:: Article


New fiction by Colm O’Shea, with art by Sarabeth Dunton.



No. Don’t. Don’t look. No. Don’t look. I don’t see her and she doesn’t see me. No. Don’t move, not an inch. Stay here. Stay where I am. Stay looking the direction I am. Don’t look. She’s looking the other way. I can see that. I can see her. I can see her back. She’s looking the other way. I know she’s there and she knows I’m here. If I don’t look I don’t see. If she doesn’t look. Wait. Soon done. See her looking away. Looking down the street towards the entrance to. The entrance to? Don’t know. Looking down the street towards the entrance to what? Nearly done. See the lead jiggle. Almost done. She’s not looking. Wait. Almost done. Lead jiggles again. Nearly. Could open the window. Should open the window. Just a crack. Just a crack at my side. Stuffy now. Condensation starting to form on the window. Starting to, to cloud over? Is that it? Is that how you describe it? See less and less outside as the windows cloud up. Looks worse. Looks worse from outside like that. Open the window. No. Not now. Open the window as soon as she goes. Not done yet. Jesus. Must have a problem. Yes. Done. Done now. Lead jiggles and stretches away. Lead stretches away in the direction of. In the direction she’s looking. Lead moving off. Little dog at the end of it moving off. Glad to be going. Bet she is. Bet she is now. Glad myself. Yes. Moved off. Press the button. No. Not that one. Press the button. Window opens. Just a crack. Feel the chill of the evening now. Just a crack. Metallic hum as the motor kicks in. just a touch. Touch more. Don’t want it open too much. Try to clear the windows though. Just a touch. There. Other button now. Not really a button. Little controller. All too advanced now. Other little controller. Little hum this time. Mirror, wing mirror. Mirror just tilts down. Could have done it. Can’t see. No sign. Little mirror tilts down and I look for a trail of piss. Can’t see the trail of dog piss on my tyre. Must be there. Little fecker there too long not to be pissing on it. No sign. Nothing. Stay. Stay where I am. Stay right here. See everything from here. Just houses around here mostly. Small. Large. Well kept. Well to do. Comfortable. Refined. Expensive. Clean. Houses. Expensive. Can see anyone coming from here. Just. Just parked here. Anyone asks. Just parked here. Waiting for. Think of something. Think of someone. Her? No. Think of something else. Think of someone else. Just waiting here. No reason. No reason why not. Nothing for anyone to worry about. Just someone sitting in a car. Can’t see anywhere. Can’t see into anywhere. That, that place. That place behind me. Behind the big gates. That place whatever it is. Can’t see in there. Nothing. Not snooping. Can’t, not spying. Can’t. No one coming in or out. Just sitting here parked beside the wall. Dusk. Getting dark. Getting cold. No one coming around to check until the morning. More concerned about people parking here and getting the train. Station near. Just over the bridge. Well, bit of a walk but just over the bridge. Could park here for the day. Out of the way. Could park here and get lucky. Not blocking anyone’s driveway. Not blocking anyone’s access. No need to complain. No need to cause a nuisance. Could look at the river if it wasn’t for the wall. Could just get out and have a look into the river if it wasn’t for the wall. Could. The wall. Could do that. Might do that later? No. Look even worse. Look even more suspicious to do that. No. Just stay in the car. Flood defence or something. Never remember around here flooding. Not paying that much attention. Never interested until now. Must be. Must have. Once upon a time anyway. So they build a wall. So they build a wall at the other side. The other bank. So they build a wall and the river looks like a canal now. Never moves much. Well, not when it’s dry. Never moves much so looks like a canal most of the time. Bare concrete and water. Just stay here. Perfect spot. Perfect spot, not in anyone’s way. Not interrupting or annoying anyone. Just here. Just parked. Perfect spot. Not in anyone’s way but I can see straight in. See her window. Straight in. See her window there between the trees. See her window at the end of that little avenue, that driveway of trees. See her window. Driveway. Around the corner. Curves. Bends away under the trees. Avenue. Avenue leading up to the door. Can’t see. Didn’t look. Don’t know all the cars. Others. Not his. Don’t know what he drives. Didn’t look. Couldn’t look. Can’t see from the street. Can’t see from the road. There. Know he’s there. Light on. See the light on in her window. Think. Thought. Thought I saw something pass by the window earlier. Thought I saw someone looking out the window earlier before the woman and her dog