The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Month: August 2015

“Date Night From Hell,” by Mary Miller

Date Night From Hell

by

Mary Miller

 

Emily Post wrote, “A knowledge of etiquette is of course essential to one’s decent behavior, just as clothing is essential to one’s appearance.”

Rules of etiquette exist for writing thank-you notes, setting the table, and how to eat spaghetti. There are even rules of etiquette at a movie theater: no crying babies, no cellphones, no ten-gallon hats, and no talking. Mrs. Post would somersault in her grave if she witnessed my experience at a movie theater several years ago.
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“A Hole You Fill With Money and Water,” flash fiction by Stephen Pisani

A Hole You Fill With Money and Water

by Stephen Pisani

Not long after her mother left us, Janie started running around the outside of the pool. Every night, after I got home from work and her, daycare, she took about fifteen laps around the rectangular hole sunk into the far left corner of our backyard. I had a tough time telling whether it was a coping mechanism or a seven-year-old’s idea of a good time. Probably a little bit of both.

“I’m looking for Mommy,” she’d say, as if she was going to find her hiding in one of the corners of the deep end. The water wasn’t exactly crystal clear—fallen pine needles and floating bugs formed a patchwork of various shades of black and brown on the surface—but still transparent enough for even a kid to realize the pool was full of only one thing: water. No sentient beings were lurking underneath.

“Catch me,” she’d say.

“Stop that before you hurt yourself,” I’d say.

A week went by, this activity still occupying the majority of Janie’s free time, and my words proved reluctantly prophetic. She tripped on one of the uneven bricks surrounding the pool. Her sweatpants tore straight through to reveal a clean break of skin. Blood turned her pants a darker shade of blue right around her knee.

“Owweeeee,” she screamed after dropping to the ground and clutching the compromised appendage.

I knelt beside her to inspect the cut. “What did I tell you about running around the pool?” I said, a directive I understood to be common and even required dad-speak in this type of situation. From my wife, I learned that every kid is supposed to receive a dose of “I told you so” from their parents. Really, all I wanted to do was ease Janie’s pain, so I quickly adopted a gentler tone.

“Are you OK?” I said.

She didn’t take well to the Bactine. “It stings,” she squealed.

“I know, honey,” I said. “Sorry.

“It hurts soooo bad.”

“I know.”

She sobbed in one continuous burst, a tactic in histrionics I was sure she picked up from her mother. “Mom would have never let this happen,” she said. She eyed me with a “fuck off” look that sort of gave me chills. I never considered that such a thing could be hereditary.

“I know.”

Truth is my wife didn’t even want a pool. She cringed at the mention of it, like just having to look at the thing would induce some sort of seizure or something.

What she said was, “It’s just a fucking a hole in the ground with water in it. And I’m sure it’ll cost a fucking fortune. It’s just a hole you throw water and money into.”

What she did was kick a small indent in the lawn next to where the pool was slated to go. Blades of grass scattered to reveal a patch of brown earth into which she poured a dab of Poland Spring. Then she dug a few nickels from her pocket. They let out a “plink” when they hit the muddied spring water.

“There,” she said. “Same thing.”

Kneeling next to Janie, watching her face writhe in child-agony, I decided I’d fill the pool in. With what I wasn’t entirely sure. But right then and there, as I patched the gap in Janie’s delicate skin, I finally agreed with the woman who had abandoned us: it was probably a good idea to fill a hole with something more substantive than money and water.

 

Stephen Pisani is a Long Island, New York native who received his MA in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. His writing has appeared in Blue Lake Review,Soundings Review, and The Furious Gazelle.

 

“What’s Left of the Crumbs,” flash fiction by Stephen Pisani

What’s Left of the Crumbs

by Stephen Pisani

Davey holds a fresh piece of copy paper in the middle of the den, standing halfway between his girlfriend and the muted television.

Elyse’s face contorts—it takes forty-two muscles to frown, he’s been told—and she angrily waves him away. “I’m on a call,” she mouths, ignoring his sign saying, “Come Play With Me” in dark, hastily-scribbled magic marker. Outside, snow smothers the roads, so Elyse is working from home. By Davey’s unscientific count, this is the fourth conference call she’s been on today, and it’s only five past noon.

He unplugs his phone from the charger on the kitchen counter. He turns the corner into the den, cell phone in hand, and says, “Excuse me, hun, can you get me on this call?”

