Goodbye Mouths

by | Jun 7, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Seven

I’m at a party in a large house with empty white walls and thick carpet the color of clotted blood. A tall stranger with hungry eyes and a slasher smile tries to pull me in for a kiss, but I push him away and he returns to his chair at an impossibly long table overflowing with food and drink. I search for a friend among the faces sitting around the table, but they all stare at me with disapproving eyes. I walk away, feeling lost, wondering where you are. Laughter echoes around me as I wander down a dark hallway in search of you, hearing footsteps behind me that aren’t yours, that probably aren’t there at all, and I hesitate at every door, listening for your voice, listening for your moans, afraid that turning the knob will be turning the screw.
Light sneaks out from under a door at the end of the hallway and I know it’s the bathroom and wonder if you’re in there. Then the door opens and a beautiful woman in a form-fitting silk dress the color of ripe peaches walks out and swings her slender hips right past me. She’s probably a dancer, all athleticism and grace, and I know how dancers captivate you. I don’t have a dancer’s body: too short, too thick, my legs stubby. The door opens a few more times, more beautiful dancers sauntering down the hall like it’s some kind of fashion show, all my insecurities stitched into dresses, and I’m anxious you’ll be the next to walk out, lipstick staining your collar.
I find myself standing on a faded wooden deck outside, not knowing how I got there. It’s too cold and too dark, and I look back up at the house, bright lights revealing so many strangers. I can’t hear what they’re saying but all their mouths seem to form the word “goodbye.” Suddenly you’re standing next to me, asking me what I’m doing out there.
“I was looking for you, and where were you anyway,” I say.
But you don’t answer.
I look back at the house full of people with their goodbye mouths, and think it’s so much better than your silence.

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