W A Coleman
The Night We Were Others
I rode in on a bright queasy, but now I'm here, floating about this dark and immense empty. It looks like outer space without the stars, or some nihilistic sea with depths that go on forever, and I can reach out and actually feel the void, I can feel the very nihility that surrounds me. It's like a nothingness that I've never seen before, a nothingness I've never felt before, and I swim lost in it, and inebriated in it, and there's no fear of being lost here, there's no fear of being confused here, or having no purpose here, and I think this is beautiful, I think this is divine. And now I can feel it all coming to be, I can feel the dramatic me and the petty me and the all that is me starting to break apart, starting to unravel. I have become overwhelmed by the deterioration of myself, and this is lovely because it feels un-clenching and it feels natural and it feels like I'm returning home, back to the star dust that I once was. I no longer feel adrift now, because I am the vastness, I am the void.
I wake standing while struggling to peer through this trippy smear. I gaze at the blurry, gold clock, mantled over some dead and dark fireplace, and the glimmering of its gold coating, bronzes my blur streaks, and then twins the timepiece, and now I watch as the two gilded clocks tick next to each other in perfect, synchronized harmony.
I make my way to some main room and the chandelier hanging above looks quite cosmic to me as the sparkles from its heavenly shimmer come down like glowing snowflakes. I reach out with my hand to try to grasp these raining twinkles, but they juke like flies and they avoid my grasping swipe with ease.
The blurry haze begins to thin as I walk down this rich man's hallway, and then sigh with exhaustion as I see, in the far horizon, the corridor's long ending, one that spans across this great mansion. I reach wide with outstretched arms, my lanky span placing my hands on the walls of this long journey passageway. The walls they spot my stumbling go, and they guide me towards the nowhere that I know I must get to. I then begin to feel the walls and their rough, splattered texture beginning to reshape and flatten out into this silky-smooth erotic, and I start to gasp as the velvet of the walls begin to lick my fingertips. I stop and I soft cum where I stand, and I cringe against this gorgeous ache, and my legs they shake with quiver as I look up and see the walls themselves reforming to how they should be, to how they could be, and then I witness all these possibilities and I think how beautiful. I look down at the marble flooring which I stand with bare feet, and it feels cold, like winter pavement, and it is waxed to a wet looking finish and I know this, I understand this, but for some reason, a part of me doesn't, and I look down and begin to wiggle my toes and clench my feet and start to laugh out loud at the feel of this dry wet, and this naïveté, this empty headedness poisoning my head and buzzing me with joy, and then I think that knowledge doesn't bring joy like this, and truth doesn't bring joy like this. And then I start to see these colors that have no names and the rainbows made of colors that have no names, and then I think how beautiful. How beautiful. I then smile at the alien colors and I begin to tear up because I wish she was with me, I wish she could see what I see. She always loved rainbows.
I pass by two lovers in a dark nook. They are entwined with each other and they both remain unaware of my observation and anything else that is outside of each other. As I look on with envy and sadness, their passion suddenly ignites into this blazing white light that blinds my peeping sight, and makes me, this dark lonely shadow scatter away with stumbling scurry.
I lean over a gaudy, dark marbled sink and suckle the iron faucet of this tucked away half-bath that I had found, or fallen into, and I taste the metal of this flaunting faucet; the iron with the water reminds me of youthful fist fights and bloody lips and the water has never tasted so good, has never tasted so winter pipe cold, with its metallic blood hint such a plus. I fall into nostalgia, missing the taste of the tap water 80's and its environmental infusions, from the rubber hint of city water, filtered through an old, sun warmed garden hose, to the grassy, plastic awful of pooled rain water, aged an open week tepid in a three-ring kiddy pool.
I begin to remember the yesterdays of my life so clearly, and the little things of my life too. I begin to wonder if I am dying and that if life didn't really flash before your eyes in the end, but instead trickled out like the tap. I feel the dizzies come on suddenly and I reach over and sit on the closed, oak lid of the toilet. The bathroom begins to spin around me and so I close my eyes in defiance of this spinning bathroom, but the dark nothingness spins, too. Frightened, I begin praying to the Lord, but it was as if he had forgotten my name. He has forgotten my name. For a moment I am frightened again, and I am lonely again.
Then I hear the sound of your song, and even with your mumbling tune, the southern in your voice and the beautiful in your voice and the feminine in your voice its all still there, and your song reminded me of her and how she hated the silence so much she would push on dead wind chimes while singing her gospels with doubting belief.
