Keys hit the kitchen counter. Heels slap the floor behind you. You drop your head to the living room table, your grip on the Bud Light bottle tightening. The master bedroom door opens, slams shut. You turn a knob on a wooden box and now a vinyl is spinning and your head is spinning but at least you’ve drowned out the noise of a shower running. Pretend she isn’t there. The floor and ceiling coagulate. Piano keys and violins swirl about the air, mixing with the granite and leather and wood you’ve grown to know so intimately over the past several years. How long has it been?
Knock em back. You juggle vices like a rodeo clown. Knock em back again. Your phantom audience is thoroughly entertained, their laughter deafening. Whiskey bottles in the air. More beer bottles. Ashtrays. You’re killing it, round and round they go. An applause sounds. Eventually, you reach for something else but there’s nothing there. The bottles are dry. The bags are empty. You pillage your medicine cabinet for expired Hydrocodone or at least some barbiturates but all you find is hairspray and face wash. Tomatoes smack the stage. Booooooo!
You smoke your last cigarette as slow as possible so that you don’t have to go back inside, knowing she’ll recognize the imposter. The first drag makes you vomit. The second drag makes you laugh. You fall asleep on the back porch.
Tomorrow you’ll wake up and the coffee will be made and birds will chirp and the Earth will spin because why wouldn’t it? You’ll try to kiss her goodbye before you get in the car. This is because that’s what husbands did in the old black and white television shows that your stepdad used to watch in his garage. And even though you’ve never worn a suit or drank a martini you figure “hey, that’s how it should be, right?”
Cavin Bryce is a twenty-one-year-old student of English attending the University of Central Florida. He spends his time off sitting on the back porch, sipping sweet tea and watching his hound dog dig holes across a dilapidated yard. His work has been recently published in Hobart, CHEAP POP, OCCULUM, and elsewhere. He tweets at @cavinbryce.