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He refused to kiss his wife
He tried to tie cherry stems into knots with his tongue. First, on the bus to school, drawn from an infinite pocket. Later, the subway back from work.
He refused to kiss his wife. Not yet. I don’t want to disappoint you.
Pits rolling and crashing into the boots of strangers. Five minutes a cherry, before he’d spit it out for the next. I overworked it, he’d say. That wasn’t the one. Jaw like a wolf and hands like bells.
One day I caught him behind the bleachers at his son’s game. He cradled the knotted stems in his hand like a broken bird. And he admitted it. I can only do it alone. People destroy the beauty of the moment, he cried.
The sun was pink and covered half the sky. You’re wrong, I said. You haven’t learned a thing.
I wrote the above story in 2018, almost exactly five years ago. The one missing line was the “He cradled…” line, which I added last year. The story is already pretty dreamy and doesn’t explain things, so including that line is some mercy for the reader, I think.
Stylistically, there are bits that are still in my writing: Sentence fragments, fanatic but innocent protagonists, oddities being socially accepted. I have a lot of affection for this piece.