Chas Blankenship is a recent graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelor’s in creative writing. His poetry has appeared in HUMID and his fiction has appeared in Crab Fat Magazine. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Not So Little Things
The mailman’s not two steps off the stairwell before your flowers fly from my hand. You knew I despised lilacs, you shit. Sending out of spite. It’s a low I wouldn’t have thought you capable of sixteen hours ago. The surround sound explosion of glass competes with a jackhammer at street level, jet of swirling green water spritzed on my chest and sponged by my floorboards through their seems like an ocean spill of crude off some foreign gulf. I find myself surprisingly still. Waiting, but, no. No, there’s no obligatory knock. No human concern or is everything alright, ma’am? Messengers have no stakes, silly. What was I thinking? Well there’s a prompt but I bite anyway, thinking how much connection of some sort, any sort, would be welcome sans my previous physical display of the contrary. I stand a spell in some middle distance. My apartment feels much bigger all of a sudden, the iris of my mind pulling back and back and higher and higher into catacomb levels of scale, making me feel quite small indeed.
Should I be a bleeding heart? Romanticize the situation and say it’s a void, this distance I’m in? A void vacated by a shit whom the proximity of my affection still haunts the walls and the shower and the sheets, wrapping arms around me from behind. Warmth. Reverb. Glass might shout but whispered promises are so much sharper, I find. I look on while toes crowned in cracked black nail polish slip along stained, swollen wood. I never realized their shape, these fleshy Martians, until I use their craniums to poke at a shard for some much needed extraterrestrial dissection. The toe flanking my left foot’s big guy lets a trail of red spill in saliva speed. There should be a recoil from it, I’m not saying it doesn’t smart. But it’s welcoming, in a way and I feel a throbbing rocket off from beneath me and up behind my eyes, now closed to the literal state, the catastrophe of broken things, settling instead in the tender grooves of otherness. Of pain of a different sort; deliberate, self-inflicted. Just so I know I have control over it this time instead of you. Then, gradually, warmth takes up space in my senses along my toes.
Foot forward, pooling in what remains of dirty flower spillage. Eyes open, camera reorients and rack focus to a cinematographer’s cue. Venetian light slit though dust beams in ricochet from the foyer to my foot. Dying stems wriggling for it, choking. I see the light, an ocean wave set to crash upon the couch some steps away from me. And I swear to God, you shit, you’re still here. Kind of. That stupid blotch of body sweat soaked on one side. The side you insisted be your seat since I didn’t care about such trifles. A beeping starts to bloom, what is that? Did I, I did. Already I can tell, coffee grounds burning stale October air or what’s left of it in the kitchenette.
See it was October before. Just like we were we before but now it’s now, here, on the first of November. Before our Halloween was tainted by a tongue in your mouth I wasn’t attached to, saturated in saliva and cheap wine from a can and cigarette ash. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe you were just some alien invader, seeking to pillage and conquer me in all the ways most suitable to you. But jokes on you now, you smarmy little stain. Isn’t that all you are to me now? A speck of scum not fit to lick the blood from my reddening digit? I swing my front door open, ignoring the cat pee stench of Mrs. Glasgow’s cramped corner space, meshed with tendril fragrant swirls of that Goulash she boils by the bucketful every Monday night, always Monday night. To hell with it, I decide, shouting from the rooftops in my mind to no one but myself since no one could hope to care but that, I needed to understand, was more than okay.
Bathe me in your scents, Mrs. Glasgow. Fill my space with November breeze. With something familiar made new again now that my schedule is wide open. Hit my nostrils with bubbling kidney beans and Ms. Snugglepuss’s urinal escapades. I picture the feline, a calico painted all Pollack like in orange and black, zipping around like some cartoon fireman holding onto a high pressure hose for dear life, knocking over framed photos from the old country. I snort laugh, rather unattractively. Ew. That’s what you’d use to say. Every time my hair was out of place or my toe nails went untrimmed or I spat out disagreeable food. All these tiny fixtures you’d get so hung up on, Christ.
The still threatens to settle in once more. Silences of a life vacuum sealed, a personal doll meant for someone else’s benefit and not her own. Good grief, what was I thinking?
There wasn’t an inch of plastic on me, buster. All flesh and proud, from split ends to stretch marks and with flesh came a voice I should’ve used sooner. Like that time my Dad’s refried beans made me fart up a fart cloud so farty, the dining room was quarantined for the rest of Fourth of July weekend. Did THAT get your attention, asshole? I let loose an airless hyuk fit for Goofy. A snot glob drips off my lip so I laugh even harder. Yes. Embrace it, bitch. I’m so liberatingly ugly in my laughter now, standing with my bleeding toe and my burning java and all the little flaws sharpening in sight now that they can and I let the flowers wither and die since it’s about time, don’t you think?