Nieghboring

BY Chris Wiewiora


I wave good morning to the blonde who lives across the street in the house adjacent to mine. A man takes her trashcan to the curb. His sedan is parked in her driveway. As his back is turned, she waves a good morning to me. We never speak—our invisible distance. I don’t cross the street, like I’m not supposed to date my secretary. So, I only sleep with my secretary. I keep things professional, like my blonde neighbor filling in her doorframe with her terrycloth robe.

I bet the blonde grew up feeling like a girl about to be beautiful, but never became that woman for the man. Her freckles dash on her face like sprinkles on Christmas cookies. She must taste like strawberry jam. The blonde probably counted on clothes to draw the attention away from her face, that she might have thought ugly, and down to her bust: directing, lifting, and offering. The pops of her toes’ knuckles ricochet to me kneeling down to pick up my newspaper. I look up and imagine those piggies in my mouth: tooth and nail. She scrapes her bare feet on her welcome mat, before going back inside.

At work, my secretary wears a halter-dress revealing a Chinese dragon tattoo on her shoulder. I think about the blonde’s sloping breasts tugging against her robe, above the square knot at her waist. I ask my secretary if she is busy that evening. She negotiates and for the first time we have dinner before going to the hotel. At the restaurant, I look through the candle on the table trying to burn my secretary blonde. My secretary licks her fingertips and pinches the candle’s wick. The wisps of smoke curl and dissipate.

In the hotel’s swimming pool, my secretary ebbs and glows with the water’s green haze. She shines the same way under the fluorescent lights at my office. My secretary’s tattoo melts as she skinny dips. The chlorine bleaches its ink. I think about the melting candle wax dripping onto the dinner table and the light fracturing my secretary blonde. My secretary’s tattoo floats on top of the water like oil, blurring us together into a rainbow prism. Naked. Pure as a baby’s bathtub photo. She stares red-eye into the camera, slick like a newt slithering between rocks.

In the middle of the night, pulsing needles prick my hand. My arm is asleep from cradling my secretary’s neck. I hear her breathe. The same sigh after she comes—like a sneeze. A quick gasp, then a long exhale. I wonder if the blonde yelps. I withdraw my numb arm. My secretary curls up like a shrimp, hugging warmth from her body, not mine. I clinch my palm into a fist, demanding blood flow to my fingers. I would be tempted to give my secretary a peck on the forehead if her hair shimmered blonde. I would tuck my secretary’s bangs behind her ears and tuck the bed sheet over her shoulders before I left. I think tomorrow I’ll ask my secretary to dye her hair a platinum brilliance like the morning sun peaking through the blinds.

In my neighborhood, the man’s sedan pulls out of the blonde’s garage. The blonde’s arms are crossed over her chest. Last night, the man probably pushed into the blonde. She’s a wheelbarrow with a flat tire—stuck in place, deepening a rut. The sedan’s tires squash over the gutter. The blonde waves from her welcome mat. Her hand ushers me over. I look both ways down the street and cross our invisible distance to say good morning.

 




Chris Wiewiora is the assistant editor of The Florida Review. This year, his stories have appeared in Bateau, A cappella Zoo and on You Must Be This Tall To Ride.net and FrostWriting.com and more are forthcoming on SwinkMag.com and in Pocket Smut, Now & Then, and Yemassee. He works at a pizza place in Orlando called Lazy Moon.