Weeping Petals (Story by R.C. Peris)

I was sitting on the curb of the street in front of my house. It was a warm day and I had a plastic cup with gin and tonic. The ice was melting and I watched it wane in the glass like I was staring at a disappearing moon in its cycle.

“Something interesting in that cup?” It was a man’s voice hardened by liquor and cigarettes. I looked up. The man was in a black Mustang with the window rolled down. There were hard etched lines on his face but there was something youthful and handsome about him. His hair was longish and wavy with small curls at ends.

“Just ice.” I didn’t smile.

“Ice is interesting?” He smiled.

“It is when it disappears.” I shrugged and then sipped. The bite of gin was still strong.

The man stared at me. “We all disappear. We’re all ice cubes melting into nothingness. You look interesting.”

I laughed. “I’m like ice? Too warm to be ice.”

“You’re too hot.” He was still smiling.

I laughed again. “No. My tits aren’t big enough. My face isn’t pretty enough.”

“You seem perfect to me.”

“Good line. I bet you get all the girls to swoon.”

He stopped smiling. “It’s not a line.” He lit a cigarette. “Will go get a drink with me?”

“Are you a serial killer?”

“I hate cereal. I hate milk too. As long as we’re talking about cereal.”

I didn’t laugh. “There’s a bar two blocks from here.”

“Get in the car.”

“I don’t know you. I’m going to walk there. Follow me.”

He followed me slowly in his car. I knew he was watching me closely when he wasn’t staring at the road. When I got to the bar, Stevie’s Place, the man parked and got out. He was wearing jeans and boots. He was tall. Thin. But I thought he could do well in a fight.

“Are you staring at me?” he asked. He walked forward and moved a lock of hair from my clammy forehead. I felt a chill. Something fluttered in my spine. My limbs felt slack. I imagined myself beneath his weight in bed.

“Let’s get a drink before we both disappear.” I held his hand. It felt vaguely damp.

“If we disappear from this hard land together, it will be worth it. I can already feel my pain shrinking.

“I got pain too. You don’t know anything yet.”

“I want to know everything.”

We got our drinks and when night tumbled recklessly across the desert sky we kissed and I knew this man would be my husband. So I told him everything and I cried. And he told me everything. The vulnerability was raw, crushing, and yet so tender. I found love on a warm spring night. When I woke up this morning, I thought the day would be shit. I was sad. Lonely. And now this single day was whittling away with a man who kissed suffering away. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t fall in love so quickly. You need only expose your soul and then life opens like those roses in my yard that somehow bloom overnight and then weep petals for the rest of their brief existence.

THE END

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