Chapter Eight

It was a remarkable spring – the kind filled with sun-showers and lightening, frivolous thunder and serious rainbows. It was a spring both effeminate and mighty; it was war-like Athena, from Olympus descended, with an iron bow and a stylish mini-skirt. She kept you always guessing, never sure if she was being girlishly coy or deadly serious.

Janice, I learned, was usually deadly serious. Her life, like a celebrity’s, was built around a strict schedule of appearances. She had no friends, but rather fans and admirers. And she certainly didn’t hang out with her fans but rather deigned them with audiences. These audiences were as choreographed as any Broadway production – everyone had their place, their moves, their rhythm.

And I, as her boyfriend, most of all. She met me in my front yard every morning, like a producer preparing for the big show, making sure of every last detail.

One morning she was already clucking disapproval before I was off the driveway.

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” Her fists she planted on her hips, her feet she squared, like a pipsqueak linesman defending the sidewalk.

I swung to anchor and shored up a yard or two short of her. “Umm, I guess?” Anger tightened into a laser beam shooting from her eyes. “I guess not?”

She nodded a strict affirmation. “That rugby shirt is nice. And the tan slacks.” Her tone was narrow and unyielding, a steel blade driven steadily between the ribs.

As I turned back, I caught a glimpse of something black in the corner of my eye. Something shaggy and hidden. Something martial. My suit tucked under some boxes in the half-open garage. My suit. I stopped and chuckled to myself.

“What’re you waiting for?” Janice followed my gaze. “What is that? A rat?”

I shot her a disturbed look.

“What? It looks like a rat from here.”

In my hand I suddenly found the vial of tiny white pills, teased out of my pocket when I wasn’t thinking. It was a translucent orange, in the bright morning the sun filled it; a little jar of liquid light. I studied it, rolling it in my palm.

“What do you take those for anyway? Although, god knows, you need some kind’a crazy pills for sure.” I looked up at Janice one last time then, and made up my mind. I marched away from her, towards the shaggy black suit. “Aren’t you going to get changed?” She screamed after.

The orange vial I flipped onto the street; it clattered in the gutter and rolled down a sewer drain. Janice was still screaming behind me but I didn’t hear her. I was looking forward. Forward into darkness. I was looking towards the glory hidden in the night.


About Ask Liesmith

All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost. The old that is strong does not wither. Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken. From the shadows a light shall spring. Renewed shall be blade that was broken. The crownless again shall be king. (---J.R.R. Tolkien)
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