Sharp: Part I

Playing With Fire

Almost Spring| Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Jaimie is five. She knows to eat her vegetables and to wash her hands before and after every meal, but she doesn’t know about staying away from Robbie. Robbie is the town’s secret. He lives in the park, lurks around after midnight moons, and chases things he cannot catch. Jaimie is one of those things

She skips in her front yard, her hair looping around the air as she jumps, little girl hops, barely leaving the ground. He’s watching her, twiddling his thumbs and scratching his scruffy beard. His meds are still bleeding under his tongue. He never swallows. 

The rope skips the ground, Jaimie counts to one hundred in Spanish, her plaits bouncing in unison, in sync with each number. In the bushes, Robbie settles. He counts along with her, sharpening his blade, and panting like a hurried devil. He will have his fill. His teeth form into tiny razors, his hands contort and crack as they shift. He is becoming the fire everyone escapes. 

He sits and waits until dawn. 

The First Time

Courtesy of Sacred Margins/Maria Makki

Damon has his hands full. Last night consisted of tossing and turning uncontrollably. Linda refused him their bed. Another heated argument landed him a night on the couch. A common theme in their home. He has lost his sense of self. He doesn’t know who he is and cannot remember who he was. Since the voices entered his head, he was changing. 

He carries a bowl of cereal, a mug of coffee, and the weight of his unforgiving heart on his shoulders. He struggles as he makes his way to the family room. Today, he will apologize.  

Linda is combing her dully colored hair. Damon said the highlights looked like they were torturing her scalp. She’d spent three hours and $85.00 at the salon, yearning for perfection. 

“Everything I do, I do for him.”

She mumbles excuses for her reactionary behavior while glancing at her tired reflection in the mirror.  She belittled Damon for his momentary outbursts, unwilling to see his progress. Today, she will end the suffering.  

The hardwood floors of their Victorian home creak under the pressure of heavy feet. Both of them pace in place, struggling to keep their anger sealed. Their therapist advised in the last session, “Let go of what does not matter. Embrace what does.” The walls whisper sound advice, in the frozen foyer, Damon hears them:

“Love or lose. Win no more.”

He races up the stairs, bursts into their bedroom, and lunges towards his wife. He catches her moments before she kills herself.  

This is the first time the voices in his head are right.