Bike Trails and Ash Clouds – A Halloween Freebie by Cheryl Anne Gardner

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1930 Bat GirlYou just have to let the hunger take what it needs and love what it loves.

I love you.

Simply.

I don’t even know what love means or how to do it. You robbed me of that.

I hear the sound of running water, or it might be the sound of your blood running down the length of me.

How pretentious, you, offering me a light … a drink … and then a ride home.

Is it because I can’t dance?

How did you know I couldn’t dance? I’ve been sitting here all night, and yes, I’m an introvert; it’s obvious to me, but when you say it, it sounds so thin.

Pointless.

We’re both awkward, but even so, your advances are suspect. Lewd. Just the way I like them, but I don’t tell you that. You said, “Hey. Remember that fat girl from high school? The one they called miss kitty because she liked to finger herself in the shower after gym class?” and I said, “That was me.”

You’d taken her panties. Left her crying on the football field when you promised to kiss her and then didn’t. It was just a random moment in time. You told everyone you’d fucked her though, and that she liked it.

Everyone laughed.

At her.

Not you.

I used an alias on my name tag tonight. Though you wouldn’t have known it was me even if I hadn’t. I’m not that Barbara anymore. I’m thin. Beautiful now. And you’re … not. I saw you slip that powder into my drink. A few minutes ago, when I went to freshen up. Some things never change, but I’m immune to your charms now. You couldn’t know that, either. I wasn’t then, so in the end, assumption will be your undoing. Not mine.

“Oh, how silly of me; now I’m being pretentious.”

That’s what I’ll say to you. Just before I shut the trunk so I won’t have to hear you begging. It’s the silence I’m after. I’ll seek comfort tonight, in the moon … and in the dream I once had of you screaming. I’ll smile. I’ll revel in the small comforts, offered, until now never taken. Just like I did all those years ago on that cold lonely football field where you and your scumbag friends scarred me for life.

You were the first, so how could I not still love you?

Look—

I’m a snow angel now. Thanks for lending me your skin to make my wings. I hope the thought of me doesn’t haunt you anymore.

© Cheryl Anne Gardner (2011, November/December Issue II). Stone Highway Review (Alternate version)

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