She patronizes him with a labored chuckle. “Give me ten minutes, then we can play.” She winks, puts the phone back on speaker, mutes it on her end, and returns to the business of ignoring him.

“Get Mr. Howard on the line,” he says, holding his cell phone to his ear for emphasis. “Tell him I have some great ideas for the business.” She rolls her eyes without taking them off the computer screen in front of her. “I’ll be in my office downstairs, when you get a hold of him,” he continues. “I’ve got all my notes down there.”

Davey pretends to descend to the basement, but they both know he won’t. Instead he returns to the kitchen, opens the double-wide doors of the stainless steel fridge that she—mostly—paid for, grabs a package of turkey and another of ham, both of which she paid for, Boar’s Head, never the cheap stuff, and makes a sandwich on the store-brand bread he bought with a few of the dollars leftover from his pitiful severance.

Davey hears what sounds like the call ending in the other room. “We need milk,” Elyse says. She won’t drink her coffee without it, and she drinks a lot of coffee, a beverage working folk tend to enjoy. Davey won’t touch the stuff.

“Right now?” he says. He sets his sandwich down on the couch and sits between it and Elyse.

“Why don’t you go to the store? I forgot I have another call in a few minutes.”

Davey turns to look through the blinds Elyse insisted they needed a few weeks after they moved in. He can see the white flakes furiously falling between each handcrafted slat. “I’m not going out in that,” he says. “It’s too icy.”

“How about you shovel, then go out to get milk?”

He stands up, sandwich in hand—a good chunk of it in mouth—and says, “How bout I get you milk from downstairs?” He puts the sandwich down on the ottoman. Standing tall over Elyse, he gradually slinks behind the ottoman, like he’s going down a flight of stairs, the one-man show only finishing when he falls on his ass and starts cackling like a hyena in heat.

“You get that out of your system?” Elyse says. She is still planted in the spot Davey’s ass occupies most afternoons. Her phone rings. She puts it on speaker—again, muted on her end.

From his seat on the carpet Elyse wants to replace as soon as they can afford it, Davey reaches to the side. He pretends like he’s paddling a canoe out of the room. When he realizes Elyse isn’t paying him any more mind than the silenced talk show hosts on their forty-inch flat screen—a gift from her parents—he grabs his sandwich off the ottoman. The bread crumbles in his hand. Seagull-friendly specks fall to the floor. He walks away, figuring the dog will pounce on most of the mess. After Elyse leaves for work in the morning, he’ll vacuum what’s left of the crumbs.

 

Stephen Pisani is a Long Island, New York native who received his MA in Writing from Coastal Carolina University. His writing has appeared in Blue Lake Review,Soundings Review, and The Furious Gazelle.

 

Poetry by Martin Willitts

Lost

 

Geese get lost in mist, sidetracked
in heavy stillness, dew-wings
from burn-off, just around the corner
of mountains no one can see
but remember are there, reliable
as geese calling out to each other.

Some are unable to follow the lead,
break from the pattern. Their sounds
bounce off clouds and mountains.
Stillness is stirred from the low ground,
biting the air. At noon, still, no one can see.

It might get worse. It is better to sit tight,
hope for the weather to shift, clouds lifting
like a flock of geese over transparent lakes.
 

Astragalus

Also known as Locoweed (Astragalus tragacantha)
Iranian and Chinese herbal medicine

If you want to be a herbalist,
open this secret like a woman’s silk kimono.
You have to have some knowledge of tinctures.
Otherwise, it has no purpose.
You will go crazy trying to make cures
and it won’t work for charlatans.
If you do not know what you are doing,
you are little more than larva
feeding on astragalus leaves.

It is the natural gum Tragacanth you are after.
Twist into ribbons or flakes, powdered,
absorbed with water, stir into a paste
the size of an ankle bone. Otherwise,
it is useless. The mixture is not right.
The cure will fail the patient.
You might as well try to cure using a kimono.

 

 

Martin Willitts is a retired Librarian living in Syracuse, and he tends to his organic garden. His poems have appeared in Furious Gazelle, Kentucky Review, Centrifugal Eye, Nine Mile Magazine, Blue Fifth, Comstock Review, and the infamous many others. He has been nominated for 11 Pushcarts and 11 Best of the Net. Winner of the2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award ; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest. He has 8 full-length collections and 20 chapbooks of poetry. Forthcoming include “How to Be Silent” (FutureCycle Press), “God Is Not Amused With What You Are Doing In Her Name” (Aldrich Press), and “Dylan Thomas and the Writer’s Shed” (FutureCycle Press).

