Blurred Edges

Interestingly enough, the world doesn't warp for me in June, July and
August. The shimmering, dancing vortices of heat obscure the flick of
her sun-sheened, ebony ponytail as she turns away from me. If it's
late September, she allows me only to glimpse how brown her forearms
have gotten during the summer because she knows I want to stroke them
and feel their fine black down. If it's early December, she laughs in
my ears when I'm dreaming because she knows I'm too afraid to peel
back the world and chase her through the worn, brown-patched sickly
green fields mined with dogshit.

When I was in middle school, I was sure if I peeled back the blurred
edges of the world and stepped into the expansive fields to search for
her, I'd get lost. Lucky for me then I was more chickenshit than
Curious George. Now that I'm married with a seven year old daughter, I
gaze indirectly more and more at the muzzled world most people can't
see. Lucky for me now I'm more faithful husband than libidinous prick
because her forearms get lovelier each August.

Anisa was the girl I was too frightened to kiss on a heat-wavy July
afternoon in my parents' garage. She was the girl all the other girls
envied because of her St. Thomas skin, she was the girl all the boys
wanted because of her St. Thomas tongue; and she was the girl her
crazy, St. Thomas-patois-mumbling father raped and murdered one night
because a bottle of Jack Daniels made him believe his daughter's room
was the room of a Cherry Lane Motel whore.

The world warped for me long before Anisa died, though. I remember
watching Transformers after school at my god-brother's house on the
south side of Chicago near the decayed steel mills and trying not to
look at the scribble-drawn, gray-hazed cat things flit back and forth
across the undulating demarcation lines. If I happened to be alone
when I saw them, I would chase the cat things to the edge of this
world and no further, ignoring their slit-eyed mewls of what couldn't
be anything but mocking laughter.

Soon after Anisa died, I was more likely to see her brown forearms
than the twitch of murky shapes I thought to be curved cat tails. More
recently however, Anisa has taken to whispering angry things to the
darkness just before I drooled sharp, sleep-scented effluvium into my
pillow, things which let me know she has just watched my wife and me
breathing, touching and tasting one another.

If it wasn't June, July or August, and if I didn't peer through the
darkness of my bedroom to see exactly where the world warped, Anisa
would follow me into my dreams and do things to me which made me
question my fidelity to my wife and the possibility of a world behind
this one.

But then last summer Curious George got the best of me, and so on a
Friday night in February when my wife was on a ski trip in Aspen with
three of her closest girlfriends since third grade and my daughter was
at a sleepover with three of her best friends since the week before, I
peeled back the world and stepped into dogshit.

She allowed me, for a long moment or two, a glimpse of her
not-so-brown-but-now-golden skin, her long,
not-so-brown-but-now-golden legs and her lustrous
fourth-vertebrae-length ponytail before she rewarded me with the kiss
I've wanted and dreamed the past twenty-five years. And then, without
a word (or even that erection-inducing laugh of hers), but with a flip
of her hair not unlike that of a gazelle's tail, she dashed away on
those wonderfully long legs of hers and bounded over the dogshit
marinating in sunshine too warm to be from a February sun.

I was apparently supposed to chase after her, and so I did, slipping
and falling in dogshit. At three bounds, her laughter floated over her
left shoulder; at eight bounds her golden skin was tinged indigo and
she was camouflaged against the horizon.

It took me much longer than I liked (as I stood there with the sun
hanging low, pregnant and orange) before I realized this world didn't
shimmer, dance and blur like my world. So, I did the only thing I
could have done in that situation—I wiped shit off my ass that wasn't
mine and hoped the horizon wouldn't run from me as I ran to it.

Malone Edwards is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago.
His fiction and creative non fiction has appeared or will appear
in African American Review, Thieves Jargon, Word Riot and
AreaCode Magazine.

© 2005 Underground Voices