Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
About This
How to Submit

Gone Lawn 37
Summer Solstice, 2020

New Works

Dilon Zeres

A Love Story

There is a girl. And there is a boy. They are young but not too young. Pretty but not gorgeous. They have wit but they are not geniuses.
Their most notable feature is that there are two of them—because heaven forbid there ever be a love story featuring more than two people.
Now, the first thing you will notice about the girl is that her name is Lily.
Her hair is dark like darkness, but not too dark to seem impenetrable. She has freckles biting her face, but she hides them in cosmetic cream, which is so artificially serene it shines in the sunlight and blinds everything from the sidewalk to the sky.
One fateful day, Lily walks into her favorite coffeehouse. It is her favorite because it is nearby, so she can walk to it whenever she prefers to do so, and they all know her by name with her order memorized and neat. There are better coffeehouses which serve much better coffee—truly, the swill they serve here would barely classify as coffee in some countries around the world—but nevertheless, she enjoys it here, the mood and lighting and pastiche, wrapping herself in all its kitschy allure.
Today, however, an unfamiliar stranger enters the scene.
Here comes our boy—maybe he should be something other than a boy—here comes our martian, fresh from his descent, still scraping red dust from his eight earholes. I am only playing, of course, because this is a love story, and that would be nonsense.
His name is a typical monosyllabic bore. Something like Matt or Paul or Pete. Yes, our Pete!
His hair is boring and short. I guess it is brown, a sort of washed-out amber whose tint is limping to the finish line trying to make itself an actual color. There is a wave of stubble on his jaw, edged enough to convince others that in the right light he actually looks like more than just a boy, a man even, and to his credit he has a strain of hair which bleeds down across his forehead, causing him to appear far moodier than he really is, and every time he adjusts this strand or fixes his glasses, there is a temporal moment in which you could believe there was something going on his skull other than...well, nothing.
But, as you know, this is a love story.
Lily immediately observes him, finding his lameness to be somewhat luminescent. Which I suppose is not a surprise considering her taste in espresso is so foul, her life has probably been a series of poor decisions, so let us not cast stones at her for this momentary lapse in quality. This is not a moral tale, rife with shame and guilt and castigation. Let us stay all lovey-dovey here.
By incredible chance, she happens to be standing behind him in line, which is quite a long line, for it is a sudden flood of business at this modest coffeehouse, a nice convenience, and so Lily passes the time by talking small.
"Hey, excuse me—I would like to have sex with you, please."
Lily makes her offer and the boy turns around, seeing the lustfulness in her eyes, and recognizing its own demonic grip within himself. They slam into each other, bodies oscillating, their mouths gaping on each other's faces, all their clothes burning into crisped cinders, the whole coffeehouse astounded in silence, as these two fall to the floor, whirling in a cloud of heat and lust.
Oh, I am tricking you again. You cannot have a love story without a story. These two must fall in love before they can disgustingly make love. Preferably not in a public place as well.
What Lily actually says is something corny and forced, meaningless within the context of conversation, but by virtue of her saying it only to start a conversation, suddenly it is infused with so much meaning it explodes—which is exactly what it does out of her mouth, her tongue stumbling on the necessary sounds, perhaps out of nervousness or impatience or maybe she is just a dumb girl trying to impress a dumb boy.
He responds, grinning, pretending he is not blushing, but he so absolutely is, his face wrought in horrendous flamingo. She giggles, somewhat genuinely, an innocuous and sweet giggle, which warms the heart and flutters the stomach.
Lily and Paul, or whatever his name is, exchange quips of:
'Oh, it is quite hot today, isn't it?'
'So hot, I could fill the espresso machine with my sweat!'
'Oh, this line is quite long, isn't it?'
'So long, I shall die waiting for my espresso!'.
They are stuck in the shallows. So much so, the line moves ahead without them noticing, and a disgruntled person behind them yells at them to move forward. They break out of their trance, take their required steps, then reconnect the dots to reform their constellation of self-centered conversation.
It is the kind of pathetic, rushed language that two young people infatuated with each other often speak in. Hymns of detached daydreams, fake cynicism, forgotten holidays, ironic laughter, favorite genres, and agreement on how awful people who do not use signal lights are—in conclusion, they are despicable scum of the Earth.
When they finally reach the counter, Pete offers to pay for Lily's drink, a gesture she only halfheartedly rejects, but accepts anyway. Is it because she is fond of this new crush? Or is it just that free coffee is always nice? Please, submit your answers by noon yesterday! And tune in at midnight, where we will be presenting the most voted responses by scrying them out of the entrails of a lamb!
Oh hush. I cannot have a tiny smidge of fun?
