by: Frederick Foote
A trio of tales existing at the fringes of the heart but fully entrenched in the fact that you can’t lie your way to a normal life…
Sweet and Sour
“Hey, are you crying?”
I don’t try to wipe away my tears. I let them flow freely, freeing me, baptizing me back into life.
“Yeah, I’m crying a fucking river.”
She rolls over on her side revealing her tan breasts and dark nipples, her long brown legs and stretch marks, the inch-long scar on her hip, the bump where her collar-bone mended, and her bushy delta. A human landscape I have loved for twenty-five years and ached for, in vain, for the last eleven.
“Why, why are you crying?” She kisses my teary cheek. “Don’t cry. We’re okay. We’re okay now.”
“I’m crying because it’s ten o’clock in the morning, you’re in my bed, naked as a jaybird and as beautiful as a sunrise, just looking like a dream that I thought would never come true again. I’m crying because I’ve spent the last hour with you, touching you, tasting you, inside and around you, and I’ve never been happier.”
We share a full-length body connection and a fervent kiss. “I love you without reservation or regret.”
She responds with tears and kisses. We merge and give everything we have to celebrate being together again.
Later on we’re lying on our backs in my bed holding hands, holding on, affirming our connection.
“I have to go soon. I have to meet with Sophie’s teacher.” She squeezes my hand. Tomorrow, we can have the day – all day if you want.”
I lean over and kiss her breast. “Every minute of it. I want every minute of it. You have to know that.”
She sighs. “Eleven years is such a long time. I didn’t have these.” She touches her stretch marks, “and I had a lot more bounce in these.” She touches her breast. “I, mean, you had all those teenage lovers, so perky and young. I thought….I thought maybe you had lost interest, you know?”
I move down in the bed and kiss her stretch marks. “You were married, and we had a plan, remember?”
She frees her hand from mine and sits up in bed. “Yeah, the plan of a lifetime. My grand plan to be normal. To lead a normal live. I thought about that plan each and every day.”
I sit up with her. “You have regrets?”
“What if we had just moved far away like we planned? We could have been together. We would not have lost that decade. I think about that a lot.”
“But, you have Sophie and Noodles. We could never have kids. You know that.”
“I have no regrets there. None. But, eleven years, and here we are back where we started. Where we want to be. Where we need to be.”
I slip my arm around her waist. “We will make up for that.” She turns and gives me a long lingering kiss. My dick comes alive.
“Ooooh, you are up to something new. She strokes my dick. “The problem is we have to keep this from the kids. And, that may be impossible.”
I reach for her, but she pushes me back and mounts me. “Why impossible? We can make anything possible.”
She works me deliciously, slowly into ecstasy and beyond.
“Sophie’s ten. She sees and senses her way into womanhood more and more everyday. Today, at school, she will see the glow in my skin, sense the relaxed satisfaction of my body, pick up on my intermittent dreamy looks. She will put it all together in ten seconds that I have a lover.”
“Yeah, yeah I bet she will.”
“I’ve taken a lover just days after her father’s been buried. Baby, I fear she will think the worst of me forever.”
“Yeah, I see that. Shit! We got a problem.”
“And Noodles and Sophie will feel the changes in our dynamic instantly. It will take only a few days for them to express their feelings.”
We sit on the side of the bed with our hips and shoulders touching.
I take her hand in mine. “Is there a way out? A way out for all of us?”
She turns to face me. “No neat way out. Baby, I can’t live a lie again. I can’t.”
“We can stop this right now. End it. I can work from anywhere. I could move back to Denver to be closer to my publisher. I could do that.”
“Could we do that? Could I let you go again?”
“For, you and Sophie and Noodles. I could do that.”
I hope I can do that. I truly do. She searches the bed covers for her underwear. “We could tell them the truth. That’s an option.”
I find her panties and kiss her between her legs as she pulls them on.
“They’re ten and eight not nearly old enough to deal with something like this. Shit, they may never be able to deal with this.”
I kiss each breast before she imprisons them in her bra.
“I know, I know. And we would have to tell them about our childhood, and things I have tried to bury and never think about again. Creed, you saved us. I’ll never forget that.”
I stand and hold her tight. “No, no we saved each other. I could never have made it without you. Not even for a minute.”
Dressed and with her purse in hand she asks me again about the things that we can never forget. “After all these years I never feel guilt, regret, shame, none of that. I search my soul, and I’m glad he’s gone. Happy he’s dead.”
