Patrick W. Gibson
Mary sits on her bench in the park, feeling the ache in her tooth; dull and constant, unyielding, and deep within. She opens each bag splayed around her, fingers hunting for the cure, then rummages through the belongings piled high in her cart. An odor like an unfinished dinner left out too long, springs from the blankets, and the cans, and the newspapers dating back three years or more, but Mary gives no notice because these items are hers.
Mary locates her longtime friend and mentor, Gentleman Jack, and pulls him close. Mary tastes Jack, no stranger, yet gasps at his foreplay, and smiles at his touch. She absorbs the morning sunshine as Jack’s encouragement drives her pain low. Pressing Jack against her cheek, she enjoys his comfort, then jerks with a start. Jack is almost done.
Mary stares greedily at the amber liquid, raises her gaze, and peers at the old tennis shoes tied to her cart. Light streams through the bottle, bending her view, and for now these old high tops are Prada’s like the pair she owned new. Mary wore these pumps before she met Jack, before thrift clothing overrode business suit grey, and park breezes ended boardroom blues.
Mary sits on her bench and watches a couple hold hands, a family share food, and three siblings at play. As the scene plays out, Mary risks one of her own, unties the shoes, slips them over her once stockinged toes, then raises up tall and whirls all about. But Mary stumbles, feels the pain resurface; it starts in her head, spreads to her chest. She tips Jack and trickles his closing embrace around her tooth, lies back on her bench, the empty clutched to her breast. Her lover made of glass.