Our boy sets the hook, asking Lily for her contact information; she chomps right down, ripping her jaw nearly off as she answers. And so, the seed is planted.
As it has been many times before.
We cut out and swoop in. Transition to the next scene.
A murky movie theater. Aisles of ghostly faces. A screen glittering in two-dimensional fantasies.
Our hero and heroine—if you can call them that, although neither of them has performed any heroic act other than asking each other on a date—sit side to side, a bucket of buttery confection between them, knees skimming, elbows so close you can feel heat boiling in the empty space. Almost causing molecular fusion, evaporating everything around them—my consolations to everyone else in the theater.
On their faces are sickly expressions of affection as they feed each other handfuls of eviscerated corn and fakeout smooches, appearance affected only by flickering movements of light, the visions of a movie they are barely concerned with.
You might assume they are watching a romance, but you are wrong, because not only are they refusing to stare at the screen, obsessed with each other instead, but it is actually a horror picture, some studio-spit story about your generic psycho killer stalking and killing surfer girls or something ridiculous like that, with accompanied snares and bass to let you know exactly when the killer will strike, along with paranoid jump-cuts just in case you were not sure you should be scared so your unfortunate eyesight must be shaken to fear.
And not only that, but you are the one viewing a romance right now.
This horror tripe is too sterile and scripted, however, lacking the edge of something cheaper, where its value is derived from you having to find it, rather than something expensive where it has value only because the invisible god of dollar has deemed so. Predictability is profitability—that is how you beat pesky probability, the chaotic universe be damned!
As the credits roll, our newly-minted lovers exit the theater into an alleyway strung-out on steely-bricks and neon-streetlight. Their first date is going wonderfully. They have such great chemistry; such fantastic rhythm to how they interact. It is almost like they were written for each other. Fate is a funny thing that way.
Our boy places his arm around her shoulders, crunching her hair into her neck, but somehow it is comfortable and warm. Just as well—she should savor this sweetness. For they are about to be struck by a unfortunate dose of amanaemonesia.
Unknown to them or you or even me up to this point, these two lovebirds have attracted the attention of a mysterious stranger, who followed them out of the movie theater and has been stalking them through the night streets.
And it must be a stroke of coincidental luck that Pete leads Lily into a secluded corner, beneath the stench of the backside of a local restaurant, the only light blending from the peripherals of their frontside sign, a sore of gigantic electric letters, in a language of esoteric origin.
But in these shadows, they can focus their sights on each other.
Lily leans against the damp wall, hardened as it is, while her boy pushes up against her, totally entranced. Both of their mouths hang open, night air swirling in, oxygen and nitrogen mingling through carbon-shaved teeth. And for a temporal time, the world seems slow, almost like it is dripping into fade, matter loopy and stretching in clay-collapse. Then it happens.
Not the kiss, mind you, if that is what you are thinking. But a blade, shoved into the side of the boy, as a leather snake wraps around his neck, constricting him. In and out, the predator's pincers methodically raking up and down the ribs, so rapidly it beats the blood, which has yet to even leak out by the time the action is done.
The killer drops their prey to the ground.
Lily cannot scream, the shock of it all rendering her mute, her throat choking itself. A shadowy figure stands on her, their weapon dangling in crimson juice, and before she can react at all, a claw snatches her mouth, and the other plunges a knife into her stomach, twisting and torquing its internal flesh, until blood is seeping down her neck like an abstract painting on a rainy day. So they pull back, letting Lily's throat flood itself.
Despite the pain, her eyes still look straight—the killer's head is concealed in a black-latex dome, with a silver-spit zipper lining vertically in cruel symmetry.
Can they even see? Do they even have eyes? Or do they let instinct sense the flesh, and let instinct end the warmth to return its surroundings to cold-blooded frost. Lily does not bleed to death—she freezes.
And for a second, you truly believed you were reading a horror story. Aghast!
Yet again, I have pulled the proverbial wool over your imperceptible eyes, performing what you thought was performance, but was essentially imitation. This is a love story, remember?
Pete kisses Lily—there are butterflies igniting into fireworks! Both of their bodies shiver from desire; under the spell of love.
Our lovers have it so wonderfully.
To be young and in love and soaking in rain. To be underneath city-lights, smog, smoke, all the bruised stones of the city, bleeding their mold and ruin upon the street. Lacerations from a poet unspoken for the last time.
Where should they go?
It does not matter anything at all. They are prince and princess in this night. In their space, that bind between them, all else fades to glisten, those sparkles of remnant worlds, places that may have been but are not anymore.
The way they look—no, the way they gaze at each other, their eyes pouring into a synchronized stream, sharing their vision just like they share their tongues. It is all so sickening.
