SmokeLong Quarterly

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Story by Stacy Taylor (Read author interview) June 15, 2004

She’s sweet as Georgia peaches, and her skin’s just as soft.

I see her Sunday, chasing moths. Her skirt flies up; she shrieks.

I see her Monday, swiping at dusty knees. Her bottoms are too tight, and she spits kool-aid from purple lips.

I see her Tuesday, crying from a broken-heart. She smudges first time lipstick and tries to tame beach-blonde curls.

I see her Wednesday, smoking a thin cigarette. Her fingers shake as she pretends to inhale. She watches, her eyes on a tall boy with a letter jacket. He doesn’t see her glory.

On Thursday, she’s gone, but I know where to look, and ivy isn’t her kind of green. She falls apart slowly, each breath a punctuation of her pain. No one reaches for her and with an angry toss of cropped blonde hair, determination slips into place.

Friday, she’s near, cool and calm, her eyes clear at last. She rises on slender legs and approaches. With every swish of nylon stockings against her worsted wool skirt, my temperature climbs until I’m sweating in my sport coat and rehearsing what to say. A smile lights her face and she takes my hand, marrying her soul to mine for eternity.

I see her Saturday, but I want to look away. Her hair is dull until it catches silver light and reflects it back. I’m drunk again, loving her helpless. I’m scared and already lonely. She lays still, her breath slow and pained, but her eyes are alive. I hear her whisper. She tells me how to do it, how to go on; she instructs me on how to let her go, my teacher forever. She sleeps, her dreams fading as pale blue dawn eats the night.

I last see her Sunday. She’s thin, and whiter than she should be. My mind spins; it shows me moths and dusty knees. I see purple kool-aid lips that are lipstick stained an instant later. I see first-time cigarettes and beach-blonde curls. With startling precision, blue trails fading to green, my vision becomes manicured lawns and classic literature under a smooth, flawless arm, cropped blonde hair tucked behind a diamond-studded earlobe. Worsted wool brings me full circle, but then again, there is the silver, too.

I see all these things in the time that it takes my wife’s eyelids to close for the last time. And I wonder if other people can see what I see during the final gasp of a dying woman.

No matter what, the first thing that I’ll see on all the days left for me, is the microsecond that she took my heart.

About the Author

A displaced southern girl, now residing in the land of the midnight sun, Stacy Taylor is old beyond her years, yet young enough to be considered foolish. Her fiction has appeared at Deviant Minds and Events Quarterly magazines. Her non-fiction has been featured in Life in Alaska Publications. She wanders through life, working, eating, sleeping, writing

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 Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Four

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