The BarracksYellow. Not piss yellow or canary yellow, but a pallid perversion of a color that would in other surroundings emote tranquility. I swear they put the yellow right in the plaster; the walls don’t serve just as the palate for the paint, but as a sponge, so that no matter how many posters you hang, pictures you hammer, certificates or plaques you fasten, the mocking hue saturates everything around. To complement the decaying glow of the walls is brown: I-haven’t-shit-for-days-brown, layered upon layer, covered with gloss to make it seem more important than it really is: a farce only slightly higher on the color bar than black because it is not completely devoid of color, forgetting that what is presented to the world is representative of that which is repugnant and putrid in life. Every room is the same. Okinawa. Stuttgart. Cape Town. The best time spent here is when you try to fall asleep.
The ExTangled in orange Egyptian cotton sheets, she said, “What did you expect?” Honor. Loyalty. I expected her to wait in those sheets for me to walk through the bedroom door, not for the gas attendant that fills up my tank every week to come back from washing off her residue and relieving himself of the five beers he’d drunk earlier that day. I didn’t think that was too much. Four years, three continents came together in endless yards of fabric stitched by Asian 6-year-olds that she bought with my Macy’s card. She used to walk out of the room swaying her hips, just to get me hard and sweaty. The furtive smile she would shoot back stabbed a pain in my chest. That day, she threw a grenade instead. At 30, you’d think I’d be smarter than to catch it.
The GirlHoney. The word filled my brain the instant she entered the room. Her skin flowed down her arm, smooth and tumescent, like honey poured from a glass jar. The taste entered my mouth as she crossed the room, heading closer to the corner in which I lurk every night, hoping to become one with the plastered wall. My name is…my name is… “Anna, this is Jason,” a friend said somewhere far away. She smiled for me with features unpolluted by the intrigues of lust and manipulation. She smelled of innocence. A scent that would make a grove of lilac trees wilt with shame. Her presence brought instant intoxication; I drink too much anyway. It took three times explanation to convince me that she was really fifteen. How sweet she tastes, I bet.
The BarracksI keep the lights off all the time now, hiding out in the world during daylight hours. The only time I want to spend in this place is those few hours a day when it’s pitch black and my fantasies can dance from my head into the whatever that separates her neck from my hand, playing out before my eyes. In the light are orange sheets and soul-extracting walls melting into shit. Here in the dark, I conjure my remedy.
The MenThey see her too, falling to their knees, leaving dripped saliva on her Doc Martens. They can feel her potential swelling under the surface; see it behind her laughing eyes. She entrances them and my stomach turns to gnaw on itself. They have fallen into the rapture of their own exploded missteps.
The ClubWe talk about politics and religion as equals, not child to adult. She speaks with acuity and wisdom, with smiles and retorts that seem to convey genuine affection. She looks me straight in the eye and boldly answers my questions about lust and attraction as we dance.
Her long white dress feels like satin flesh under my hand. I move my hand higher on her back, slip a finger just above where the fabric meets her skin as I lead her to the next step. Pull her closer for a twirl, and bury my senses in peach conditioned strands of unrefined silk. She has a boyfriend back home; she’ll be leaving a week from Saturday, she says.
I could ask her to go for a walk, just the two of us outside, in the dark. I could point out the beauty of this place: her eyes, her mouth, then show her the extent of my regard. She would laugh. Pitiful. Old. Man. Of all I hoped to be by now, obsessed and aged never made the list.
The KissThe thought of the yellowing walls of the stockade, the cold brown bars, and the orange uniforms that set apart the criminals from the good people, creeps in after being locked away for being too bothersome. My shredded insides, the remains of what there was of a man aches to be healed by the balm of her mouth. And yet I cannot make myself turn from the lure of heat that clouds my vision when she enters my consciousness. I'd flip for it, let the Fates decide my next move. Do or do not, it's all the same. Condemnation and absolution entwine in yards of white silk close enough to touch, yet so far out of my reach.