Last night in my apartment, I heard Natasha through the thin walls, “Nyet! Nyet!” Today I stare at her black eye when we have wine, whiskey and cheese as we do every month.
“You like my wife?” Alexi asks.
Natasha was wet-eyed like a puppy behind the glass of a pet store and he was the first man that wanted to take her home after high school. A month later they were in Florida, a place where the screen door blew off after each storm. Twenty years of fighting later she works an old drill and a can of putty, rigging the damned thing back into place until next time. Her life is the surrendering sunset, sinking and falling into the ocean.
I pretend I didn’t hear Alexi. “Bring me more wine,” he barks to Natasha. As he waits he stuffs two cubes of cheese into his mouth. I decide I’m not going to stand completely still. Her lip begins to quiver the same way it does when she comes against my mouth. Alexi breaks his wine glass against the counter. He charges and my feet stay planted.
Timothy Gager is the author of seven books of fiction and poetry. He lives on www.timothygager.com.