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Cherry Licorice

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“There are blue skies.”
“They’re black and blue.”
“It’s nice out.”
“It’s raining.” She slumped into her seat.
The dark skies passed through the train window, suggesting blacks and blues were covering her skin.
“But it’s pretty.” He was looking at her light, smooth skin. Her neck tensed and released as she sighed. Her eyes flicked away from the window to the floor in the single most graceful movement he had ever seen.
“Where--?”
“Why ask?”
“Thought you might—“
“Tell? It’s a surprise. A present to you.”
“Birthday?”
“All these years together, don’t think I forgot.”
“I wouldn’t dare,” Her eyes closed and pressed together tight, “together” she snorted out a laugh. His hand found itself planted on her knee. She flinched.
“Why not?”
Her cheeks started burning scarlet. “So beautiful”, he whispered to himself.
“Why care?”
“Caring means everything in the world.” He grinned.
“I can’t. Not for you.”
A woman with a cart knocked on the door and offered water. He bought two.
“Snack, sir?”
“One cherry licorice, please.” She left.
“Nice woman.”
“Don’t even.”
“Would I?”
“Why ask?” They sat in silence for most of the ride. He finished the cherry licorice and drank all of his water and put the empty bottle on the vacant seat next to him. He couldn’t help but think of her sugary smelling hair, elegantly thin lips, the muscles on her inner thighs, the screams of pain and anguish that urged him on her helpless innocence.
“You’re angry.”
“Shouldn’t I be?”
“Why should you?”
“Why shouldn’t I?” The train stopped. He got up and grabbed the old, raggedy suitcase marked EDN. Then he reached for the other, marked RBN in glistening gold cursive.
“I don’t understand why not.”
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY NOT?!” Her jaw hurt making the grunting noise of language. She looked back and forth from his empty water bottle to her full one. “You want us to be vultures, I want us to be preying mantises.”
“Vultures? How about penguins?”
“It’s wrong. All of this is wrong.”
“No, it’s right. Penguins…” mates for life. He stared at her arm resting over her belly. It was moving up and down with the rhythm of her breath. The curve of her outwardly lurching stomach sent warm feelings to his heart.
She gave up her battle. “Are we leaving?”
He liked the way her lips moved. “As soon as possible.” He grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the cart.
“It’s dreadful here.”
“You’ll learn to love it.” They were standing on a dirty, wet platform in front of a sign that read:



Welcome to the Official Village of Elburn, Illinois
Illinois? She thought to herself.
“It’s like our first adventure ever together.”
“Uncle Rodney always took us on adventures.”
“Exploring with my Dad is not the same as exploring with you.”
She looked at her toes and scrunched up her shoulders in discomfort. “I need to go to the ladies room.”
“You can hold it.” His grip on her arm tightened.
“But I really need to go. Emergency.”
“Fine,” he said sternly, “but hurry back to me.”
“Promise all my love for you I will.” He let go. She hurried to the ladies room and left his love there. She flushed it into the sewers.
Washing her hands, she felt the cool breeze from the window gently push the tears out of her eyes and she prayed to God, “Please help me.”





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