He lives in his Daddy’s old double wide and sometimes he sees only me. He says prove it, when I tell him I love him. Tell him he is the only man I want. His face covered in red tinted stubble, blue eyes like the ocean I have never seen. I grab his hands and pull them towards me, put them on my small belly. I will prove it if you let me, I say. He don’t know I’m a week late, don’t know I stopped taking the thing three months ago. Been waiting for him to come around, just like the pit-bull out back tied to the tree, desperate for a pat on the head. But when I open my mouth to speak, to tell him what I have done, nothing comes out.
He cooks dinner, spaghetti with garlic bread that he uses to get all the sauce off his plate, mops the bread over my plate too. Sitting in the tiny kitchen—dirty dishes piled high in the sink, the woven basket full of rotting bananas hanging by the refrigerator—I think about how this could be our kitchen. I could clean all this mess. And then our lives could be tangled up like the vines of the plant he has growing in the window seal, twisting around each other, both looking for the light.
Ashton Russell lives and writes in the Magic City, Birmingham, Alabama.