Sorry, I apologize. I shall continue.
Meant to say it is all so serendipitous. Almost surreptitious.
A secret they both can keep. Nobody else knows; nobody else is allowed. This is their club. This is their pact. They can share blood if they want, just like the ancients used to do. But all these modern squirms are so squeamish, I doubt they would share a coffee let alone bind themselves through the sanctity of nature's venom of vitality. If only we were that fortunate to witness something other than goo-goo and gah-gah and baby-face flirtations.
Their lips continue, somehow, never ceasing to be wet, as if an ocean of saliva lay in each of their mouths. And now, I am going to be sick.
Oh, but you wanted a love story?
Lily and Whatshisname wander away from the alley. The rain has receded. It is rather tepid outside. They walk along, paws interlocked, humming songs they both know and repeating clichés they both have heard:
'Your eyes are like diamonds.'
'Oh, stop it!'
'You have the voice of an angel.'
'Oh, you are too much, please!'
'I've never felt this way about someone before.'
'Neither have I.'.
They stop for a slice of pizza. It has octopus chunks on it; tentacles chiseled into the cheese.
Lily is furiously enraptured by Pete. She has never met someone like him. Someone so sweet, funny, smart, generous. She feels like she can be herself around him, without judgment or persecution. No matter what she says or does, he will not fault her for it, and he will still love her. She does not have to pretend or restrain herself. She can just be Lily, and that is okay.
Pete loves her, too. She is not like other girls. She has a warm beauty about her, something earthly and natural. Aside from her unique attractiveness, she is thoughtful, witty, engaged, unafraid. She knows what she wants and she takes it. But she does not hurt others. She does not play games with him. She says what she means. And when she smiles it is like a million stars exploding in the sky, so wondrous and so bright, it hurls new galaxies outward and inspires the sun itself to shine a bit brighter.
As she chews, he delicately pulls a strand of her hair behind her ear, her face clearer now. She blushes. Almost chokes on her food, but he is quick to hand her a glass of water and then they both laugh until everything is so quiet, they can hear each other breathe.
There they are, on booth-seats beside each other, at some corner pizza-shop, 2AM, nobody else around. The night is sometimes sweet in that way. Silence is serenity.
Pete notices a crumb on Lily's cheek, so he brushes it away. As his finger strokes Lily's face, her body puffs. He stares down her neck, with its cute and unique moles on left and right, down to her low-cut blouse, where he sees only the surface of her bosoms, blush and full, swelling in and out with her every breath. She admires him as well, tracing along the crevice of his forearm, up to his bulging biceps, which are fit and firm for such a skinny boy; then to his shirt, where even behind cloth, the outlines of his chest lay out two solid mounds of stone.
Without thinking or announcing herself, her hand reaches out, suddenly placing themselves on his chest, but he does not retaliate. She gently pushes in but is refuted by its solidness. She can barely breathe, now.
With one hand, the boy asserts himself between her thighs, resting there, its presence known. His other hand caresses the back of her neck, lurching forward with every sway, until at last Lily's head is near his, and their lips clump together.
After a mere moment of delicacy, they chomp at each other, mouths agape and dripping on their faces. He snatches her left breast, not squeezing harshly, but rather molding its plump mass to the form of his hand, much like a sphere of clay. Lily moans.
In their excitement, the instincts of their ancestors take over, and all manner of reason or intellect is subsumed by simian desire, as he lifts her from her seat, her thighs trembling in his palms, setting her on his lap with her legs encasing his sides. She lunges forward, kissing and moaning.
Her face is rosy as strawberries. He digs his face into her blouse like a shovel into excavation site. Then they start rubbing greasy pizza slices on each other's open flesh.
The chef comes out but does not make a sound. The humble pizzamaker is astounded at what he sees going on in his own shop. Should he say something? Should he call for help? Should he just... watch?
Maybe he does. Maybe he crouches behind the counter and reaches under his apron. Maybe you would like to read about that, huh? You sick perverts.
But this is a love story—not pornography.
There is no voyeuristic piemaker. There is nobody else around. The rain returns, casting the streets in summer steam. And our two lovers wrench their garments back just enough that they can endure the coveted act of breeding.
They make love to each other. Flesh against flesh. Vibrant and vindicated. Doing the one thing they are always meant to do. Just like the primates they are.
Until there is nothing left to do.
Then they clean themselves up, bodies still ringing in hungover ecstasy. When they leave, the rain evaporates on contact, their fumes exhaling from them in a cloud of cupid-flame. Just two objects recovering from romantic inertia.
Oh, it is appaling to me. Probably to you as well. This isn't much of a love story.
