SmokeLong Quarterly

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201 Feet

Story by Andrew Tibbetts (Read author interview) October 15, 2004

Everyone has the main thing they hate and the main thing they love. You may not choose these two things. They will choose you. If you are lucky they will be the same thing, because that is convenient.

The court order says 200 feet. I am standing 201 feet from your house, watching you phone the police. You have not measured the sidewalk like I have.

I have never cared about anything so much in my life. What am I supposed to do with that? Behave?

I know the distance between you and me. I know it exactly. I am not willing to let it be vague.

I know I am frightening you, and, despite what the counsellor says, I am not “getting off” on that.

I want you to be happy and to feel safe. I want you relaxed. Remember: I love your laugh. Remember: I love the way you toss your head to flick your hair even though it has been two and half years since you had it cut short. That new guy probably thinks it’s a tick.

I do not like seeing you upset. I do not like knowing that it is me upsetting you. I haven’t seen the face I love on you for a long time now, but I remember it. I cannot stop what I am doing, as long as I remember it.

You could wait for the police back from the window, but you do not. For me, that’s a sign I’m doing the right thing. So, until they get here, we are looking at each other. From this distance, I can see you hate and love me, too. The palms of your hands are pressed against the glass. You are leaning hard against the window. If you push through the glass and cut your hands, I will come and save you- court order or no.

I know exactly how long it will take to get to you, but I do not know what will happen when I get there. I am thinking of all the possible outcomes now, some good, some bad. Imagine: Your lips again on mine, thanking me between kisses. Imagine: being wrenched from your bleeding body by the police as you scream at me, and our disapproving neighbours gather.

But, all along the 201 feet that I will run towards you, I will not be thinking of any of that. I have the kind of love that doesn’t care what happens.

About the Author

Andrew Tibbetts lives in Canada. His short fiction has appeared in This Magazine and The New Quarterly. His “day job” is as a therapist with people diagnosed with mood and personality disorders.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This story appeared in Issue Six of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Six

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