Tulips

I put tulips under all the pillows and then I set fire to the house.  Sounds dramatic, I’m sure. I mean, will forensics even know there was tulips there if everything is ashes by the time they get there?  I would know the tulips were there. I will always know. I will never forget. I bought those damn pillows. I remember researching which ones would enhance his quality of rest. The way you sleep impacts the way you live. He worked so hard, by the time he slept, I wanted it to be deep fruitful sleep.

She found a diamond bracelet in the back of the car.  My daughter found it while picking up some fruit loops that fell out of her mouth and rolled under the drivers seat.   Araina picked up the bracelet and dangled it in front of her face. When the light danced with the glass in the rear view mirror, I snapped out of my mommy daze. “What is that, Araina?” “Your pretty bracelet, Mommy.” I turned green with envy.  My heart began to bleed. The last time we saw a movie, we fought through the first 30 minutes and left early.  He was drooling over the main character.  I found this to be disturbing and pathetic because it was one of those graphically enhanced movies like “Avatar.”  “You’re getting horny over a computerized character!?” He just rolled his eyes at me.  The chick wasn’t even human.  I should have known then that we were a mess. I can’t compete with imagination. I should have known our reality was being invaded. Who was invading our reality?

I prayed it wasn’t something cliche like a chick at work or an Instagram model.  It was both!  Apparently, Lily was an aspiring actress.  She was a brand ambassador and a party promoter but that wasn’t bringing home the bacon. She decided to get a second job working for my husbands telemarketing company.

One late night when I surprised my husband with an under the covers “special treat”, the taste of lipstick left a residue on my tongue.  I could smell baby wipes and cologne.  We were arguing so I don’t think he expected my mouth to replace his alarm clock.  We were both surprised. He denied my blatant accusations. He labeled me abusive when I smacked him. I knew I was right though.  I knew something was going on.  One night while he was overseeing the OT crew, I hired a sitter and drove the 17 miles to the job. In a true act of absurdity and a visual reenactment of every urban novel ever read…there they were.

In the employee lounge, over the sound of the office dishwasher they were grunting and moaning. They were so bold.  It was as if they were supposed to be together and that was their sacred space. There on the floor slipping and sliding in the free office supplied french vanilla coffee creamer was their love nest.  I decided not to make a scene.  I decided not to ask, “why?” I decided not to beat the bimbo up. These were all quick decisions.  This didn’t need to be a Waiting to Exhale Moment.  This didn’t need to be an episode of Snapped. I picked up my pocketbook and returned the visitors pass to the front desk.  I drove home without the radio playing and I slowly counted my breaths.  I walked passed our lime green deck chair. My husband would watch golf in that chair on the iPad while drinking an ice cold Stella Artois in the summer.  I kicked that ugly ass chair into the salt water pool and paid the babysitter. I then carefully selected 5 Lily flowered tulips from our backyard garden and placed them under all the pillows in our master bedroom.  I packed two bags, unplugged Arainas Nintendo Switch from the charger and strapped her in the booster seat in the CHR we kept around for guests.  Then I took a safety match from the glove compartment and set fire to the house.

We drove away from the flames and the ashes of my cremated marriage.  I cried silently while my daughter slept in the back seat.  I mourned my youth spent with someone who didn’t deem me worthy of honesty.  I wondered if the smoke smelled like lilies or regret.

By: Shaun Liriano

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Trippin’ Over You- Chest Naked In The Park (Part 5)

Tamara was an emotional wreck.  She woke up a half hour before her alarm clock went off at 5am.  She hadn’t eaten since 3pm the day before.  Her appetite was shot.  Her patience was low and her disappointment was high.  Tamara draped an old T-shirt over her television.  She had no desire to watch the nonsense disguised by capitalistic puppeteer’s  as entertainment.  She was over it.  She was over it all.

After showering she stepped out of her towel.  She sprayed hair spray under her arms and sprayed deodorant in her hair.

