Lost, by Bojana Stojcic
I’m looking for a word that goes by the name of sorry. She used to be patient and generous before she turned double-faced and I called her a pathetic bitch. She packed her bags and left. I hear she’s taken refuge on a lost-and-found shelf between an umbrella and a purse.
I lost my word and found her in a shoe one day, soaked after the rainy season, so I asked her out. She sat by the window of a mom-and-pop restaurant, ordered an extra dry martini like a pro and waited for me, all dressed up. She had all the evidence spread out in front of her under the local paper’s Romance on the Road column. I didn’t even call to say I wasn’t coming.
Sometimes I see her from afar, long rosemary-thin fingers crossing bridges and opening doors.
Sometimes she tucks me in and lies down beside me, snoring the night away in the starfish position. The other day, I heard her panting while watching me undress from a coin-operated booth, like in a pornographic show.
You know I can’t see you, and it excites the hell out of you, doesn’t it? You need to pay the entrance fee, though. Nothing’s free, lady. What if I pulled you out of the audience and asked you to join me? What if I was the one watching, and said – Strip for me. Would you turn me down for fear of what I may (not) find underneath or nod as if guilty because it’d be less embarrassing to go along?
You playing a trick on me? she asked. Women are rarely chosen for this shit.
Maybe, but you can’t tell as you’ve never been to a sex show. I always wanted to do it with another woman. It could be fun if you left your camera at the door. Some things you just don’t do, like buy drugs off the street or take photos of show girls to laugh at how imperfect they are with the lights on.
Over the years, we got into a rut and started resembling longtime married couples – wrinkled sheets every day, once a week, once a year, year after year, drifting to the other side of the bed, separate beds, separate bedrooms, fragments of lava fuming and sizzling, moving out and in and out, and at some point I began to shudder at the thought of her. I hated her slicked-back hair, rolled-up sleeves and other pretentious bullshit. I hated the taste of her on my tongue and gave her the finger.
When we got back together, I took a sadistic pleasure in beating her up repeatedly. She tried to break up with me but I assured her I’d change, and she stayed. I kept her chained up in the cold basement while she waited an eternity for me to think again. She’d reach out for the door but it slammed shut. I held her captive till she admitted she had never existed and I forgot what she’d love me to remember.
Bojana Stojcic teaches, bitches, writes, bites and tries to breathe in between. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over 30 publications, including Rust + Moth, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, The Opiate, BHP, Mojave Heart Review, Okay Donkey, Spelk Fiction, Eunoia Review and X-R-A-Y. Her flash was a finalist in the 2019 Midway Journal’s -1000 Below: Flash Prose and Poetry Contest. She blogs at Coffee and Confessions to go.
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