The Writers Blues: Navigating with your fave DNA. short story blog

She takes off her party dress and washes it in the sink with hand soap. She insists on wearing the dress to a distant friend's birthday. The mix of sunscreen and lower back sweat gives her a summer feeling. Her short hair falls perfectly greasy over her face. She's twenty-five but wears braces, and when she laughs, she lisps a little.

Her husband is in the military, so he wears military pants and brown t-shirts, with big boots and a backpack on his chest, from which he pulls out ping pong balls to play with, not knowing what else to do, and certainly not how to talk. He dances there, on the picnic table, quickly finishing his beer, but he doesn't burp, he keeps it all in, because grieving is mostly hesitating.

In the storm, he had saved a family, tying the young sister to the back of the older one, and it reminded him of the shape of the moon. He hoped he would never see such a moon again because he knew the shape of the young sister was lifeless.

She lights a cigarette - she had quit for years - because smokers don't wait, smokers smoke. Oh, how angry he would be if he saw her like this. On the balcony and the bottles and the choice of the table and the ashtray she never emptied and the litter box and the smell it emitted. He had once told her she was a guitar solo, and she had found that terrible.

When she sleeps, she smells the milk breath that rubs against her teeth, begging for intimacy. Then she gets up to brush her teeth, she can't. The milk breath doesn't go away, it forms a layer over her, and she keeps it on like a nightgown, out of loyalty. The voice sounds like the red of a lampshade, as it pleads for her to open the window and look at the moon. The crescent moon, the last letter she received before there was a knock with bad news.

That storm-washed evening, a muted wish and a hollowed-out safety. She was fine with lying awake so he didn't have to. She thought of his buzz-cut head and the scratching when he lay in her arms. For him, it left the shape of deep sleep, she grew thinner and thinner.

Luckily, they kept their feet glued to the ground. The curtains always had to be closed when he was home, otherwise, the neighbors would wake up from his screaming. When it thundered, they listened to the blues.

Everybody can understand the blues.

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