I just nod my head. I drink in the wonder of her and feel the joy of being with her again. I smell, touch, look and try to take it all in.
“Vicky, whatever happens, whatever we do. I need tomorrow. I need it even if it has to last the rest of our lives.”
She smiles and embraces me and promises me tomorrow. I kiss my sister goodbye until tomorrow.
It was a near perfect twenty-four hours. During the night, he did not stomp into my bedroom or her bedroom to claim his rights as a father, a provider, a single parent, and a man. It was a night free of his lust and his lame justifications. He was gone when we awoke. He was gone when we arrived home from school. And best of all he called around 5:30pm to say he was spending the night at his girlfriends.
“Yes, sir, we have some money. Yes, there is plenty of food. Yes, I will tell him. Yeah, goodbye.” My sister, thin and nervous and losing her hair by the handfuls at thirteen, cries tears of joy as she hangs up the phone.
I’m a diver coming up from a great depth. The ocean pressure that keeps me awake in fear at night, that leaves me drenched in my own sweat and piss on too many nights, the twitch I get in my left eye when he gets too close, my stomach’s twisting pain when I can’t protect her, has all been abated, retreated and lessened. In this oasis, I can breathe freely and think and plan and hope.
We can’t stop smiling as we eat cereal for dinner. I say, between mouthfuls of Cheerios, “I hope he never fucking comes back.”
My sister stands and pounds the table. “I hope he fucking dies. Die, die, motherfucker die!”
We take up the chant. “Die motherfucker! Die motherfucker! Die motherfucker!” We scream ourselves hoarse.
We don’t worry about disturbing anyone. Our rented house sits on a dead end lane and is surrounded on three sides by the black graveyard’s cyclone fences with a gate opening into our yard. I spend a lot of time just sitting in that graveyard. I dream about my sister and I living in the peace and quiet in there with uninterrupted dreams.
We sit on the floor in the living room doing our homework. I’m a year older and a grade ahead of my sister. I’m helping her with an outline for her essay on Southern Reconstruction.
She is eating a chocolate covered ice cream bar. A drop of vanilla ice cream lands on her thin chest. I reach over and wipe it off with my finger. I suck the ice cream off my finger. There is a tingling in the air as if the air were electrified. She looks at me so strangely. Locks eyes with me. She flicks a bit of chocolate down her tank top between her small breasts. She’s holding her breath. I’m holding mine. The house is still. I reach over with two fingers and wipe away the chocolate, leaving a brown smear on her tan skin. She pulls off her tank top and smears fresh ice cream across her bare breasts.
I’m on the edge. We’re on the edge. Everything is in the balance and waiting. I lean forward, open my mouth, touch the tip of my tongue to that hard, dark nipple. I’m lost and found and beguiled and bewitched and everything is different. I take almost the entire breast in my mouth. I cum on myself. I can’t let go of her. Even if he came in. Even if Jesus Christ himself called, or the earth opened up or the house caught on fire I could not, would not let go of her.
It is my first time with a girl. She is patient, a good teacher. We do it again and again until we fall asleep in her bed. I remember our last words as we fall asleep holding each other. “He needs to die.”
In the morning, we are shy, ashamed, awkward, but happy. I have never been so happy in my life. I tell her that as I kiss her before we step outside, new people in a new world. All dangerously different.
“We have to be careful. Real careful. We can’t get caught.” I look at her. She sounds so serious and grim.
“We could stop. We could just stop now.” I’m terrified that she will agree, will want to stop it, stop us. I hold my breath.
We do stop. We stop on the sidewalk a block from our house on the way to school. We face each other.
“Do you want to stop? Do you?” We are on the edge again with a chance to go in a different direction. A chance to deny, ignore, and explain away what happened last night. A chance to avoid so much danger and pain. An easier road.
I look into her eyes. She looks back. We don’t say a word. There’s no easier path for us. We walk to school. At the school gate, my parting words, “We really do have to kill him now.”
She nods at me. “We will.”
And we do.
A Normal Life
I fall asleep on the shabby brown couch in our timeworn little two bedroom apartment. I’m awakened by the clicks of the door locks. She enters, looks surprised to see me up, shakes her head, agitates her bouncy black curls and then leans back against the door.
I rub the sleep from my eyes. “What’s up Vic?” I check my phone. It’s 2:30 in the morning.
