After that, they were off-again-on-again during the eighties, until Aura married a guitar player and Michael tried to kill himself. They hardly spoke for twenty years. Then, they met at a New Year’s party and Aura reignited Michael’s flame with a drunken mistletoe kiss. Michael had been taking Prozac to cool the burning in his chest that was slowly drying up his heart. But she made it moist again with her lips and tongue, filled in the canyons with her scent.
The guitar player was on the road, so Michael came home with Aura. But he left before sunrise. He went to the desert. He said, “I want to stand in the Arizona sun and let it score you out of me.” When Aura’s husband returned the following week, she smelled a dozen women in his clothes, and he said something felt wrong on his side of the bed. Aura said, “Therapy,” but the husband said, “Divorce”.
Aura went to Arizona, where Michael was in a Phoenix burn unit.
“I didn’t think you meant it literally, idiot,” she told his white swathed body. He couldn’t talk. Moving his face hurt too much. And the salt from her lips would have scalded him, so she couldn’t kiss him, either. Instead, she sat beside the bed with a book of number puzzles. “But then, when you said you wanted to gouge me out, you went after yourself with a carving knife, so I suppose I should have known.” Then the nurses came with ghastly scrub brushes and silver tape, and she left so they could put him back together.
She sat by his side through the next month, while he healed. There was some possibility of his going to a psych ward after that. While Aura held Michael’s hand, the resident psychiatrist said, “Klonopin might help.”
Michael said, “Nothing helps.”
And then Aura laughed aloud at Michael. She laughed at him until the hairline cracks in his heart ripped violently apart, shattered into fragments smaller than grains of sand. She cradled his face in her hands and kissed his still raw lips and said, “Dear man, anything at all would help if you would only let it. If you would simply be a poet instead of trying to live a poem, we could have been engaged thirty five years ago.”
Then she left him with the shrink to figure out where to put the pieces of his heart, how to rebuild his own soul from its ashes. But she wrote her phone number on the pad beside his bed. She said, “I live in town now. Call me when you figure out what works.”
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, FlamingNyx gave me this prompt: She laughed at him until the hairline cracks in his heart ripped violently apart, shattered into fragments smaller than grains of sand..
I gave Barb Black this prompt: Ora wrote in his journal, ‘Sold 12 White Leghorn pullets for $45 and one yearling cock bird from breeding stock for $7.00. Tithe $5.20′. Then, he closed the books on September and turned over to a fresh page and wrote ‘October, 1919.’
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.