A woman who claimed to be a chimera called the library most Tuesdays, on the old line they never got around to disconnecting after the renovations. The call went straight to a yellowed phone hung on... [+]
I see him. He is across the classroom, always smiling, never dull. One glance my way and my throat constricts, almost choking. I can’t face him. There is a beam of heavenly light wherever he goes. When people step into his reach, they are baptized with purity; when they leave, they reenter the land of the shadow- the sinful- the mortals. His eyes are warm, tender, full of love. My eyes- yearning and glassed over from 3 years of agonizing lust. With just his hearty laugh, comfort washes over me, however, fleeting.
I have to face him.
Hesitantly, I shuffle to his side. One step. My heart is clawing its way out of my chest. Another. My legs are stiff yet weak. A few more. Uninvited tears start welling up inside of me, but I hold them back. I am strong. Step. My mouth is coarse, roughened by sandpaper. Step. A waging battle starts: my thoughts clashing against each other. Turn back. It won’t happen. Keep going. I have hope. Step. My hands curl into two balled fists and tighten until my knuckles burn white. I don’t notice. Step. I feel my mind being cleansed of the drab, bleak thoughts. My body flushes like a radiator turned on, but I know it’s not from the blood rush. I edge nearer to him. Step. We lock eyes. I stop- frozen. My whole body wishes to lurch back, but I stay against the roar that is my trillions of nerve cells all shouting one word: “Abort.” I stay. I stay because someone took two iron stakes and hammered my feet through the cement tiles. I stay as my gut plummets down to bedrock; my stomach- two cupped palms with a hole burned through. I stay as my machine gun heart rapid fires, tearing through clips and clips overflowing with shells, permeating the deafening silence, and threatening to induce a stroke.
He looks at me- questioning. He can do no harm. I stare at him- pleading. My mouth- cracked and arid- part just enough to breathe, “I like you.”