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VERA

by

Wayne H.W Wolfson


Ah, black bird of fate. I know you're out there.

All her French was from listening to old Edith Piaf records. It gave her a musical way of talking. We had all kinds of secret pacts which eventually canceled each other out.

I couldn't believe what was going on. No, that was just my excuse. Since it wouldn't effect me, effect me permanently I just pretend to believe she wouldn't go through with it.

Once again, saved by a selfishness so natural that it took no effort or thought to wield.

It was better this way.

Another lie told to my twin over the morning razor. The foam momentarily hiding the slight curl of the lip which might indicate any disapproval.

All these inner dialogues. Excuses and justifications made fancy to kill time. In the end, completely without meaning.

Control is an illusion. Just ask the keeper of a string of broken leases and hidden hearts. Black bird of fate, found by accident, coming home to roost.

For her I was just a slow, sensual suicide. Interesting enough to distract from what she was really doing, what she really wanted. To know what she told herself in all the mornings would be a victory, but I always forgot to ask. Besides it wasn't what I wanted.

We first met by accident. I had just cut Wendy loose and was going through the motions. Going through the motions. A pantomime of what one half of a split should do. Long faced whiskies, sad songs and that long walk home.

Truth is I'd be having drinks here any ways. If not here then somewhere else. I liked the taste.

City wide the coast was clear. It had been weeks since she fled back to the states.

This cafe was my favorite. I liked the distant ghosts of songs that crept down the alley finding their way to my table.

She came up to me pretending to think I was someone she was there to meet. The name she said as she sat down was too average not to be made up.

"Steve?"

Letting her know that I knew I shook my head, but smiled at the same time. The beginning of our secret language.

She waved to the waiter and then extended her hand, singing her name.

Vera, Vera.

Like me, Vera was just coming off a bad time. Same scene, different angle.

I didn't want to appear indifferent, but was unable to share anything but the drinks that kept coming.

I too wanted to talk about loss, but felt myself indifferent to it. Sometimes late at night I would feel like talking only to find myself alone. That was probably as close as I'd come to it stinging.

It felt odd the first time she stayed over. She found one of Wendy's bras which was too small for her. I threw it out, but it kept reappearing in various corners of the apartment.

We decided not to sleep together.

Sharing the theory that you were allowed only so many endings in each city, neither of us wanted to leave Paris.

At night I would make my little meatballs while she sat in the living room humming over half started postcards home.

We liked to creep through some of the old churches. Letting their coolness revive us from the walk as we looked at the icons.

Sometimes if we were still deciding what to do with the rest of the day, I'd actually use them. Not Vera though. She refused the sacrament until she could do something bad.

It was raining at the beginning of the end. The walls were bare. The rain painting them in streaks with their shadows.

Edith Piaf moaned. When the invisible sister sang, everybody cried.

The sugar cubes had long dissolved, the whites of my eyes disappeared, replaced by the green of the glass.

She handed me a book and started taking off her clothes.

"I want to listen to you read Verlaine while I masturbate, but close your eyes."

"How will I see the words?"

She nervously laughed, trying to pretend it had just been a joke. Grabbing the half started cigar from off of the bookcase we listened to the start of the record again.

Who knew how to pass such tests?

There's a certain beauty in every finality because it has to be real. To be around for the end of everything would be best of all.

Even with different sources of inspiration Vera and I were alike in some ways.

I brought the little waitress with skin the color of cinnamon home. Aime.

We always defile what we really want. A girl in my dreams told me so.

Again, the rain. Timed perfectly to the start of the record. Vera poured the drinks and dimmed the lights.

It was small talk said slow. Vera was leaning against the far wall. She too was now painted by the rain's silhouettes.

I leaned back, watching Aime's head go up and down. Slow, but not as slow as the tears sliding down Vera's cheek. Not as slow as she hid her fingers within herself, little gasps marking their reappearance.

From behind closed eyes I saw little green flashes. Chartreuse stars which hid Vera, Aime and any final moments.

My legs tensed and I felt Aime's hand as she sighed.

We just lay there for a moment. It felt as if Aime's lips were sinking into me as opposed to her previous kisses.

When I again opened my eyes Vera was at my side. We looked at each other for one whole life time. Time turned to stone, she smacked me. The kind that makes almost no noise, but stings. She then pulled Aime up and they started kissing. Their hands were clasped. They kissed.

An audience cools themselves with folded dollar fans.

What is the blood on my lips a metaphor for? I got my money's worth.

They were now sliding all over each other.

That's the beauty of a finality, there's no time wasted on a "What might have been".






ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Wayne Wolfson is well-known to our readers, with two stories already published in our pages, and his single "Paris Text", recorded with the band Grenadier, reviewed in Buzzwords.






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