Territorial Fire

Published on: Friday, September 15th, 2017
by Ethan Lesley CC | © All rights reserved.

“What do you see when you close your eyes? Darkness?”
“No. Electricity.”
“How does it feel?”
“Like empty-handed sophisticuffs.”
“That’d be nice. I only see pitch.”

Geb shifted.

“I’m sorry. You had so much light in you.”
“I had, hadn’t I?”
“Tell me, did it reek from my mouth?”
“It spilled from your bones.”
“Thanks.” There were sighs.
Geb reached for the tumbler next to them. “Gots to stay hydrated.” They’d say anything to change the conversation.
“I’ll ask you to dinner if I could, but these days–”
“Dinner feels more intimate than sex.”
“Yes. Makes me uncomfortable.”

“You’re uncomfortable?”
“No, I’m good.” Geb compromised. “Are you… babysitting me?”
“I’m older than you. By, hm, six years?”
“Just five.”
“You’re thirty one?”
“Yeah. Are you, like, a conservative?”
“What’s Conservatism?”
“People telling other people what to do.”
“Oh. Like my old folks. How’s yours?”
“My parents… They always believe I’m doing the wrong things.”
“Are you?”
“What am I doing now?”

“Do you want to do me?”
Geb laughed.
“Real mature.”
“We were just talking about parents and shit.”
“Yeah, well…” A hand stretched for another.
“Do you want me to sigh?”
“In relief.”
“You do good as a blocker,” Geb wanted to say. “You – to me – are everybody combined.”
“And nobody at all?”
“And nobody at all.”
“I’ll comply.”
“You’re good.”
“But what are you doing, really?”
“Today? Monthly mortgage payment. For my space. In hell.”
They both laughed. “Hope it comes with a view.”
“Yes. A really good one. Right next to the Lake of Fire.”

“Do you feel damaged?”
“I do.”
“But are you?”
“Damaged? I don’t know.”
“I am.”
“Not to me.”
“Thank you, but it’s just a matter of time before you see me as.”
“We don’t have that luxury.”
“No, we really don’t.”
“Thanks for not lying that second time.”
“I play this game well.” They noticed they was grasping at the white mantle.
“Does it make you away with the pain?”
“Pain is always there. It’s all the matter of being unfeeling.”
“I did loved my valium.”
“Yes. That.” Geb gulped at nothing, but felt the pills in their throat, the overdose.
“I hate the pain emotional. It seeps through, towards your limbs aching.”
“I wake up feeling it.”
“Every damn day.”
“How do you deal with it?”
“You knew. You knew exactly how.”
“I’m not sure if I exactly did.”
“You asked me how I feel when I close my eyes?” They closed them. “I feel the world burning around me, like I willed it to. Then I open them, and everything’s back as they were.”

“Is that raining outside?”
“I think it’s the sound the AC makes.”
“Like when I thought someone was knocking, but it was the rocking of the bed.”
“It is a great bed.”
“You’re how old again? Thirty two?”
“Yeah. Let’s go with that.”
“Have you ever kissed someone younger than you?”
“How many years we talking?”
“Just younger.”
“Yes. And I hated it. No.”
“Young people just don’t get it. They don’t know how to appreciate things. They have the whole world ahead of them.”
“That’s not a fair thing to say.”
“Maybe. But I’ve met many like that… No matter. Their light will dim with their age. Just you see.”
“I won’t.”
“Oh, yeah. You won’t. But you already know it.”
“How many did you truly held in your arms? Count only those who fell asleep on your lap.”
“I consider two. Yes. I truly had only two. The first one, I count by default, but left before I could finish a prayer. The second, I plucked from the many, but took my life away from me. Away with all the years I’ve worked off only when I was feeling them pay.”
“That eclipsing, huh?”
“Pfft. He wishes his light shines bright as mine does.”
“It never was and it never will.”
“Was it intentional? Blocking your might?”
“Most parts of me believes yes. It was the conscious destruction of another.”
“You’re a bummer.”
“I try my best.”
“Have you always been this frank?”
“And distant? And impersonal?”
“All those things.”
“Have you never been paying attention?”
“I can’t say.”
“All those things.”
“You calculated your way into other people’s embrace.”
“I have, because I have no personality. Not one that I present forwardly, anyway.”
“But you’re a human being.”
“I am a mirror. I am your mirror. You see yourself and what you want in me because I adjusted myself to do so. I am cut precise.”
“I wish I met you when you were younger, less stilted, and more built.”
“And I hope you’d never be put in the position where you’d have to compete with your former self, because your current isn’t good enough.”
“I always am not.”
“And always won’t be?”
“Always never those things.”
Geb circled the chalk into two and six. Lying two and six.

Geb readjusted the flowers. “I hope these were your favorites. I didn’t really know you well.” Geb left the cemetery. They were barely into the afternoon yet they already longed for the day after.

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