So there was this bench, wood, birdshit, nothing special about it. Just a bench on which we were sat. Waiting. Fall leaves in a swirling vortex at our feet. Dust and naked trees. Cooing winged rats all around us. Just a bench on a street. Just a girl. Just a guy. I’m the guy, and I had this thought. I’m really no good at thoughts and usually I get what I deserve when I have them. I’m kinda like the bench. She wasn’t. She was looking into this little compact mirror, which had been extricated from her handbag with great difficulty only moments before. She was looking into it all squint-eyed as she smeared and smeared and smeared her lips with color. That’s when the thought came to me, so I asked, “Why do you, well, why do women put that stuff on their lips?” She stopped her smearing long enough to look at me and smile. Then she went back to the task at hand. Smear, smear, smear, pucker, pucker, pucker, smear, smear, smear. “I don’t get it, you know. You have pretty lips. Most women have pretty lips, not that I stalk women’s lips or anything. I’m not saying that. I’m just asking.” This time I got a smile that was a lot like the bench. She snapped the mirror shut, chucked it and the lipstick into her handbag, and then turned to face me with lips that looked like those huge wax lips you get to eat at Halloween time. I didn’t say that though for very obvious reasons, and so there was this little bit of silence until she blew me a kiss with a “You really want to know?” attached to it. I did, and “I do,” was my reply because the bench and the birdshit and the pecking rats were all getting on my nerves and I was cold and benches don’t get cold, so that was odd, and she just looked at me like I was odd and said, very calmly, “Fellatio. Men like to see the little rings around their peckers when we’re done.” And that’s why I’m the bench and she is not. I wanted to kiss her, had to kiss her. I told her as much, so she asked for a tissue, but then the bus came and she said she couldn’t wait for me or the tissue, even if I had one.
© 2014 Cheryl Anne Gardner, Published as part of the Lit Bulb Festival
The Lit Bulb Festival is an online International fiction festival featuring new flash fiction, flash non-fiction, and poetry from across the globe. It features text, spoken word performance and other collaborative efforts across multiple sites for two weeks starting May 29th, 2015. Lit Bulb is supported by the SA Writers Centre, Inc. and Pure Slush. For more information and a programme schedule visit lit bulb here.