Smearing my chest with cool thick mud, he makes the sign of the cross all the way down to my navel and across my breasts before using me the way he likes to do when we both need a way out. The strangeness of the crooked stars high above and his crushing body pounding over mine makes me wet but I am used to my body betraying my mind by now. Still, it makes me struggle and gasp which only serves to hustle the whole scene along until we both find our animalistic release.
It isn’t pretty but it’s honest. This is what I tell myself as I straighten up and light a smoke from his torn up pack which falls out of his coat pocket along with a gold wedding ring. He thinks I don’t know but only because he doesn’t think much and because he’s afraid that if I did I would care but I don’t. I’m eighteen and he’s forty six or something close to that but none of it matters to me because I’m on my way to much better things and he’s got a wife he can’t stand and a career that’s killing him, a slow kind of seedy death one stale-ringed Styrofoam coffee cup at a time.
Pulling my knees to my chest, I suck in the smell of summer grass and gaze out across the deep black lake which is sunk low at the center of the park where we trespass in the darkest hour. Watching as the moonlight pools and dips on top of the rippling water, I think about how tight my body is, how satisfying. I spread my legs and admire my pale limbs as they soften into the fresh blades of sweet green weeds speckled with dandelion and periwinkle. A girl gives up her body to keep hold of her mind. It is a sordid trade but nonetheless expected. A shit bargain which must be made in order to play the game, which has fuzzy rules that only make it more intriguing. Smart girls like puzzles. Good girls like pleasing.
I pick up a stone and carve my name into the dirt. I lick at the tiny cuts on my knees and talk to myself like I know what I’m doing but something inside is seething and feels like if I turn toward it for even just a split minute, it will morph into a giant ocean wave and swallow me whole. I am strong, though. I keep it in. I push it down. I am the ruler of the tides.
Little fireflies are dimpling the silence of the night air. I can see them glowing gently as they multiply and surround me like sweet honey droplets, amber coordinates of a heavenly guidance system. The more I look, the more I see.
I finish my cigarette alone with my winged companions and wrap his flannel around my small shoulders. He just sleeps it off.