Candlelight Vigils – by Cheryl Anne Gardner

He crept down the clanking steel, whipping the bare skin of his calf with the leather belt on his trench coat each step he took. “Therapy,” he kept telling himself as he counted the steps, and would, maybe later, count the strike marks left upon his skin; though in the daylight, the red never looked red enough, never felt deep enough. His vision of life as he knew it had become a tatty film reel – black and white – silent and uncut – click, click, clicking off in the periphery like someone else’s memories.

Or maybe they were his. He couldn’t be sure. Not anymore.

He left work that day – alone – with an umbrella – open – his knuckles chalky white as evidence of how hard the wind was blowing the rain into his face. Mascara running down his cheeks, pale skin blossoming in the florescent lights, he would escape the world of black and white, the world of men, of suits and ties and lies. He would escape underground where private conversations echoed back against damp tile walls, where bargain hunters in bare feet traded Fritos for anatomy lessons. “I love you,” he said, quietly, just barely an audible whisper above the sounds of retching and grunting. A beggar tugged at his purse in the dark, and he remembered why he was there, why he had come here, and why he was waiting.

 

He’d said the “L” word once. Meant it once, when he’d said it to himself in the mirror – 6:00 am – when the morning light through the bathroom window at his flat was too weak to reach into the corners, but that was long ago, before the moths got to the silk, before the hems tattered. His lover had given him a string of pearls then, back then when he could grab and touch the bashful passage that was the woman he knew as himself.

A train would eventually come. He knew it, so he waited, and when it did, he would slip … out of his heels. When he could feel the ground rumbling. When he could smell his own perfume over the grease from the rails.

*****

Cheryl Anne Gardner likes to chase marbles on a glass floor, eat lint, play with sharp objects, and make taxidermy dioramas with dead flies. Contributing Editor, Columnist, Reviewer, and Indie Author:
Apocrypha and Abstractions

Contact  |  Website

*****

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