Paradise Is Not So Bad

by James Greer


Gardenias. Heavy scent borne on the evening breeze, through two windows facing the street. The red Mercedes had seemed to come out of nowhere.

“Listen. I met a girl.”

In fading sun the row of bougainvillea overflowing chain link fence across the street flushes pinkly, nodding (sweet, demure) at passersby.

“I love Dave, don’t you?”

He hadn’t seen the car until it juddered into his, obliquely, at low speed, denting the hood over the right headlight and smashing the blinker to yellow shards, scattered on the road. Useless blinker guts hung from exposed wires, sadly on the bumper, a gouged eye dangling from its socket by a bloody thread.

“He thinks I’m trashing him. And of course I am, I mean whenever you break up with somebody….”

Night wearily shrugs on pinpricked overcoat. He sits in blue chair facing the windows. Cars roll by, eachly different by susurrus, by timbre of engine-stroke and brake-squeak. Bursts of conversation from sidewalkers in brief spaces between rumbly belching and whispering cars. Palpates parts of his face with one indifferent hand. Still there. Still.

“I don’t involve myself with anything to do with Allen.”

Can you feel his fingers moving slowly over your body? he wondered. Hot dry lips on slender shoulder, breathing in your ear, blowing strands of hair from your eyes? Like fine sand drifting in sea-air. You might not have noticed. Bastard didn’t even apologize. Not a flicker of regret. The look in his eyes as dead as will. We all. Being. Unwell. Stand. Windowsill. Understood. Will understand.

“I was in shock, just complete… shock….”

Photo: Still from Mimesis (2006)