Coming To An End

Maybe, because of the month of August I felt things coming to an end. It was slightly before that, actually. Sometime in the final humid days of July, as the wind blew slightly, shaking a hollow wooden chime to a light clunking noise and somewhere a few miles deeper into the city an ambulance screeched toward an emergency. We leaned on the balustrade of a little porch during a friend’s grill-out get-together. My fiancé looked at me with a smile and squeezed my hand a little and time seemed to slow down the way a director slows film for added effect then speeds it back up to the normal pace and down my gullet went another rum drink. It went away then, the ending feeling, as I smelled the last remaining whiffs of grilled hamburger meat. But I knew it would return soon. We had been carrying on so lovely. (That is the word she used to describe most things). But such was my natural sense, I knew it couldn’t carry on like that forever.

The feeling returned while I was having sex with a woman who suffered – Suffered; what a word she said. She said she never suffered from anything at all, people don’t suffer from diseases. Societal slights and people staring mostly. She said she didn’t believe she lived a poor past life or was cursed in such a way, simply the chance of genes and atoms – from a congenital disease and as such her arms were mere dangling, haphazard branches. In her youth, her right hand was such a malignancy, so mangled, that as a child she repeatedly broke its bones and as a result doctors believed it best to be gone with, and was thusly amputated. The remains of which, a bit of a bludgeon flipper, I felt pressing against my back as she screamed wildly, almost painfully in my ear. Painful, because I would have to tell her that I am engaged to be married and this sex, this moment is only for right now; for the quiet late summer afternoon when the best thing for two strangers to do is to make love with the windows open and maybe once more tiredly, after a dozen games of Connect Four (her left hand was just good enough to hold the pieces, but when it wasn’t she used her mouth and almost every time she dropped one down she looked at me with eyes both desire-filled and desperate) while listening to a Man of La Mancha record and sharing a white bread crunchy peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich and then be done with each other for the rest of the day and possibly our lives and in turn I’d have to tell my fiancé when she came home that I had just cheated on her with a woman I scarcely knew and that it didn’t mean anything, except that I never thought that we could last as I never see anything through to its proper end, so I used the woman to facilitate the abrupt ending of what had been so lovely and comfortable for us. I am sorry.

She did kiss me though, the little woman with the useless arms. Many times over the neck and face, kissed me repeatedly on the lips.

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