came along. Not sure. Sure though. Sure she’s up there. Sure he’s up there too. Do they know? Did they see? Did her see me when he drove in? Did they spot me parking? Know my car? Yes, of course she would. Might? Might not. Might have seen me. Not sure. Can’t be sure. Was that it? Was that it at the window? Just checking to see if I’m still here? Light. That light though. Evening closing in now. No one else out walking a dog. No one else coming over the bridge from the station. No one else near the stadium. Shadow over the street. Almost over here. Facing? Facing which way? Setting in the. Doesn’t matter. Getting dark anyway. Light. Light getting brighter. See. Straight up the driveway. Straight up the avenue. That light. Her light from the first floor. Her light. Up there. Up there with him. Stay? Will he? Could do. Don’t know. Wait. See. Will he? Fuck. Fuck? Up there. Up there now. Up there now talking. Up there now opening a bottle of wine. Stop, you know I can’t drink. Oh go on, just another small one. Up there now sitting together on the couch. Couch? Up there sitting together on the couch. Up there. Or. Or she’s sitting on the couch looking at him with her legs drawn up underneath her as she does. Up there now she’s listening to him tell a joke, tell a story, ask her a question, go on and on about his day. Up there now she’s telling him one of her stories. Her stories. Stories she told me. Does she say to him what she said to me? Maybe dancing for him? Dancing across the room to change the CD like she did that night in. dancing across the room to get a pair of glasses for the bottle of wine, a corkscrew for the bottle of wine, a coaster for the bottle of wine to put on the coffee table that matches the couch. Up there dancing across the room to close the curtain. No. Not yet. Light still on. Still on. Where are they now? Light still on. Has the conversation slowed and they look the look of the look that look? The nervous smiles of the knowing and not knowing. The glances. The holding glances. The looking into each other’s eyes of the silence and the smiles and the looks. Where are they now? Will he move first? Will she? Will she lay down her glass on a coaster on the coffee table that matches the couch? Will he follow? Will he say something? Will she? Will? Will she stand up and take his hand? No. Will she stand up and take his glass and put it beside her glass on the coffee table that matches the couch. Will she take his hand? Will? Will he stand as she takes his hand? Will he? Will he stand up and take her glass and put it beside his glass on the coaster on the coffee table that matches the couch? Will he pick her up? Will she give a little shriek as he picks her up? Will? Will they leave the room with the light, the one light shining through the window? Will they? Will they go left? Will they go right? Will he know? Will she show him, taking him by the hand? Will she tell him? Will? Will she smile like she does biting her lower lip as she takes his hand and takes him? Will she undress him? Will she undress for him? No. Will she undress for him? Like that time. Will she say what she said to me? Will she tell him what she told me? Will she? And then? And then? Is it? Is it just? Routine? Same? Is it the same every time? With me? With him? Is it just? Am I? Do I? Does he? Is that it? Does she say what she said to me? Does she admire what she admired in me? Words. Words? Same words? Same moves? Are they? Can only. No. Only think. No. Is that all she is? Is that all she has? Is that? Does he say? Does he do anything? Does he stand watching her dance towards him like that afternoon near the river? Will she tousle her hair and bite her lower lip again like? Will he? Will he kiss her there? Will he kiss her there with the two of them standing naked? Will they kiss? Kiss. Kiss. Will they take each other in? Kiss. Kiss. Will they search each other out standing naked beside the bed? Wanting it all to stop. Wanting nothing to stop. Is that? Will she? Will he? Will he comically throw her to the bed? Will he forcefully throw her to the bed? Will she laugh? Will she drag him down on top of her? Will she? Will she? Is it? Is it just the same after that? Is it the same after? Who? Who first? Wrapped. See. Wrapped in each other’s arms. Do they fuck on the bed or do they get under the covers? Does she pull back the covers knowing? Knowing. Knowing that her skin glows on clean white sheets. Does she? Seeing him. Seeing me. Does he taste her? Does he spread her legs and taste her? Does she moan? Does she say yes? Does she say yes that’s it like? Does she? Is it? Is it the same every time? Is it all the same? The same words. The same groans. The same. Teasing. Teasing the same. Moving the same. Pushing him there instead of there the same? Is it? Is