Halloween Contest Announcement

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Dear readers,

Although the leaves have not yet turned, the time has come once again for the Furious Gazelle’s annual Halloween contest. Send us something haunting, grotesque, pumpkin-themed, etc. and you could win a $50 cash prize and a book in the genre of your choosing. The top contenders will all be published on our site. Only one gets the coveted book and prize.

We accept all forms of writing for this contest, including essay, fiction, humor and poetry. Please follow our normal submission guidelines for entries, and look at our last year’s finalists for an idea of what we are looking for. The only rule is that this is a Halloween contest so your piece(s) should reflect that in whatever way you deem Halloween-ish.

That’s right, piece(s)! We will accept up to five submissions from each contestant. There is no fee to enter. Please send your submissions to submit@thefuriousgazelle.com with Halloween Contest Submission in the subject line of your email. The Deadline is Monday October 26, 2015.

BOO!

-The Furious Gazelle Editors

“The San Franciscan Group Home,” a poem by M. O. Mc

At least once a week

3 kids are thrown into the frying pan

carelessly yolked together

olive oil siphoned off

black & salt left out on purpose

the shells still have transparent film

stuck to the side of the garbage disposal    

homework crumbled like cake is there too

There is surplus salmon pink late notices

broken shards of glass

swept from the kitchen aluminum floor

overflowing for space Continue reading

“Sinister Romance,” a poem by Paige Simkins

Sinister Romance

 

We walked the downtown

Busy streets stark naked,

Holding black candles lit

High above our heads.

 

We shouted at business

Men in expensive black

Pinstriped suits, “Wear red,

You must remember, wear red!”

 

People sitting at outside

Tables of the Black Palm

Restaurant stared in disbelief,

Whispering amongst themselves,

 

When we sat down to join them.

**********

Paige Simkins is a poet who lives with her dog, Sir Simon, in Tampa, Florida. She holds a Bachelor degree in English (CRW) and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She works as a Public Librarian and is very passionate about poetry, libraries, VW Beetles, and visual art. Her poems have appeared in Stepping Stones Magazine, Burningword Literary Journal, The Wayfarer, Crack the Spine and the Tulane Review.

