a passport, and daydreams about the surf of a Byron Bay beach. She stifles a secret contempt and finds his tastes pedestrian. He rolls his eyes and thinks her daydreams pretentious.

He teaches her to drive and she teaches him to draw. He watches her hands move across the paper, trailing charcoal and ink, and feels such pride he can’t form words. She watches his hands bleed oil from the engine, dark smears across denim, and feels such desire she can’t sit straight.

It might last.

He wears western shirts with frayed collars, and wishes she knew how to sew. She wears whalebone corsets, and wishes he knew how to shave. She has a low, dirty laugh that turns heads, and he watches men stare. He has a slow, seductive smile, and she watches it entrance.

He sleeps with his arms around her, her heartbeat keeping time with his breath. He dreams of coconut oil and guitar strings, and often sleeps in. She dislikes being constricted, his breath on her neck haunting her. She dreams of hands around her throat, and often lays awake watching dawn light creep across the ceiling.

It can’t last.

He checks his hairline with dread, and positions himself where she can’t see his belly. She finds the changes in his body beautiful, his masculinity intoxicating. She rejoices at each gray hair he finds. He loves watching her in the shower, unadorned and unafraid, and marvels at her ease in her flesh.

It could last.

When they argue, he thrusts his face close and screams. His rage is cathartic, and temporary. She retaliates in tones of quiet menace, throat tight and fists clenched. Her rage is simmering, and poisonous.

He likes to kiss her eyelids as they make love, and move slowly inside her. He has been in love twice before, and still smiles at their names. He wants to call her baby, but doesn’t know how to ask. He doesn’t think she’d like it. She likes to leave her mark on his flesh, lush bruises to trace a loving fingertip over. She wants to draw blood with her nails, but doesn’t know how to ask. She doesn’t think he’d like it. She has been in love once before, and refuses to discuss him.

Still, it lasts.

She drinks tequila in bed, golden fire along her throat. He drinks merlot, rosy stain across his lips They trade stories until the sun comes up. He tells her of eight siblings, of fistfights over the remote control, of bunk beds and hamsteaks. She tells him of no siblings, of night terrors and an imaginary friend who sang to her in the bath. She still remembers the lyrics, and when she’s drunk enough, the choreography. They laugh so hard they spill their drinks.

It doesn’t last.

He hears her scream for the first time. It’s an animalistic howl, and his ears have trouble erasing it. They never speak again. He’s been in love three times now, and will smile at her name, eventually. She now lies, and says she’s never been in love.

Occasionally, she thinks she can smell engine oil, and he finds himself buying cherries. They wither in their punnet, and their shrivelled flesh makes him wince. She buys a jazz CD, and promises herself she’ll listen to it. He gets a passport application, and promises himself he’ll fill it in.

These vows seem rich with potential, with longing, with nostalgia.

They won’t last.

© bellmusker 2007

sour cherry

bellmusker

Melbourne, Australia

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Artist's Description

time to take this out of hiding

a work of fiction, for once

Artwork Comments

  • Paul Louis Villani
  • Lisa  Jewell
  • mubarika
  • transmute
  • Melissa Vowell
  • drpepper73
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  • bellmusker
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  • bellmusker
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