Soothing Sizzle

by Rasmenia Massoud

He’s got the curtains drawn, but I know what he’s doing in there. The lights are on. The music is loud enough to hear from the sidewalk.

Her car is parked in the driveway. She shouldn’t be in there.

I should be in there.

The cigarette makes me feel better, the way it makes tiny sizzle
sounds on my skin.

The lights go out.

The music stops.

I have one of those multi-tools in my pocket: knife, scissors,
screwdriver, tweezers, and corkscrew, all in one handy device.

Standing up, my knees are stiff from kneeling. A strand of my hair
gets caught in the bush I’ve been hiding in and is yanked out.

I take a few steps into the driveway. Her tires look new. Squatting
down to poke a hole, it hits me: this won’t make me feel any better.

But, something about the feel of the little blade running along the
palm of my hand is soothing.

I soothe myself the entire walk home.

In my bathroom, I laugh because my hand looks like steak tartar. It’s
funny because I really like steak tartar and my meat looks delicious.

When he’s at the grocery store, I’m at the grocery store. He flinches
when my cart smacks into his. Sorry. Didn’t see you there. Accident.
Oops.

The look on his face is surprise, then indifference. Not recognition.
He looks down at the packages of ground beef in my cart, down at my
long sleeves and leather gloves. He’s wearing shorts and hippy
sandals. I imagine smoking a cigarette, letting it make tiny sizzle
sounds on his toes.

Surprise, then indifference. Not recognition. This hurts, so I turn
around and run away.

At home, I soothe myself with the electric burner of my stove.
Tonight. I can fix things tonight.

Like every other night, his curtains are drawn. The lights are on. The
music’s playing.

Her car isn’t in the driveway.

I should be in there.

I slide the window latch with the handy device in my pocket. This
time, the look on his face is surprise – surprise and recognition.

The cigarette makes me feel better, the way it makes tiny sizzle
sounds on his skin.

The lights go out.

The music stops.

#

Rasmenia Massoud is the author of the short story collection,
“Human Detritus”. She is from Colorado but now lives in France where
she spends her time confusing the natives of her adopted country by
speaking French poorly and writing about what she struggles most to
understand: human beings. You can visit her at:
http://www.rasmenia.com/
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