Obstacle

It’s a summer afternoon in Montreal and some asshole is making his way toward me. He is just another obstacle to move, skirt and trouble around. He whistles some revolting tune louder and louder when he zeros in on me–a girl who actually deigns to avoid him. He smacks the concrete as if it weren’t coarse enough for him. He is here to be seen, slapping the newness of shoes on the sidewalk, while his clothes shriek, “nothing but style, baby.” I detest him. I will do all in my power to avoid his languid eyes–the smirk that saturates his lower jaw. He demands my eyes to rummage his wares and drink in exactly what came groveling back at him from out of the pleasing mirrors and shop windows he passed. There is to be no dismissal. I am here to reflect back the only reflection he will ever see. I look right through him like I would a shrub. I am going to win. I will bear down on him, stare him straight in the eye, and denounce any fantasy he lives by. He slides his long, brown hair behind an ear and smiles at me. He is humming now. His pace slows down and his hips slide forward and he is the calmness of all calm. I start to tremble. Everything inside of me is bombarding with hate for this poser. I look under his clustered eyelashes into the corridor of his past with doting parents and all the girlfriends lined up with demented smiles on their faces as he date-rapes them and then steps over them to move on to the next. His sex is a table for one–perpetual masturbator with audience. Girls are here to suck him, admire him and run hands over his flanks. They do him. He does not do them.

My tall, lanky bones shrink into themselves. I become downtrodden. Straighten up, I command. Face this bastard head-on.

The sun’s raking eye spotlights him. Crazed dandelions litter the grass on either side of him with their citrus snickering, those crooked declaimers of light!

We move closer to one another. If I were a dog I would pee on him. He becomes a tall, willowy tree. I become a bumblebee. My hands and body do things I demand them not to. They rustle with my hair and buzz around my clothes tucking things in and pushing things out. Sweat shudders over my skin. I could cross the street right now and cower among the greenage. I could bear the rancid lie of my distractedness. My feet are ridiculous and keep moving forward. I narrow my eyes and stare at his forehead–just a piece of skin with hair on it. His melody is placid, repetitious and plays over and over in my head. My feet move faster. A malicious pebble contradicts me and I am going down. Arms reach out to capture me and a voice whispers, “Are you okay?”

END

This flash fiction piece was published in The Boston Literary Magazine.

About megtuite

Meg Tuite's writing has appeared in numerous literary journals including Berkeley Fiction Review, 34th Parallel, Epiphany, One, the Journal, Monkeybicycle and Boston Literary Magazine. She has been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of two short story collections, Bound By Blue (2013) Sententia Books and Domestic Apparition (2011) San Francisco Bay Press, and three chapbooks including her latest, Her Skin is a Costume (2013) Red Bird Chapbooks, won the Twin Antler's Collaborative Award through Artistically Declined Press (2014), for her collaborative poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale. She has a monthly column, Exquisite Duet, published up at JMWW. Her blog: megtuite.com
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