Her eyes grow tighter, her lips thinner. “You’re what’s up. So why are you up?”
“You didn’t call….“
“I’m twenty-five years old, Creed. You’re not my mother or my keeper. I don’t need to call or check in with you. You need to get over that shit.”
“Just a courtesy, so I know you’re safe. That’s all.”
“Fuck!” She starts her long legged march to her bedroom. I block her.
“Vic, you need to keep me in the loop.“
She leans in close to me now, bares her teeth, sprinkles me with her spit. “Fuck you and your loop. Creed, get the fuck out of my way.”
I move closer to her, in her face now. “It has not been right between us since you came back from school. We need to set things straight now before….“
“Right? Right! What the fuck is right about a brother and sister fucking each other? Living a fucking lie! Lying to every fucking body. What’s right about that? Has that ever been fucking right?”
I know that there was a time when it seemed right, necessary, essential. “Vic, we had….“
“Fuck what we had. What do we have now? What the fuck do we have now? I’m having an affair. That’s what I have now, big brother. He has a bigger, blacker dick than….“
I grab her by the arms, grit my teeth, squeeze so tight I can snap her arms. I try to stop. I do. As I toss her onto the couch she catches me with a solid right fist to my temple and a kick to my thigh. It’s a fierce, nearly silent struggle with our ragged breathing and grunts and the impacts of our blows the only punctuation to our battle. I pin her to the couch, trap her legs and arms, stay well back from her eager white teeth. She spits in my face, bites her lip, draws blood and spits a volley. I wait until she quits shaking in anger, in frustration, until the fire is gone from her eye, until she is limp, deflated, worn down.
We sit at opposite ends of the couch facing each other licking our wounds, planning the next round.
“Vic, you don’t have to sneak around. You had boyfriends and girlfriends in college and before that. We both did. You don’t have to hide it.”
“I do have to hide it. Hide it from you. I need things of my own that you know nothing about. I need you out of my fucking life. I need not to see you every fucking morning. I need a normal fucking life.”
“And how do you do that, Vic? How the fuck do you do that? In a normal life fathers don’t rape their kids, sons and daughters don’t kill their father. In a normal life brothers and sisters don’t spend twelve years fucking each other. In a normal fucking life we would not be having this fucking conversation!” I can feel the pressure building in me. I take deep breaths, slower and slower calming my surging anger.
She leans toward me like a snake about to strike. “This is toxic. What we have is eating us alive. We can’t stay together. We will kill each other. Most likely I will kill you brother. You need to think about that.” She stretches out her arm to trace the inch long gash across my right eyebrow. She draws back her hand, grins, licks the blood from her lip, waits.
“Vic, you went away to college for two years, you have your degree. Why did you come back? I didn’t force you to come home. You had a job offer in Houston….”
She wrinkles her lips, tosses her curls, looks at her fingernails. “Home, home, I just….I, I came back to, to see if things were better, could be better.”
“Liar. You came back because of me. After all your fucking around and fucking up you came back to me. For the same reason I never left you. You know why. Don’t lie. You can’t lie your way to a normal life.”
“Fuck you, asshole. You don’t know shit. You don’t.” She tosses her head, rubbing her neck. Her breathing comes faster now.
“Vick, unbutton your top, lift up your bra. Do it.”
“Fuck you! Fuck you, Creed.”
“Now! You’re a coward and a liar. Not a good start to a normal life. Do you want me to unbutton it for you? Just this one last time, before you start a normal life. Just to prove I’m wrong about why you came back.”
Her face is stone now, her fingers fumble over the buttons. “I will have a normal life.”
“Of course you will. Only three buttons to go.”
“I will be a wife.”
“Absolutely. Only two buttons to go.”
“I will have kids.”
“Yeah, only one more button.”
“I will. I will. I will have a normal life.”
“Sure, now the bra, please. Don’t stop now. Prove me wrong.”
Her small tan breasts and black nipples are at attention. Her eyes are shut, thin gates against the tears.
“I’m moving closer, closer. Almost there, almost. Alright, I’m going to stick out my tongue just an inch away from your nipple, one inch for a minute, no, thirty seconds, no, just twenty seconds, that’s all. Now, you can prove me wrong once and for all.”
Her breast comes to me, leaps into my mouth, fills me up, charges me. We are electric, like the very first time. It is the second best fuck of our lives. As she drifts off she whispers in my ear, “Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t change anything.”
Two weeks later she’s gone.