With my landlady’s permission, I repainted my little apartment. All the walls were dull white. I chose canary yellow for the living room. The glossy paint made my walls shine. When I came home from work one day, he had placed duct tape on one sulfur wall. Two slashes and a big curve; a smiley face.
As I approach my tables, I pretend I am a tiger. The rich women don’t see a tiger, they see a block of concrete carrying a tray of gourmet food. I don’t like these women. Or their designer purses. I imagine biting their heads off. Pearl earrings and all.
Necks break in car accidents. He was on his way over. I had dinner ready. Lasagna. Salad with lots of olives. Breadsticks and wine. His mom called me as she was driving to the hospital. I was too late.
The garden was full. Polluted. Women in hats: purple, yellow, pink. They bloomed everywhere. I was on break. I hid by the tenth tee, sipping on some coffee.
He was crossing over the cart path, looking at the ground. I picked up the white ball and handed it to him.
“That’s a penalty,” he said, lifting his baseball cap up from his forehead. Brown eyes, warm.
“What’s a penalty?” I asked.
“It’s against the rules to touch the ball during play.” He looked back at his partners who were too busy drinking beer to miss him.
“So, I didn’t touch it,” I dropped the ball and went back to sipping my coffee.
I feel like cracking myself with a hammer. Smashing my body into smaller versions of myself. In pieces. Equal portions, side by side, spread on the flat sheets of my bed. Each fragment will sprout a head and tail. I will keep myself company.
But without him I am like dough. The hammer sinks into my skin and I feel nothing.
“I’ll drown!” I scream.
“No, you won’t! Now stop squirming!” His brown eyes squint in the sun. “This is for your own good!” He drops me into the pool.
I sink down to the bottom. I open my eyes. I have never been underwater before. Everything is quiet. Hollow. My hair floats around my shoulders. I look up, see his legs slowly kicking.
I scrunch myself into a spring, shoot up towards the surface, just as he taught me to do.
“Hello there,” he smiles.
“Hello there,” I answer as I inhale heavily. I wrap my legs around his waist. He navigates us in circles as we kiss.
Angie Curneal Palsak lives in South Bend, Indiana (U.S.A).She received her MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University back in 1999. She co-edits Ugly Cousin (an online journal for those who consider themselves “literary rejects”) and posts weekly on her blog about trying to balance “real” life and time for writing and art at angiecpalsak.blogspot.com .