A Burning Thing
Love in the Free World
Chapter One - The Free and the Brave
He sat on the porch, twirling a wooden match between his fingers like a tiny baton. The cars passed by on The Boulevard with a sweet hiss in the just-cool night time air. He could hear the television in the downstairs apartment. A trumpet played a fanfare and a number of people clapped and cheered. It was either a game show or a war movie.
Chapter Two - A Woman's Prerogative
Like the night before - and the night before that - she was already in her pajamas by 9:30, the slight burn beneath the blinking lids of her eyes like a sharp little voice admonishing her to get to bed even a few minutes earlier tonight. She had to be up by 5 to catch the bus by 6 to make it to her stop by 6:30 to cross the street at Mag and West by 6:45 to get to the University by 7; at which point she would stop into the Student Union and order a small orange juice to drink with the perpetual cereal bars she pulled from her purse like magician's rabbits. She'd read the latest movie review in the paper and see if she could complete the crossword before heading to teach her class at 8. She had finished the whole puzzle just yesterday.
Chapter Three - Me and the Blues
The Kid got up late. He had a way of getting off his schedule. This was mostly due to the fact that there was no schedule to keep. Not really. Ever since the surgery, he had been at home - mostly in his room - mostly moving his head like a squirrel peaking out of a hole - fast jerky glances from side to side - as if "looking at things faster" would somehow compensate for the fact that his eyes really didn't work anymore. He glanced quickly to his left as he accidentally knocked his water over into his pill bottles. The entire TV tray crashed, the little blue capsules swelling and softening in the clear wet between the shards.
Chapter Four - Angels with Dirty Faces
As usual, the music was too loud. She was yelling something in his ear but he couldn't hear her. He yelled back, but she couldn't understand. He stepped away from her and took her by the shoulders, squaring her to himself and looking directly at her face.
"What?" He mouthed it exaggeratedly hoping she could read his lips. She smiled, closed her eyes and licked her lips as she inhaled - as if she was about to jump from a high dive. She exhaled and smiled and grabbed his elbows with her small hands, gently moving them in rhythm with her mouthings.
"I adore you."
Chapter 5 - Follow Apollo
The next day the sun rose and the sun set, and everyone was quite sure it would continue for some time.
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