I’m wrenched awake with a swaying hangover, the kind that rumbles in the back of your throat until mid-afternoon. I know that I’m late without turning my head but the only movement is the whir of the box fan in the window and the sinewy muscle of my calves twitching near the end of the bed.
It’s hard to wake up when the world outside the door has been in this way, insistent in it’s painfulness, and part of me wants to succumb to the quiet hum of this bedroom, disappear into the sheets and pretend for a moment that I never met Jordan Whitaker.
A scalding shower and a thermos of lukewarm coffee later, the sun seems way too cheery for the way my insides feel and I want to scowl at it. I swallow the bile for a moment to toss a ‘good morning’ to the old woman dragging her walking cane to the end of the driveway.
She used to drop by with cookies from time to time, but it’s been a while. I can see the toll of age and defeat on her cheeks like a fragment of my future and I have to turn away from it, towards the blinding sun mocking me quietly.
“You done yet?”
I hear his voice before I see him, taunting me in the way only a man in a position of superiority can. Archie is filthy with the kind of grease that doesn’t wash off, and all of my tricks to keep unwanted hands away, even a stubborn and unyielding androgyny, has not deterred him yet. I spit at the sidewalk before his foot lands in stride next to me, and he jerks a bit but keeps pace.
“You know, I’ve got someone on the inside of the courtroom today. Maybe you scratch my back, I scratch yours, that kind of thing?”
These words are accompanied by a haphazard set of teeth leering in some semblance of a smile. The smell alone is enough to make me want to start sprinting, but I keep my tone and pace level.
“I’m not telling you again, Archie. My leads are my own. I’ll get in there just fine.”
“Oh, the *****’s feeling feisty today, I see!”
I watch a bead of sweat collect between his eyes as he watches me, like a pockmark. “You’re kidding yourself if you think they’ll let you anywhere near the trial with the stunt you pulled last week.
You should stop taking me for granted, you know!”
straying from a poem- short piece from a writing workshop.