“Oh I’m buggin’ “, she admitted to herself.

She still had Travis on her mind. He was violating her head space.  She had no idea why she allowed him that kind of power.  People can’t take your power away, you give it to them voluntarily.  You have to allow someone to have control over your thoughts.  Travis was a jerk but Tamara allowed him access into her temple a long time ago.  He had entered her mind, her heart, and other unmentionable body parts.  Maybe it was her ego that was bruised.  It had only been 3 weeks and Travis had already filled her position in his life.  To add insult to injury, she heard through the grapevine that the girl was gorgeous.  That was irritating.  If she was a mud duck, Tamara would have felt better.

Tamara grabbed an apple and stuck it in her purse.  She threw on some slacks, loafers, and a black fitted t-shirt and hopped in the car for work.  After attempting to put the house key in her ignition about 4 times, she decided it was time for a rushed telegram prayer:

Dear God, please get me through this day. Amen

She was running late, as usual.  She’d make up for it though.  She knew how to push that little car to the limit and there was no ticket that her smile couldn’t get her out of.  Her thighs were burning.  She had been running every night since the “break up”.  At first, it was a pathetic attempt to see her charismatic Chest Naked Demigod.  Then it became a wonderful way to get her mind off of things.  Travis made her feel weak.  Working out allowed her to impress herself with her improved strength.  Physical pain was a distraction from emotional pain.  When things ended with Travis it felt like her soul had been steam rolled over repeatedly and then cars were just driving over her mangled mutilated spirit over and over and over again.  So she worked out…constantly.  When she couldn’t sleep, she’d walk until she couldn’t walk anymore.  Sometime at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning.  She was determined to have a tight body with a broken heart.  A heart that pumped resentment.

Deep down inside, she thought Travis would get himself together.  She thought he would be remorseful and apologize for the way he treated her. For his emotional inaptitude.  For his brute ignorance.  He never did and she was starting to turn purple from holding her breath in anticipation.  What was that old saying again??? “If you love something, let it go.  If it stays gone then it was cheating on you the whole time.” No that’s not it.

Why did she always feel like a reject from an old Ricki Lake episode?  What was the problem?  Furthermore, why was she so curious about Mr Demigod? “Curiosity gave the cat an infection.” No that’s not it, is it?

Tamara got to work safely and on time. Her day went relatively well.  She forced everything out of her mind.  Kept that coffee coming. The quart of Poland Spring on her desk was actually Grey Goose straight.  Come hell or high water, she was going to make it through.  Ten minutes before her shift ended she got a call from the security desk:

“Tamara Sprout?”

“Yes”, she answered in unpleasant anticipation.

“The 98 Midnight Blue Ford Contour in the East parking lot….is that yours?”, he asked quizzingly.

“Depends.  What’s wrong?”

“Dont be alarmed but there appears to be a bullet hole through your back window.  I wouldn’t drive home like that because one bump and your whole back window will shatter.”

Don’t be alarmed?  Is he serious?

Tamara enhanced her calm.  She took another sip of her “Poland Spring” and then she spoke,

“Thank s for the call, Chris.  I’ll call AAA.”

She made a phone call but it wasn’t to AAA.  She dialed the same number she dialed the night before when she had this same felling of loneliness, fear, anxiety, and disappointment.  The hairs on her arm stood up.  She felt a chill but it was 86 degrees outside.  Her lip started to quiver.  Her hands got sweaty.  Every time she breathed a knot formed in her throat.  The phone felt like it rang one hundred thousand times.  Finally a familiar baritone voice answered,

“Hello Tamara”, His caller ID gave away her identity.  Tamara took a deep breath to keep from crying.  She placed her right hand on her chest.  She put her left hand over her barren womb.  The phone was silent.  It was an uncomfortable silence.  The kind of silence one would do anything to break.  She waited for her courage to build and then she said,

“I think your brother may know about us.”

(To Be Continued)

-Shaun M Nickens