When you looked at me, there was nothing looking back, but a threadless needle containing only the shape of the room. Wood paneled walls, a clean floor. We would smoke on the couch and spend all night watching a woman sing in slow motion on the TV. The moon slipped wafer thin under your hands, my tongue dry in my mouth, the sound of dogs down the road. Your dad had already talked with you about pleasuring a woman. We sat out on the dam-controlled lake where a boy from our school jumped and shattered his leg bones. We watched the sky for satellites, the woods for animals, their own wake in the water, rings pinging across the surface. We floated on the boat bottom, head to toe, and I could smell the rubber of your thrift store tennis shoes. The miles walked but not by you. You said a snake once shed its skin in the boat and your father found it and put it on your pillow. The skin was like a woman’s worn stocking with the shape of her foot still inside. You kept talking, but I stopped listening. I thought about your pillow and the faint smell of your hair on its case.
Lydia Gwyn’s stories have appeared or are forthcoming in JMWW, Pigeonholes, New World Writing, the Florida Review, and elsewhere. Her book of flash fictions–Tiny Doors–is available from Another New Calligraphy. She lives in East Tennessee with her husband and children.