“I was lucky to be brought up in Nature. There, lightning strikes taught me about sudden death and the evanescence of life. Mice litters showed that death was softened by new life. When I unearthed “Indian beads, fossils from the loam, I understood that humans have been here a long, long time. I learned about the sacred art of self-decoration with monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets.
She realized there was a pattern.
After kissing so many men.
It left an unpleasant taste in her mouth. A tiny chemical and biological reaction of rebellion against their male nature.
She said nothing as he squeezed her goodbye. Until next time.
She smiled because they never really know. Men never do.
I get lost in the blinking lights of the casino. I float away in the haze of cigarette smoke and my thoughts ping like the slot machines.
Sweet alcohol slid through my veins.
I wiped the sweat from my brow. And a man looked at me.
You are faking it, he said.
What do you mean?
You dance like you have confidence. We both know you don’t have any.
I sat down.
I lit up a cigarette and stared at him.
I must have a tell. I am a terrible gambler.
I used to walk up and down those streets. I thought I was happy.
Sometimes he would walk with me. We never held hands.
We didn’t need to.
I was eighteen. I still feel the cool desert air kiss my skin. I still see him in the glow of the street lamps.
He started to unravel the rope, thread by thread. Until all that was left coming out of my heart was a single thread of spider’s silk. It’s one of the strongest materials on Earth. It could hold a car, or a building, and be taut.
There was a flash of the shears. Blood. But from me, not a single tear.
I blinked. He looks down.
He didn’t even know he was holding the scissors.
And his ocean of sorrow parted. He crashed and stormed and thundered around me. But I stood still. Unmovable. Still as stone.