Alexander Rabb CC
New York Pig Sty
He hadn’t spoken to me in months, not since we broke up on New Year’s Eve and he asked me for a farewell-fuck. I said no. He said it was worth a shot.
So why then? In the middle of March when the skies were still heavy with snow, and I was dragging a heart that beat for him with each shuttered step forward. Yes. I would meet him at the bar. No. I would not tell my therapist.
I sat in my car in the parking lot. What’s wrong with a beer in a hipster bar as the earth is dead asleep under dirty snow, with someone who ate your heart and offered his blood-stained shirt covered in plans of forever, a home, children? I stared blankly at the entrance and crunched the salt sewn pavement. He sat with the bartender, laughing, like it was a normal night. Like he hadn’t contacted me as though it were another day. Like we were still together. I’d say everything moved in slow motion like the movies, but I think I ran to the bar like some love-sick fool. Maybe I latched onto a tap. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. I sat next to him and slid my jacket off my shoulders. He told me I looked good. I did. The bartender asked me what I wanted to drink. I asked for a lager.
The chained heart flexed his bicep and asked me if it looked bigger. I told him the shape changed. He grabbed my hand and made me feel it. I could feel the bumps from his stick-and-poke tattoo. They pricked my skin, an ink stain forever on my life. I pulled my hand away hoping no one saw. You like it, he said. He laughed.
It was more difficult than I thought, to see someone casually after investing so much life into him. I felt like an addict, my skin twitching under a waffle-knit sweater. Yet I persisted, with a wall, and talking points. How I started therapy. How terribly grad school was going. He said I was blaming him. I was. Partially. He was persistent, too. That I should go home with him in the middle of the week. I said no. But he walked me to my car and kissed me. Then brought me to his and drove to the back of the bar. There was a light on a building about 100 feet away, but next to us the building was brick, blackened by soot with a shattered glass window. He climbed on top of me in the passenger seat and ripped my jacket.
We went back to his place in separate cars so I wouldn’t stay the night. That way I wouldn’t get the wrong idea. It was just sex. My deep breaths filled the car, and I got high on my own apprehension. I drove through the black night, the fog heavy along the river where he lived. It was familiar but foreign to be on the orchard blanketed in snow. I looked into the sky to see the constellations I had missed so much, but the winter sky hid them. He was already inside when I got there, warming the renovated pig sty where he lived with a propane space heater.
I wanted to prove that I wasn’t some sad, clingy thing. That I could still be fun. I pushed him against the wall and kissed him. His yellow flag with the snake fell down. I tread on it. I never liked that thing. In minutes we were naked. Playfully, I threw my underwear across the room. They knocked the hose off the propane space heater. My life flashed before my eyes. He yelled at me, but we laughed after the situation was handled in a very quick, but naked manner.
The night ended after a cold sweat; thrusts to last a lifetime. All the orchard sounds were gone. No more cicada hum. No frogs. Just the crunch of my shoes on snow. I drove back into the fog. We never saw each other again. I still haven’t told my therapist.
Ryan Norman is a writer from New York living in the Hudson Valley. Inspired by the landscape, he writes what he feels. His work has appeared in From Whispers to Roars, XRAY Literary Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Storgy Magazine and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @RyanMGNorman.
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