Weeds

January 26, 2010
“Miss Olivia’s a mess,” reports the hen, disregarding manners as her enthusiasm mounts.

A cluster of dark eyelids shift to the informant, and several gleeful voices resonate at once.

Georgette’s commands the quickest.

The hen is all too happy to oblige.

“I don’t know how or why exactly,” she titters, “but Miss Olivia’s in pieces on the porch.”

“Terrible,” snorts an expensive nose job.

“Too terrible,” grins a polished picket fence.

“And that’s just too bad,” Georgette smirks.

Their laughter mixes with a dozen sordid scents and attacks the ceiling beams, demanding release. It chokes those who stand in shadows, cups in hand, but the circle of hens are impervious to poison.

The sound, some forced, some fierce, settles to the tiled floor and travels up the walls and out the window left cracked for the Wilsons’ tomcat to kiss the night air sprawling thick and fragile.

Miss Olivia’s ears prick in scrutiny, straining to decipher the spiteful remarks.

Surely Georgette is just over the threshold, she knows, powdered and foundationed face pressed indiscreetly against the door, claws disgruntling fake wood, hoping against hope to catch a sob.

But Miss Olivia does not.

She holds back all that troubles her, banishing insipid sickness to the depths of perfect darkness twisting down the freshly-punctured hole in her heart.

Her eyes trek from trembling chest to the wild tangle of outdoors before her, and she vaguely wonders where her worst best friend wandered off to, and who should be so lucky as to gain his concern for the evening.

Miss Olivia blinks in frustration at the velveteen darkness, willing violence to blindside her burning skin. She embraces the encroaching disruption and the infinite surrender.

The plastic cup by her wayward flip-flop two steps down sits empty in her silhouette. Crimson in her wake, it reflects all she is and all she feels- defeated. It dawns on Miss Olivia that she is not welcomed ’round these parts, where she is not afforded the freedom to fit out. The smattering of stars she wants so desperately to reach up to touch, to hoist herself into the heavens and hide within the silence confirm her fears- she is forever outcast in this lifelong rift within the second class, too small to caress the sky.

If I was only this tall, she thinks, envying the trees, oh, if I was only just this tall…

But she’s okay.

Hey, she thinks, hey, hey, it’s okay.

Her lips speak it, but her eyes clench tightly against the truth as she turns her back to the music and clamor, fingers bared to suffocate a cell phone.

The time reads 1:19.

He hasn’t texted in an hour, and his final words asphyxiate a fleeting Miss Olivia.

Breathless, the words she shook out into his answering machine fill her ears again.

You said, she had said, but you said it was only me.

Ages later, his response lit up her screen and nearly brought an end to Miss Olivia for the second time that night.

I said that?

And her heart contracted and erased his touch and the deed was done. Never forgive, never, ever forgive, and never forget that he questioned.

She hears shuffling beyond the door and assumes the savage hens have lost interest. Miss Olivia is grateful for the chance to slip back into obscurity, so wholly unnoticed for the moment. She swipes at absent tears and tries to think pretty things, all the while heaving rogue thoughts of Jonathan back down to the bottomless black hole in her heart.

She clears her throat. Unsatisfied, she tries again.

Miss Olivia focuses all unrequited feelings on an electric tuft of weeds swaying sentinel at the foot of the steps.

She is mesmerized. Like the weeds, she is unwanted at this house, in this town, at this time, always, through a lifetime of sultry summer months. Unlike the weeds, she’ll cry melted mountains into the sink as soon as she gets home, locked safe and secure behind a door before collapsing to chrome squares.

She will scream for every weed.

For every waste of time, for everything cold and wicked, for every whispered sick intention, she will lose her mind and reawaken in a warmer place. Much warmer.

Until then, she will twist and writhe in aggravated silence in tandem with the weeds, waiting on the world to change.

The stormdoor hisses in protest to signal coarse intruders, invading Miss Olivia’s delusions, oh, what a dead giveaway.

A familiar voice dissolves the frosty tension and an inebriated drawl, hampered with the throngs of longing, meets with a pair of battered eyelashes, bled auburn in the fallout.

Muddy teartracks cling to heated cheek, and for a moment, the two turned heads swim in recognition.

The intruder springs into motion so suddenly, he startles a sigh from Miss Olivia, who has become painfully aware of his persistence. She looks away. She challenges the weeds to a silent screaming match. It cannot wait.

Soon, he fills the empty space on the step catering to one. Performance fleece grazes bare, bony arm before he extends his own to nudge her nearer, so close, and it’s clear, so clear that she should’ve just stayed home.

He rifles in his pocket before lighting a cigarette.

He takes a drag, and then another, then another. He pauses, waits for that familiar screaming in his throat, that familiar cry of indignation ignited by a parade of vodka chased by vicodin.

It doesn’t come. And he just wants that hurt. Sometimes, he just wants to hurt.

“Sometimes, I feel pretty f***ing…self…destructive,” he observes.

Miss Olivia looks away, russet eyes retreating for the weeds.

What’s wrong, she’s sure she’s heard.

Why are you so quiet?

Delicious smoke curls from his lip, and Miss Olivia takes notice. He watches her watching him from the corner of her eye, focused on his mouth and what seethes beyond. The very thought sends a riptide of wishful thinking resonating up his spine.

He always gets his game.

When she doesn’t speak, You can tell me, you know.

What Miss Olivia knows is that he wants words to twist to make her feel like she should feel him, like she’s alone, like she didn’t know it, like she can’t recognize a triple hint or a liar in designer jeans.

C’mon, he prods, pretending to be human, pretending to deserve her heat.

Miss Olivia inhales, the precursor to confession. He leans in, and she imagines what he’s thinking…There, girl, tell me where, he pleads, tell me where to sink my teeth.

But she bites first.

Then lead me on like you mean it, she implores him. She doesn’t have to tell him twice.

A stinging wind disturbs the weeds at their feet and sends the pests knocking in to one another, but the only thing Miss Olivia is interested in is a score that begs settling.

The monster bares his teeth.

A shrewd smile bubbles up from the empty within Miss Olivia and she meets him in the middle, tongues tangling as they fall all over themselves to salt the wounds and exacerbate their pain.

Sometimes, Miss Olivia realizes, well, sometimes, I just wanna feel something.





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