“(un)Bridled,” a short story by Meghan Ferrari

(un)Bridled

“Oh Grace, you didn’t wear that out to the barn again, did you?”
Grace removed her mud-caked riding boots, and dropped them to the floor.
“Does it matter?” she replied, picking up the lace train, and heading towards the kitchen.
Grace’s mom picked up her knitting needles and held them still, like a conductor about to cue her orchestra, opened her mouth, then closed it, and returned her attention to the infinity scarf she’d be mending in her lap.
“It’s on the table,” she called to her daughter, whose wide eyes she knew were presently scanning the kitchen counters.
Grace grabbed the neatly creased crossword, and made her way up the worn oak stairs and around the corner, to the room at the end of the hall, where the floral print paper had begun to peel.
Closing her door, she grabbed the scalloped veil that hung past her shoulders, and like the wings of a moth, fluttered the soft tulle around her.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Grace dropped into the window seat, and pressed her back into the splintered woodwork. She removed the HB pencil that had been holding her unruly hair in place, and unfolding the crossword on her lap, she exhaled deeply.
Lately, Grace had been living for the crossword. She liked being presented with a puzzle, and knowing that a solution existed – regardless of how long it took her to find. She liked the way the tiny, black type attracted her eyes, the bold, black squares invited her pencil, and the way The Aurora Era turned her white wedding dress grey.
Grace began with across, and felt her muscles unwind with each word she solved. Dragging a smug lead line through the last clue, she pressed the nub of the eraser to her forehead, leaned her head sideways against the cool frame, and gazed down at the farm below, freshly ploughed, with bales of hay forming a golden border, fifty acres from her feet. The mid-day sun cast Grace in a spotlight, and she lowered her green eyes to the gravel drive, spotting the dusty, red Dodge, with the PRO-LIFE, PRO-FAMILY, PRO-FAITH sticker on its bumper. A feeling of youthfulness flooded over her.
Grace rose from the window seat, dropped her veil into the pillow’s indentation, a now receding memory of her presence, and darted out of her bedroom, down the stairs, and out the back door.
“Daniel,” she called, brightness in her voice, as she approached the fence.
“Gracie,” Daniel turned, wind chapped lips breaking into an easy smile at the sight of his younger sister, she all jewel tones and dimmed sparkle, her auburn hair catching the last ray of sun.
“It’s been a month of this…” His smile waned as he bit his lip, and moved his eyes downward, to the bottom of her dress, where the fresh manure bruised the white lace brown.
“I’m fine,” Grace breathed, looking back towards the truck. “Where’s Emily?” Grace looked for Daniel’s contented wife, but could not spot her.
“She’s with Oliver. She was pickling our latest crop of cucumbers when the day care called – he’s come down with a bug. She’s at the clinic…” The blackberry in his belt buzzed, and his words, like her thoughts of late, trailed off, as he removed it from the sturdy clip on his leather belt, and peered into its scratched screen.
“That’s Em now,” he said, eyes transfixed, calloused thumbs crafting a response.
Grace could feel the complexity of their lives in the intricate knot forming in her stomach, and the monotony of their marriage threatened to suffocate her.
“Can I help you?” Grace asked, looking at the hand saw at Daniel’s feet, hoping to change the course of conversation.
Daniel looked at his sister, wrapping her navy silk sash round and round her forefinger.
“Yeah,” he replied slowly, nodding thoughtfully. “I have to head in to have a look at Mom’s laptop…will you feed the chickens for me?”
Grace watched Daniel walk towards the house, his burgundy flannel billowing in the wind. Seeing Daniel disappear inside, she strolled to the cedar rail fence, undid her sash, tied the satin around the steel, and opened the gate, releasing their six cows to graze in the pasture. Leaving the gate unlatched, she strolled to the red doors, below “Liberty Farms”, spelled out in large white letters. Grace entered the barn, and looked up at the long boards, her eyes having fallen habitually on the three cracks that let the sunlight in.
“Bonjour, mes amies,” she said to the chickens, who had scurried to the edges of their enclosure to greet her. She grabbed the dented bucket of feed lying patiently next to the door, and sprinkled the seeds high above the chickens, as if they were brides and grooms.
She hadn’t made it to that part of the day – couldn’t have imagined rice raining down on her, when she felt as though she were already drowning. Holding the bucket of feed in both hands, like a bouquet, she walked over to the paddock: Right foot, together. Left foot, together. The walk down the aisle she had endured. Although in a new chambray suit that Mom had selected from Moore’s, she envisioned her Dad in his faded coveralls, and black rubber boots, and herself as one of his cattle, being led with a delusive gentleness to her slaughter. With each step towards Adam, she was taking a step away, from her independence, her identity.
The priest to her left, Adam before her, and her audience to her right, she tried to focus on her groom’s face – on the scar below his left brow, the one he’d received when he’d tried to sell her on the city – when they’d biked along the Queen’s Quay, and a fallen birch branch caused him to lose balance – but images of caged chicks and penned piglets pervaded her mind.
She had dropped her slim bouquet of sunflowers, once so full of life, now uprooted, and wilting before her eyes. She tucked a rogue strand of hair behind her ear, and calmly turned and strode back down the long, white aisle, bound by blue chairs.
Once she was past the bewildered guests and into the cornfield, she began to run. The husks pulled at her hair, and the stalks scratched at her skin, but this was a maze she knew her way through. She made a sharp left, and then a quick right, and she was soon on the shadowed path that led directly out of the maze; the one her father had carved for the panicked or beleaguered urbanites, drunk on country air.
The sound of her chipped nails scratching the bottom of the now empty tin bucket pulled her back into the barn.
“Shh…” she whispered to the chicks, realizing she had fed them both their lunch and dinner.
Crouching, Grace placed the pail by the pen, and noticed a rusty nail jutting from the coop. She fingered it thoughtfully, contemplating the time it had taken for the shiny steel to corrode. Her right hand reached for her left, and with a simple twist and pull, she removed her solitaire ring, and placed it on the nail’s head. Standing up, Grace made her way across the plank floors, away from her diamond, and towards her eternal gem, feeling her heart enliven.
“My love,” she said, unlatching Ruby’s stall. The white Arabian threw back its ears and whinnied a greeting. She made her way towards him, her body lightening with each step.
“I’ve missed you,” Grace cooed, stroking Ruby’s coarse mane. The horse nuzzled her palm sweetly, and Grace sighed in contentment.
“I’m yours,” she said, and began her methodical grooming process.
Grace herself had been methodically groomed that weighted morning.
She and her three bridesmaids had gathered in her guestroom, formerly her art studio, now unrecognizable, after the engagement had touched down on their farm. Linen napkins, dish towels, and dessert plates were stacked on her oil canvases, shrouding her ambition, and freshly pressed dresses hung from the curtain rod, blocking all natural light. Much like Ruby, she had been readied for show: Her long hair curled, her Mac makeup applied, and her nails, bitten down to the quick, polished.
Grace grabbed a curry comb and began to rub Ruby down in smooth, sweeping motions. Ruby’s muscles quivered, delighted at the soft touch. Systematically she lifted each of Ruby’s hoofs and delicately removed the dirt and debris. Finally, she took the mane comb and removed the tangles, leaving her hair with a satiny sheen.
From its hook, Grace grabbed the black, leather saddle, and cinched it around Ruby’s waist. Stepping back, she reached her right arm behind her and pinched the top of her dress. She twisted her left arm back, and unzipped the zipper, letting it cascade, like a feather, fallen, to the black earth below.
Stepping over her lifeless gown, Grace placed one boot into the stirrup and hoisted herself onto Ruby’s back. Grabbing the reins, she gently prodded Ruby on both sides, and eased her towards the barn door. She could feel the friendly wind on her face, and Ruby’s powerful muscles between her thighs.
“Do you want to run, Ruby?”
Leaning forward, she unfolded Ruby’s ear, and with certainty, whispered, “I do.”

