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“I wish you would stop holding me. Your grip hurts; striking a nerve of stinging memories, burning with venom of love threats. I want to be let go. I want to be free to love, hurt, and heal myself, with my own help. Your gentleness is too rough- if, and because, I say so. Especially when you soften the blows. No matter how deep or pleasing the love, or the stroke when we fuck; it turns you, me- us, into monsters of our own making- the kind we make ourselves fear. Moans cover cries. Ravaging lust, covers your eyes. We blind ourselves, hiding lies.”

Aida, ran up the stairs, slammed through the exit door, stumbling onto the gravel roof. She swatted through dust, darted to the ledge, and peered down. Her slender body swaying, from the anxiety of chasing a different, better tomorrow. She had been told many times, she was a “strong woman”- through sincere smiles, narrow, soul searching eyes, and hugs held past welcome, to absorb, maybe, transfer pain. So,why was she about to take her life?

“What bug do humans resemble from up here?” Aida wondered. Horror stories crawled into memory, scratching up tales, adults tell children about gravity; the man who’s head exploded from a penny dropping onto it, or the meteoric dent in the ground caused by a falling grape. “They never tell the truth,”she thought- “Love lifts you, then drops you into disgust-that is the truth about gravity.

Shit, that is the truth about love.” She looked closer. “They look like roaches down there.” Remembering, what you don't want, always sticks around. “Why does the law of attraction, work bass-ackwards?” The roof door banged open, jump-starting Aida’s legs. She scrambled further down the ledge, away from, and out of sight of Anton, who moved with scattering quickness, searching for her.

Anton, “The Butcher”, his moniker among men.” The Wife Butcher,” as he was known to what he called the lesser, opposite of the sexes, because they bleed out what should be private-suffered from the cowardice of men; a pulsating belief, he created humanity, was intellectually superior, not from original thought, but through, following histories leaders, even failures, figuring- a new age, a new day, a new outcome.

He thought, “Win, make them remember your name, and the most important, strike fear.” He believed this was more powerful than love, it could not be mistaken, given away, or stolen.

Anton saw Aida, and felt a frightening pain. The pain of losing to a woman. He ran, leaping strides toward, undecided, whether to push or grab her. She jumped. He stumbled, caught himself on the brick ledge, banged his fist, to punish and blame, hoping a piece would loosen, so he could hit her with it on the way down, quickening her death, but most importantly- provide the finishing touch.

Death, unfulfilled life, is supposed to bring worry, flashing with images of regret as you avoid blinking, to catch, and hold onto every fleeting last image.

But, Anton’s disappointment comforted Aida. It was a rekindling of romance with her heart breaker. After suffering, surviving, payment for their life together, Aida, felt the hope of a victim, dreaming a villains revenge. The revenge of seducing Anton’s, brother, uncles, friends, business partners. Secretly taping her, and his affairs, leaving behind recordings as gifts, for all to see, and secretly aborting their child.

Before she hit the ground, Aida woke up gasping for air. She looked over at Anton, sleeping peacefully, as if time was his mistress. He would wake up satisfied from yesterday’s infidelity, knowing today brought opportunity for more.

Aida slid out of bed, careful not to wake him. She peeked through the blinds glimpsing freedom, which to her was like fire- an un-controllable danger. She had never allowed herself to get close. This morning, she moved towards it, feeling a comforting warmth, bubbling to a love melting heat; blinding Anton to her new truth.

During the day, Aida manipulated his pain; peeing in his beer, placing menstrual blood in his bloody Mary’s, putting crushed Viagra in his drinks, then going out for lunch dates and ice cream, where parents, children, and teens stared in disgust. At night, Aida tenderized his flesh with exhausting sex, serving a life, a love, she knew would bring death.

-AM

I write to breath. I write to give. I write for happiness.

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