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Tara

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Oct. 29th, 2011 | 04:36 pm

(I am in a writing contest - this is the second entry)



The fan is on the dresser. His mail is on the floor. Tara is on top. His hands are gripping each hip like a pair of octopuses (octopi? she wonders, am I smarter than a fifth grader?). It’s not her first choice, but necessary, and better than missionary.
 
He greeted her at the door with a note. She wonders now if it’s the same note every time, if he reuses it or writes a new one.
 
Please look straight at me when you talk, but you don’t have to slow down or talk loud, just speak normally.
 
His hands were like butterflies, sketching the air so beautifully she almost understood, but handed him the pencil anyway. Each time he silently thrusts into her, she dubs his voice in her head, amusing herself by giving him accents, or a particularly high or low voice.
 
His mouth is knit shut but his hands are stars—the sign he makes, she knows. He presses it into her breast and her belly, as if he could send the words inside her, too, through her “little extra” (“Tara’s got a little extra in all the right places, I know you’ll love her,” so deftly phrased and yet humiliating when waiting for a caller to say yes, yes to rent and savings and crème brulee at Sorrel). The knuckles pushing into her stomach start to hurt, and she takes his hand away, smiling, and strokes his arm. He takes her hand, spreads her fingers with his and tries to make her make the sign.
 
Learning the words in fifty different languages in grade three, Mrs. Bradshaw unveiling her surprise on the last day of school, “This one I know you all can do—and I know you will know it the rest of your life! And guess what? This one gesture means all three words! Can you all do it?”
 
They could. She won’t.
 
Everyone has a boundary and this one is the fence Tara rides every month, coyotes out, cattle in, her dad still calls cheerfully at the early darkness of late October, the last day he'll ride out before the snows come and it’s a tractor job. You have to have something, she thinks, something you won’t do, no matter how much. Something you still own.
 
His hands are like knives, he wants her to say it, he’s pushing her fingers, trying to fold down the two in the middle, and when she makes a fist like a stone he pries her pinky until it bends back and she punches him hard in the nose with her other hand, her strong southpaw arm straight down, punching through and not to, like you’re aiming for the back of his skull, sweetheart, and he will take his hands right off you. Then run.
 
Tara does not run. She reaches between her legs and holds the base of the condom around him, his penis now a Grinch’s heart, two sizes too small. His hands are on his face, the blood is running out between his fingers.
 
She washes her hands and puts her skirt and blouse back on, in the bathroom, fairly quickly.
 
There is a high keening, at first she thinks the air conditioner has broken, and then she sees his mouth open, his chest heaving each time he gulps and resets, the sound coming in waves. His hands are balls, his eyes puckered. Tara crosses to the dresser, glances at the fan, easy to count, snaps it shut, squares the bills, puts them in her purse. He is still keening, high and thin and slightly broken, the harmonica from the bottom of her brother’s toy chest. As she shuts the door, she turns the handle, slows the closing to make no shudder in the wall.
 
She crosses the lobby, smiling impersonally at the concierge, I was here to see a friend, you are the help, and steps into the sun, blind until she roots out her probably-real-Chanels. Sonchai is across the street, her driver’s rock-star parking karma attributed by himself to excellent behavior in a previous life. She catches his eye and waves.
 
 


whipchick's favorite creme brulee is the cucumber version at The Admiral in Asheville - a place that looks like they fix transmissions during the day and serve food at night, but is nevertheless amazing. Try the arugula/roquefort/hazelnut/apple salad.
 

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Comments {55}

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the middle of the road's fine with no cars around

(no subject)

from: noodledays
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 12:36 am (UTC)
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gripping story!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Looking forward to reading yours :)

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shimmerdream

(no subject)

from: shimmerdream
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
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Wow, this is really powerful.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
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Thank you.

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from_the_pit

(no subject)

from: from_the_pit
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 06:01 am (UTC)
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This was so powerful!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
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Thanks - it was really calling me to write it.

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With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

(no subject)

from: lilycobalt
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
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I loved your metaphors here and your take on the topic. Good job!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:51 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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(no subject)

from: faerie_spark
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
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First of all: cucumber creme brulee? Am I reading that correctly?

Fabulous story!!! I love how the context slowly unfolds with the story. The idea that he thought she would just think he was playing, not knowing that he was trying to make her say "I love you", is genius. I'm a huge fan of positive, empowered stories about sex workers, too.

Nice job. Really enjoying your writing.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
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Yes on the brulee - I was dubious, but it had pureed cucumber in the mix, which didn't taste like cucumber, it just gave the whole brulee a lightness and a clean taste that was delicious!

Thanks - I'm glad you liked it! I'm enjoying reading you, too :)

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tigrkittn

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from: tigrkittn
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
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"You have to have something, she thinks, ... Something you still own."

Loooove that. Love the way you unfolded bits of context throughout - riveting.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:53 am (UTC)
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Thanks - I'm especially glad to hear that you got bits of context throughout, I was trying for that, and sometimes I'm merely unclear :)

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Andrea Blythe

(no subject)

from: blythe025
date: Oct. 30th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
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Holy crap! This was fantastic. I was captivated from the start.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
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Thank you - I'm so glad you found it engaging!

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deviantnextdoor

(no subject)

from: deviantnextdoor
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
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i like this very much

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

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nodressrehersal

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from: nodressrehersal
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 02:27 am (UTC)
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Sweetjeezus, that was a good read!

One little observation -my eyes stumbled over the order of the wording in sentence: "She washes her hands and puts her skirt and blouse back on, in the bathroom, fairly quickly."

It seems like it would flow more smoothly if you moved "in the bathroom" up to the front, after "she washes her hands"...


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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 08:54 am (UTC)
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Thanks, both for letting me know you enjoyed it, and for the feedback - yeah, I think you're right :)

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I spent a fair amount of time agonizing over what items belonged in that sentence, so I'm really glad you picked it out as working!

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Kat

(no subject)

from: kittyfaelis
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
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This was very captivating and intense. And I really enjoyed the little personal comments and looks into the characters head.
Definitely something I'll have to reread to get all the aspects.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Thank you :) BTW, I'm impressed that you're writing in English so well - how long have you been studying the language?

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Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.

(no subject)

from: n3m3sis42
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
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This was so cool! I really enjoyed it.

Cucumber creme brûlée sounds delicious! Now I have to go to Asheville. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! Yeah, it's tasty! And Asheville is a foodie paradise - lots of great places, and I don't think I've ever had a bad meal there.

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basric

(no subject)

from: basric
date: Oct. 31st, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
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Sad but intriguing, I enjoyed,

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, glad to hear it.

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The Monster Under Your Bed

(no subject)

from: sorchawench
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 03:07 am (UTC)
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Fantastic story!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! And your mousie makes me happy when I see it!

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Snark

(no subject)

from: snarkerdoodle
date: Nov. 1st, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
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Such a strong character -- you create her very clearly and well! :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 3rd, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
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Thank you - I rarely write fiction, so I'm glad she came through!

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