*********

Ferrari  PicMeghan Ferrari lives in Newmarket, ON, and studied English Language and Literature at Queen’s University. She completed her Masters in Social Justice Education at The University of Toronto, and presently shares her passion for creative writing with her students, as an English Teacher for the York Catholic District School Board.

Man With a Wig, by Alan Steinberg

Man With a Wig

A Monologue

by

Alan Steinberg

(An older man is sitting on a chair in a long bathrobe. He is holding a woman’s wig in one hand, looking at it and touching it with the other hand. Every so often he gets up and walks downstage, closer to the audience)

She’s dead a year ago. Tomorrow. We met in high school – a year before we graduated. Junior year. We didn’t ever fight a lot. Not anything loud. Little things – like the color of the house. Maybe it was just a room. Colors matter. They make you feel something inside. Mostly it was white. The house. Clean. Bright. Safe. But you get a feeling with a color. She wanted blue. The child’s room. I wanted it yellow. Soft. Like a flower. My friend Billy had a tie like that. When we were young, growing up. In school. We used to do everything together, me and Billy. My father didn’t like it. The tie. That’s no color for a man, he said. He didn’t like Billy too much. When I told Anne – that’s my wife – she understood. She had some friends like that, too. One had red hair. One had brown. I used to see them together. But they didn’t seem to want me around. So we painted the room blue. My daughter’s room. I wasn’t going to fight about it. And we painted the parlor yellow. Soft. Like a flower.

I don’t think my father knew. When he’d visit, he didn’t say anything. Maybe he forgot about the tie when I married Anne. Maybe the child changed everything. You stand there on the porch, and it’s a nice house. With a garden. And flowers. And you have a granddaughter. And the house is mostly white. So you don’t think about a yellow tie and a yellow parlor.

We just had the one child. It seemed enough. One child. There was work. And there was church. And then we each had our friends and things to do. Like the garden. Anne took care of the vegetables. Tomatoes and squash. Lettuce and cucumbers and peas. I was the one for the flowers. Lilacs. And Sweet Williams. Lots of them. And even roses, though the weather was hard. And sometimes, just when a bush was full and set right and you figured you could count on it, winter would come and blight it and it wouldn’t bloom at all. It would just sit there in the spring, all brown and black and stunted, with just the thickened stem and thorns.

