Laura Stamps is a Pagan novelist and poet living in South Carolina. Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for seven Pushcarts and appeared in many literary journals, including Curbside Review, Half Drunk Muse, Main Street Rag, Mannequin Envy, Poetry Motel, and Word Riot. She enjoys creating experimental forms for her prose poems, blurring the line between fiction and poetry. http://www.pw.org/content/laura_stamps
By Laura Stamps
“To be completely honest,” I say.
“I’m not interested in a serious
relationship.” Through the
living room window in his condo
I watch the last drop of liquid fire
from the setting sun ignite the
needles of a pine and fade to pale
pink, to dusk, to onyx nothingness.
“My heart is numb,” I say. Even
though he’s given me no sign,
no clue about how he’ll react to
a confession, it needs to be said.
So I tell him about my good
marriage that cracked and broke.
How, after ten years, my husband
chose troublesome new friends,
spent afternoons at a bar with
them, became an alcoholic
like them. Shock shattered me
and glued me back together,
week after week, fragments of
me scattered among the rubble.
I thought at some point he
would stop and return to himself.
He couldn’t. I’ve loved two men
since the divorce. Narcissists,
both of them. Men who penciled
me in at the bottom of their
To-Do lists and erased me. I’m
happier without them, happy
caring for myself. “I have no
faith in the love of a man,” I say.
“My heart is numb.” He takes
my hand, his fingers tracing the
silver lines of my pentacle ring.
“It’s okay,” he says. “I have
no faith in relationships either.
Who needs the stress? I’d
rather have fun. I like to be
happy, too.” Shadows seep
through the window and pool
in the corners of the living room.
Light falls in soft plumes from
the lamp beside the sofa,
illuminating our hands. He
squeezes mine. “Maybe we can
just play for a while,” he says.
“Do whatever makes us happy.
No commitments. No pressure.
Just fun.” His kitten races into
the room and rolls on top of his
cowboy boots. Black with fancy
stitching. I’ve always wanted
a pair like that. “Where did you
get those boots?” I ask. He smiles.
The kitten has fallen asleep on
his feet. “A shop near Gervais
Street,” he says. “I could show
you tomorrow.” I reach down to
touch the buffed leather, as rich
and supple as licorice. “Okay,”
I say. “That sounds like fun.”