I begin to think of my very first memory, and her first memory, and how it was so early, and I was so young and she was so young, that no one ever believed us, but we believed us and that was all that mattered, and then I see her, in Easter blue, so young she's infant like, with long hair, and those blue eyes, and that so very young her, asking me In toddler tongue what my name is, what's my name and me telling her, and then her trying to say it back to me with smile. With a smile.
And then I think of me and her and how when we grew, we grew together, us just single digits, playing in the Okie fields, her blue eyes looking at me, those piercing blue eyes on Cherokee, oh how rare that is, oh how rare she was. I see her and me, and we're holding hands through our time line, from barefoot filthy and five, catching toads in the creek behind some middle of nowhere, to ten year olds and cozy, looking up at her momma on the sofa as she quilted our adorable, slumbering, together cuddle, and her little self-curled in my arms, and that never changed . . . that never changed. Then it's me and her thirteen, us running in the flat fields that went on and on like oceans, and the shape of her, the way of her, changing, in my eyes, and in my mind, from my friend to this beautiful mine, and me trying to chase her down, my white boy wheeze, and her, always faster than me, but always slowing down and looking back on me, with that smile and with those eyes on me. God, those eyes on me . . .
And on that night fifteen and aching, when the sirens screamed, and I held her in that tight, storm cellar huddle, and the musk made me remember and candle lights made shadow quivers, and the radio preached its fear, and the night that we lost ourselves in each other. The night we became us.
I followed the sounds to your song, to your voice and it took me to where this dim light became an illuminating night and then when I saw you lying on the bed, on your side resting in your gorgeous long blonde stupor, singing your lonely sad melody, I saw you as a masterpiece. I kept my distance and respected you as such. When you stirred, I held my breath, and you shifted your lie and curled up one of your legs, bringing it towards your chest, sprawling out your belly down slumber, and making your short shorts ride up and wear like a thick thong. It turned your beautiful into lustful and your legs became "my god" and your ass became this aching, rubbing "Christ". Your feet became delicious and birthed in me fetishes I never had, and so I rubbed my aching self and kept apologizing for such disrespect, but I must relieve the pressure. I have to relieve the pressure, and you kept singing your mumbling verses as your face rested a heavy, wasted smushed, atop that god awful, gaudy bedding. Then your inebriated eyes opened subtly, enough to reveal your gorgeous green beautiful, but all I could see were blue eyes.
I removed my hand from my pants and I told you that you were very beautiful and I watched your blitz face stretch this subtle smile. You were neither conscious nor unconscious, but, like me, somewhere in between. You called out for me by calling out for him, some "him" of yours from some who-knows-when-or-where, and then I came to you, and I blanketed atop you, and began kissing you and touching you. I missed her so much you felt that longing in my kiss and your frozen, belly down responded in goose bumps. I pulled down your shorts and you let him, and I began to eat you everywhere and though you tasted like gorgeous, I made you taste like her, and you made the way I touched you and licked you and kissed you his way. Then you began to cry and tell me that you were sorry, and that I would always be your boo, that I would always be your boo, that I would always be your boo. You opened your legs slightly, inviting him in and I entered you and you made my rhythm his rhythm, my breath became his breath, and I made your moaning take hers. When you reached out for his hand and I gave you mine, and I yelled out for her to promise me to never leave me again, and then you answered for her and in that moment, you loved me like him and I loved you like her and we felt this together. I came hard, and then I rested atop you, while you reached back to stroke his hair and I whispered into your ear that I love her.
I wake in a semi stupor. You are already awake, looking at me with those green eyes, and scanning at me with intrigue; crying with confusion. We are sober but foggy, conscious but aching. I gaze at you and you are so beautiful, so perfect, and I feel this weight of guilt and I begin to tear up and tell you that I'm so sorry, that I don't deserve this, that I don't deserve you. I confessed that last night all I saw was her, and that last night I did all I could to be him for you, so you could be with me. You looked at me deeply and you read me deeply and I could feel it, and I became nervous as I watched your facial expression display a conclusion of me, or a judgement of me. So, I waited, and I braced, and you let me stew in wait, and then you ask me my name. . .
I say Wesley.
You say it back softly, and then, very subtly, you smile....
W.A Coleman has appeared in over a hundred literary magazines including 3 AM, Thrice Fiction, Evergreen Review, Houston Literary, Los Angeles Review, Echo In Review and many more. My short story collection entitled Wound and Suture (Montag Press) was published in 2014.