That’s a lot how it was. She had her life and I had mine. Thirty-five years. That’s how long we were married. I wanted Billy to be my best man, but my father would have none of it. He said, I’m paying for the wedding and I don’t want none of that here. Then Billy went off and joined the Navy and he got to go around the world and he never came back. And I bought that house. And we had a child. And I started working at the mill. First on the saws. Then the planers. And then out in the yard. I liked that best. Being outside. Even in the cold. You got teamwork there. Sorting. Loading. Unloading. Poling the wood. Like a lumberjack. One of the guys did that for a while. Lumberjack. Big guy. Big arms. Big hands. Had this finger missing. Ring finger. Said a buddy piked him when they were out on the river breaking up a jam. Always wore those red and black lumberman jackets. Except for summer. Then he’d wear these sweatshirts with the arms cut off. We had good times out there. Working the lifts together. Some Fridays we’d go bowling. You couldn’t tell how he’d do, what with that finger missing. Sometimes he’d get it right and you’d be thinking a 300. Other times, he’d spin the ball so hard it’d run out of the gutter into the other lane. A couple of the other guys thought it had more to do with the whiskey. He used to carry this flask with him. Out in the yard even. Nip the cold, he used to say. Nip the cold. Awful stuff. I had a few pulls on it myself. Times it got twenty below. Bad stuff. Take the chrome off a bumper. But then the mill got bought out and the new foreman got it in for him and he got fired for being drunk. And the new guys were all four-wheeler types and lady chasers, and it was just a job to them till they got something else or got some girl with child and had to get married or get out of town.

Thirty-five years. What’s the Bible say? Three score and ten? So, that’s a lot of years, those thirty-five, half of what the Bible gives you. And a daughter. She lives out west. Went off to college. Moved away. Has a whole life out there. Full of sun. The stuff you do in the sun. Around here, they just shake their heads. Say the Lord will get them for what they do. Maybe it’s the winter. The dark and cold. The snow and ice. Thick and brittle, both. Maybe it gets into your soul so that you turn your back on the bright things. Make them the devil’s things.

I think we both knew early on. Never said anything about it, though. Never talked about it head on. Maybe slantwise. Maybe with a look. I think we both just knew and made our peace with it. She had her Ladies of this or the Ladies of that. You know, sewing groups or charity groups or daughters of the revolution. Stuff like that. I’d get jealous sometimes. Seeing them at work, all together like that. Doing stuff and laughing. I seen em holding hands, hugging each other. Kissing each other even. Easy in their skin, if you know what I mean.

With me, it was different. You can have buddies as a man, but you’ve got to watch what you say. They’ll laugh, all right, but not always with you. You bring in a flower to give someone or brighten up the place and they’ll be: So, who you trying to impress? And does your wife know? And stuff like that. So you drink and you tell jokes and turn your back on all the rest. If I were to say to them, the guys I worked with or drank with or hunted with, if I were to say to them that we did what we did out of duty, out of making it seem right, and that after that we didn’t do it any more, not even when we had too much to drink. And that it was all right, for the both of us. That we could still be together and still love each other, what do you think they would say?

The time we got the twin beds. That was maybe the worst. Went out of town to get them. Brought them home at night. Took the big one down to the basement. Got all damp and moldy down there. Then when we had company we’d slide the twins together so it looked like one of those queen-sized beds. Kept the old covers and sheets. That was about as direct as it got. Couldn’t really go slant-wise into that. But we never talked much about it. I think she was the one who first wanted it. Said something about it. But I’d been thinking about it, too. Just didn’t have the guts to say. But it was nothing mean. Nothing fierce. I used to kick a lot from being on my feet all day. But it just made things easier. Getting up and down. Getting up early. Coming in late. Wearing what you wanted.

You know, you can love someone in a lot of ways. Thirty-five years. Thirty-five years of being there. Being faithful. Leaving space. Good space. Not cold or icy. Like when you plant well. And everything’s got room enough to grow. To be. Without crowding. Without interfering. Knowing, but letting it be. Making do without meanness or regret. I waited a month before I did it. (holds up the wig) I had to go on the internet. But I waited a month because it seemed wrong to rush right into it. I knew she’d do the same for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I rehearsed for it. Tried on this. Tried on that. Shaved this. Shaved that. It made me realize all my wife had to go through every day. I don’t know how she did it. How any woman does it. Then, I’d get to the door and I’d just freeze, my hand right on the knob. Maybe like a prisoner when they open the cell after a long time. Like forty years.

But I’m gonna do it this time. I made a promise to myself. To my wife. If you love somebody good enough, long enough, you let them be who they are. Dying shouldn’t change that. Should it?

(Stands up. Opens the bathrobe, revealing he is dressed in a skirt and blouse.)

I know my wife’s dead. I know that Billy’s dead. (puts on the wig, adjusts it and then his skirt) But I don’t have to be.

Exits slowly

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