Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tara Kaloz


One Week Later

Ten fingers. Ten toes. I wondered how many would have to be amputated after tonight. I cleared away enough snow to reach the concrete floor of the balcony. Thank God for the shovel. I had to keep as low as possible to block both the wind and any possible eyes that would still be up and looking out windows at three o’clock in the morning. Indiglo can’t keep a body warm, that much is true. I tried sitting on the shovel but was afraid of what the sharp metal edge might do to certain sensitive parts. Forget the fingers, forget the toes. I had to keep warm if only to save any potential progeny.

Once in a while, I would tap on the glass and try the door. I didn’t want to yell. Neighbors might wake up. She might turn on the light. Like hell I was getting in anytime soon. I felt like a bad dog, minus the fur and, therefore, in a shittier position.

The snow of the day was turning to sleet and vagrant bits of ice stinging at my face. My taps were less interspersed and more desperate. Had she actually fallen asleep? I hadn’t heard any movement from inside for a while and figured she was calling the police or writing a note or something along those lines of dramatic. Irrational as she often was, tonight she had some justification.

Exactly where had I been last Tuesday? I thought she hadn’t noticed, had swallowed my lame Wednesday morning lies. Maybe I thought she was stupid, though I knew otherwise. Particularly when just minutes ago I was being stripped naked and pushed against the wall, I thought she had forgiven me.

Where was I? Well, okay, so I wasn’t on one of those late-night sting operations that seem to happen only in movies and crime thrillers. I wasn’t on the corner of Fifth and Vine, but in between Holly and Mona. How often do these opportunities present themselves save for dreams? “It’s not like we’re married for God’s sake” were my last words.

I now know different definitions for blue balls and woman’s scorn. When more and more of you starts to go numb, you don’t care about the screaming, don’t care about the light shining on your full moon, don’t care about the neighbors in bathrobes on their front porch yelling at you to shut up, again, like some bad dog.

“Elizabeth! Lizbeth. Lih-beh.” My tongue was forming icicles, I swear.

Panting now, gasping, coughing out staccato clouds of the remaining heat in my lungs.

~
When I woke up I was under the blankets, still naked, but I could feel my toes, my fingers. Veins everywhere surged the fresh, hot blood through my body, letting me know I was still alive.

Her silhouette was in the doorway. I could tell she was only halfway satisfied. More would come another day, probably much in the same way it had tonight. They never forget, not goddamn elephants, not jealous live-in whores.

“Some negotiator you are,” she said. “I would’ve let you in sooner. All you had to say was sorry.
What the hell’s wrong with you?”

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About Me

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I write short stories and essays. I have published over one hundred stories, essays, and flash fictions or nonfictions in magazines or anthologies, as well as a novel, Jack's Universe, and a collection of stories, Private Acts. I grew up in a military family, so I'm not from anywhere in particular except probably Akron, where I've lived for forty years. Before I came here, I never lived anywhere longer than three years.