~ torn ~ 21

19 Sep

(previous chapters can be accessed through the ARCHIVES calendar)


Julia came awake like the crack of a whip.
Nostrils flared in wide-eyed panic.
The dark around her slowly took shape.
The leather backseat of the Cadillac morphed into her bed.
A gummy tongue. Raw throat.
Markers between the world of nightmares and hung-over wakefulness.

She looked across the king-size expanse of mattress.
Ron faced her.
Fast asleep on top of the covers.
Boxer shorts and a rumpled dress shirt.
He reeked of whiskey.
Julia turned away.
Wiped sleep from her eyes. Pushed hair from her face.
The siren call of a long drink of cold water beckoned.

Julia swung her feet out from under the covers.
Sat up straight. Clutched her ribs.
Sore. Kicked by a mule.
Couldn’t recall any encounter with irate farm animals.
Or any of Ron’s animal friends.
She leaned forward.
Winced with each shallow breath.
Probably hurt herself stumbling around drunk.
Falling down.
Wouldn’t be the first time.

She glanced under the bed for slippers. None.
She stood up.
Wobbled barefoot across the bedroom floor.
Legs numb.
Dull prickling in the soles of her feet.
Lying in bed for God-knows-how-long.
Sleeping it off.
Happy Days Are Here Again.

Julia paused at the bathroom door.
Slid the dimmer switch all the way down.
Turned on the light.
Entered the room.
An ill-used libertine approached in the mirror.
The woman wore one of Ron’s Seattle Seahawks jerseys.
Julia was never the kind to wear a man’s sports memorabilia to bed.
It strengthened her suspicion of being put into bed.
Put into bed drunk and disorderly. No doubt.
She leaned on the sink. Twisted the faucet. Fought back tears.


She bent to douse her face.
Something in the corner of her eye took her breath.
Like the shape of a snake in tall grass.
Julia kept one hand on the sink for support.
Stooped and slowly lifted the thing.
A dried crumple-molded blue bath towel.

A running shower…
…and faraway sound of Big Band radio rose out of the stillness.


We danced the same way then,
I just can’t remember where or when

Julia jerked her gaze toward the tub.
Another ossified towel lay strewn on the Italian tile floor.
Shards of indistinct memories bored into her consciousness.
The towel in her hand slipped to the floor.
She clutched the sink.
Nausea swelled in her guts.
She stared deep into the reflection of her eyes.
Slipped into the meditative breathing taught her by Dr. Simmons.
Turned off the running water.
The hush of night returned.
Julia slowly backed away from the mirror.
Left the bathroom.




2 Responses to “~ torn ~ 21”

  1. Lou Chanatry September 19, 2016 at 8:22 am #

    Now that makes me want to read more…

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Denise Volz September 19, 2016 at 11:53 am #

    Loved it! So visual!!!!

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