it? Is that it? No. Not all that. Same. Same. All that the same. Is it? No. Picture it? No. Picture them, now, there, no. No. Does she say yes at the same time? Does she moan at the same time? Does she, that look, does she give him that look? That look. Is it? Is it just the same over and over again? Am I he, is he me? Others? Is it the same with others too? Was it always the same with others too? Is that all it is? Is there? Was there? Was there nothing? Was there nothing at all? Nothing. Is it just the same played out again and again? The same game? What? What are they doing now? Has he undressed? Has she? Have they? Is she on top? Is he? Is she already lying in his arms? The light. The light is still on. Are they still in there? Are they fucking on the couch? Are they? Have they gone in and left the light on? What? What is it? Where? No. Don’t. No. But. Are they? Is she? No. Stop. Stop. Just stop. Don’t. Can’t. Can’t stop. Can’t stop now. Is she? Is he? See them. I can see them. I can see her. I can see her with him. I can see her with him doing the same things we used to do. I can. See. It. See it. See her. That look. That look on her face. That special look on her face. That look on her face that was only for me. That. That way. That way she moved. That way she would draw me in. that way she would push me away when she came. Push me away. Gently push me away. Push me away to drag me back in. Push me away because she felt so tender after she orgasmed. Felt so tender she had to push me away. Pushed me away and dragged me back in. Is that what she’s doing now? With him? Does she run her fingers through his hair the same way? Does she grab and pull him up? Does she? Is it? No. Stop. Fuck. Just stop. No. That. Looking in her eyes. That. Does she like it when he does what I did? Does she get him to do what I did? Others? Other things she prefers? Was it? Was it just, all along? No. No. Can’t go on. Just. Just go. No point in staying here. Never any point in staying here. None. Still. Can’t. Can’t not see. Can’t unsee. Can’t unsee her now. Can’t unsee her with him. Now. Can’t unsee that look in her eyes. That same look. Can’t unsee. Can’t unsee. Too late. Can’t unsee the unseen. Can’t unsee her taking him into the bedroom. Can’t unsee him undressing her and her undressing him. Can’t unsee them. Can’t unsee her. Can’t, no. Can’t. Too late. Just. Just go. Please. For the love of God just go. Leave them too it. Leave her to it. Too late. No. Just. No. Go. Too fucking late. Go. Stop. Think. Something else. Think. Anything else. Think. Somewhere else. Think. Someone else. Think. Think. Just. Just think. Just think. No. Not her eyes. Not that look on her face. Not her flesh. Not her eyes. Not her lips. Not her mouth. Not her breasts. Not her, No. Not holding. Not holding tight when. Not. Not breathing heavily in her ear when. Not my tongue in her ear when. Not my lips on hers when. Not. Not holding, holding. Holding her eyes when. Not. Not. Not that then. That yes. That then. That yes. That now. That now, there. That there up there now with the yes and the now and the hold and the there. The there. The there, up there, the there up there now. Just go. Just go before. No. No. Too late now. Too late. No. just.

The light. The light’s just gone off. The light’s just gone out.



Originally from Leixlip, in County Kildare, Ireland, Colm was one of the inaugural winners of the Irish Writers’ Centre Novel Fair Competition in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Hennessy New Irish Writing First Fiction award in 2013. He has been published in The Bohemyth and in gorse.


Sarabeth Dunton received her BFA in painting at the University of Michigan in 2006. Her current practice emphasizes drawing as a mode of experience. She finds inspiration in both traditional modes of landscape painting and more contemporary dialogues of abstraction, and uses intuitive processes and a personalized specific style of markmaking to created her works. For her, the act of drawing is a physical chronicle of an intimate relationship with the space in which she works. The work is the physical apprehension of an action, a memory, and an archetypal understanding of how we view and realize landscape. After many years traveling, wandering, and transplanting herself, Sarabeth moved from New Orleans in search of a more diverse and vibrant art scene, landing in Kansas City.
Sarabeth’s work has been shown in New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and internationally in Paros, Greece. She is a co-founder of RAD school, had writing published by a 8 1/2 X 11 press, and has been granted residency fellowships based in Joshua Tree, Ohio, and rural Missouri. Find her on Instagram.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Saturday, March 19th, 2016.