You dislocated your shoulder and had days off work. This is when we were kids. We caught the train farther west to a specialist. You couldn’t drive, your arm held in a sling, and I didn’t yet have my license. Neither of us called your bent arm a wing, but it lay against your chest, rising and falling with your breath, and hospital-white. Your shoulder still ached as if it was not where it should be. I held your only free hand. We laughed and I don’t remember why. It would have been something you said. The train was graffitied. Out the dirty windows, the sky was flat and gray and exhilarating. You dropped your head or I pulled you down or both. The night we met, the first time your mouth was on mine—I was melting and I was boiling. You tasted of rum-Coke-and-I-cannot-get-enough. Portishead sang that you are all mine. I said, “You have a beautiful skull.” You said, “I will do anything you want. Anything.” Your smile filled me up, up, more. You pressed my wrists above my head, into the mattress. Me whispering, go slow go slow. My pulse beat under your hands and it went fast. Fast meaning speed and strength and to hold and to go without. Later, later, much later, you rested your head in the crook of my neck and said, “We keep getting older.” You lay in the sun and closed your eyes. You were exhausted. By then we were so far into this. I know. Holy fucking God. The clouds are massive and pure white, lit from within, glorious, biblical. Shafts of yellow sunlight are God’s grace, or not, and I tell myself they are you and I am losing my poor broken damn mind. You are all of it—the clouds, sun, a solitary bird, a pair of birds, a flock, the bird that collides into our kitchen window—boom. The bird that lies on the ground dead and the bird that flies away again. You are the night’s rain when I stand in our yard and tip my head back, back to the headboard of our bed, back to your mouth, your mouth when it came down on my mouth, when you took me into your mouth, when your mouth formed an O, when you could only say God. I pulled off my boots, socks, unzipped my jeans and pushed them down my thighs. This is when we were kids. You put your hand on mine and said, “What’s the rush? Let’s start over.” I dragged up my jeans, drew the zipper, and redid the button. You said, “Hi.” I smiled. “Hi.”
Melissa Goode’s work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Split Lip Magazine, Forge Literary Magazine, and matchbook, among others. Her story “It falls” (Jellyfish Review) was chosen by Aimee Bender for Best Small Fictions 2018 (Braddock Avenue Books). She lives in Australia. You can find her here: www.melissagoode.com and at @melgoodewriter.
Artwork by: Michelle Granville
Michelle Granville is a mixed media artist living in the west of Ireland. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Dodging The Rain, Riggwelter Press, Telltale Chapbooks and Sad Girl Review among others.