No sex. No violence. Enough of this sadism. We need better representations, here. Maybe they could be innocently ice-skating? Or whitewater rafting? Or standing around a burning crucible where the village is tossing witches in like it's out of seasons, and the two of them are cackling together. Some type of medieval menagerie. No—no, that's not it.
Or maybe she could be a princess....
One of those fairy tale ones. Fancy and fantastical. A royal flower waiting to be plucked and pruned by whatever lucky prince should come her way and save her from whatever curse happens to befall her. Usually a curse invoked against her by some witch—as if witchery must always be associated with evildoing. But they know more of the universe in their diagrams of will and aeon than any priest or physicist could possibly ever have faith in. Knowledge as power—rather than numbers on a board.
But, again, we digress—and I say we because I refuse to take guilt for this malarkey.
Let's say she is a princess trapped in a tower. A tower without a door. Only an open window, all the way at the top. This great phallus of stone an inescapable paradigm. And she waits at the window, in a formal dress of opulent opal and princess-esque pink, a cap on her head in the shape of a hermetic pyramid, with a flowing ribbon pouring from it in thrice folds.
She stares out at the forest surrounding her—a sickly sea of verdant, half-rotting and crumbling in green dust. No animals. No sky. Just the empty faces of abandoned nature.
Up here, all by herself, all her desires placed upon that window ledge, of what the seemingly impossible dream of romantic accompaniment dangles on an edge much like a finger dangling on a knife. Until, suddenly, she sees a ball of righteous gold go spearing through the dusty forest. What could this possibly be?
It approaches, closer and closer, revealing details of itself, pixels becoming rendered, an image being born in emergent strokes. It is a gallant Knight—yes, a true paladin of passion, in beautiful silver armor, plated and sharp, with brushes of blue banner and cloth, the semblance of a golden heart emblazoned across his chest. He rides a wondrous stallion of pure white, with a golden horn, and golden wings! Yes, of course his steed has wings and a mane the color of astral suns! And he leaps off the ground, crushing its magnificent wings against the timid air, lifting, ascending to meet the window of the tower eye to eye!
Princess Lily is overcome with herself. Never has she seen such a majestic thing before. Emotions and feelings and all those feminine chores fill her up, pore by pore, hole by hole, as she gazes at the flying beast, which settles beside the window, lowering its flapping to a tender tread in the air, with Knight Pete doing his best impression of what a Knight should be, posture straightened like a pig's back, chest puffing, locks of hair flowing, face stoic and stone like the hollow shell of masculinity he's pretending to emulate.
Body beside body. No air and no ground can separate them.
"You look like a princess that could use saving," the Knight says.
"You look like a knight that needs a princess to save," the Princess replies.
Before anyone can die from groaning, she hops on top of the flying horse, behind the Knight, pushing her legs against his, wrapping her arms around his waist, her hands ending upon his chest, which is broad and feels too big for her hands—but that's just the way she likes it and it takes every ounce of will in her to not shudder in pleasure right here on the back of this horse.
The Knight twists his body—an insanely uncomfortable contortion but it looks cool for the camera—quickly kisses her on the lips without even looking at her because he's just too stoic to care, then he returns to a normal position and heel-kicks his steed to soar off into the clouds, the new romance between the Knight and the Princess anointed by heaven itself.
It is all quite sickening when you think about it, but, then again, you wanted a love story.
And they lived happily ever after—until they had children. Ha! I'm only poking fun at you, one last time, because it's all over now.
Our love story is coming to an end. I should probably tell you what really happened.
So there we are, waiting in line at the coffee shop, Lily and Pete. There is a moment where se looks back, and he looks forward, and just for this glance, they see each other and smirk and think maybe this could be the one. But then they look away, this momentary what-if gone forever in the nothingness of nullified causality, and they each order their drinks and leave and go about their own lives without any concern for the other person. In fact, they never see each other again.
Maybe they both die horribly of plague. Maybe they do not. Is it our place to care either way?
Love—that endlessly effervescent thing of attachment and possession, selflessness and devotion, a paradox of companionship that almost always ends in divorce or resentment. But, for the choice few of us, who, either through luck or whimsy or self-control, can find love—a true love, the kind of love that is without material or compulsive things, but is a joining together of souls, a sharing of hearts, a lifting of all boats on its waves of light; this love which is untethered from the strings of the universe and its many rules; this love that is waking up a little before your lover and making them their favorite breakfast, and surprising them with it because despite how grueling and nihilistic life can be, the only thing that matters to you is that the person you love wakes up happy and falls asleep happy—this love is the only one that matters.
Anyways, the end.

Dilon Zeres is an irrealist writer. Enjoys daydreaming and stargazing. You can follow them on twitter (here) or look at their prose blog (linked).