She

turntable

  “Oh man it’s hot” Lindsay says, flapping the hem of Her shirt in the hopes of cooling Herself down.
  “No shit,” I retort, kicking Her foot with mine playfully as we lay across from each other on her bedroom floor.
  “Shut up,” She says, kicking me back. I grin and – too hot to continue the war – tap Her foot half heartedly and concede. There’s a moments silence as we lay there, staring at Her ceiling, my foot resting against Hers. The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty is spinning on the turntable, the guitar of Till the Morning Comes filling the room with its sickly sweet twang. The only other sound in the room is the creak of Her oscillating fan. After a little while like this I sit up to catch the breeze in my face. Lindsay opens Her eyes to watch me, the movement obviously having disturbed Her from the light doze She had fallen into. I rest my damp forehead against the grill, my short hair blowing around my ears, and as I glance at Her she grins slowly, Her eyes narrowing in a warm way as She does so. I smile back and – contented – She lets Herself fall back to sleep. Fearful I may lose Her for longer than I am willing to, I speak.

  “Can I ask you something?”
  “You just did,” She replies, mumbling through lips too tired to open.
  “Why do you like the Dead?”
  She takes a moment to consider her answer. Questions like this always bring a careful reply, I’ve come to realize. I’m just beginning to think She might be asleep when She answers “I love all of my creations.”
  “Sure, sure,” I say, tired of these escapes, “but you have like, every one of their albums. You don’t have any Meatloaf, or like, have records of me singing or anything.” Lindsay smiles but doesn’t open her eyes, a funny little secret resting behind Her lids.
  “What can I say, I’m a Deadhead.” She replies. I move away from the fan and lay parallel to Her, propping myself up on an elbow. Her chest is rising and falling slowly. I watch Her for a little while.
  “You miss him, huh?” she asks quietly. She’s there before me, dammit, and it takes a second for my thought process to catch up to her omniscience.
  “Yeah, I guess I do.”
  “You guess?” She scoffs. I feel something churn around inside but it doesn’t hurt anymore.
  “Of course I do.,” I say, falling quiet for a moment before carrying on unprompted, “I used to watch him sleep. It always used to freak me out, y’know, how slow he would breathe. I’d watch his chest and try and breathe as slow as him and it would hurt. My lungs would burn. I was tiny, like, eight, I guess.”
  “Seven,” she corrects.
  “Right,” I say, ignoring the futility of explaining this to Her.

  Another long expanse of nothingness fills the airwaves. When it’s finally broken the needle is rolling around the last groove of the album, the empty crackle looping infinitely.
  “I do listen to you, you know.” It’s been so long since whatever prompted Her to say this I don’t entirely understand right away. Just as I’m getting there She continues “If they made albums of you man, I’d have ‘em all.” I don’t reply. I’m going quick, my head having slipped off my hand a long time ago and resting instead in my elbow, my forearm still awkwardly erect, my hand hanging limp in mid-air. There’s a shuffle of movement next to me, I feel something soft press against my forehead and the air shifts as She gets up. She pads out of the room and the temperature instantly dissipates, the heat disappearing along with her. Minutes pass in silence and finally I hear a flush emanate from the bathroom down the hall. Somewhere, in the deepest pits of my subconscious, I’m laughing so hard.

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~ by Joseph Blame on July 3, 2010.

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