My girlfriend, Molly, mock/taunts me, tangos with petunias between her teeth, misreads her cues, mistakes an "I" for an "ogre,' a "mugwump" for a "mistletoe," a "harem" for a "solstice." She loves me with that tragic pout, a flaw in her fuzzy navel.
Behind the house that we rent by a brook of sleeping fish, she attends a garden of schizoid flowers that lean loveless[ly] away.
On hard linoleum, she trips over her own dents. High heels, she claims, as she kicks them off from bed, are nothing but a symptoms of social disease. You're always left alone facing your bare feet with nothing to say. So awkward. So much space. My poor disconnected feet.
Whenever we attempt sex, Molly gets distracted by the noise of stars, a cat fight near the tomato beds.
"It's a shame we can't be together in the full pocus. My nervous tics always get in the way. Maybe you'd be better off dropping out and getting a mail route. At least, it'd keep you on time."
I smile, lean over, and kiss Molly on the moon's reflection off her right cheek, a good centimeter or so above a dimple, which she did not plant.
Summer fades, Fall soft-shoes in. I drop out of Advanced Economics, leave Blitzkrieg strategies to world leaders with artificial thumbs and off-centered noses. Molly moves out, switches colleges, decides she will be as abstruse as Virginia Woolf thinking underwater thoughts.
"There will always be another season, we can make another chance at it," I write her. "Who knows? Maybe someday leaves will fall in straight lines and licorice twists will be given to women after a false pregnancy of hope."
I get no response. I get the puff in the center of a breeze.
I'm still waiting for a letter. Saying she met someone and got married. Saying she lost someone but it was beautiful in Paris. Saying she has given up on everyone and only lives to sit at the window studying the cohesiveness of rain. How it falls in odd pairings.
I write her: The thing I hated most about you was the thing I loved most about you--your fickle brain.
The letter comes back--return to sender.
The years pass. The flowers commit suicide every other season. I make small repairs on the house that seems to slant more each month. I let the dog out. Chase the fleas off him. When the heat fails, we sleep on a small island of a carpet, one whose measurements Molly had miscalculated. When she was more alive than missing, that is.
In the morning, I open the door. I steal a fistful of random air from a slight breeze and pocket it. I will donate my pants to anyone who can fit into them, anyone who is light enough to slip out.
- Kyle Hemmings 2015
Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere. His latest ebook is Father Dunne's School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs at http://upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/