Word Count: 476
It tasted like hot kisses and warm touches. Long after she swallowed, she could still taste the warmth: sweet, tart, fire, memory.
She wasn’t supposed to patronize with the guests, but he was shelling out cash and she was lonely. She looked a question to the bartender, her boss, her keeper, and he tipped his head with a curt bow. His eyes were smiling and that was good; George approved of the monthly regular gentleman who brought her flowers and small boxes of candy, the man who tipped his hat and pulled out her stool. One night after a show, he even kissed her on the cheek. He had a room at The Gotham. They walked the few blocks to have dinner and before too many evenings, she was in his room, kisses and touches, frantic and tender, warm and wet. She woke up tangled in his legs and with his cologne in her hair.
Whispers are cruel, and they carried rumors of dancers in other clubs in other cities. When he arrived back into town, he was evasive and closed. Mary couldn’t have that. She sought out the girl who was older than her looks let on, yet wise enough to be a legend, and asked for a little something to keep him close. What the woman asked Mary to do was indecent and very personal, but she agreed with a blush. She disappeared into the bathroom and returned with a handkerchief scented with her musk. The girl told Mary to bring her beau for drinks and she would have what she wanted.
In the evening, in that bar, the Cat Dragged Inn, the girl was clear – the drink on the right was for Mary: a simple Whisky Sour. The drink on the left was for him: the sugar so he always returned; the lemon to cleanse his mind of all other women; the cinnamon to make his love for her burn for eternity; and ginger to make her linger in his mind no matter where he was.
She looked up and she saw a man who would always travel and find a woman to keep him warm no matter where he was. She did not see a man for Mary. She knew it and it broke her heart.
Mary ran from the bar and into the streets. When the headlights cut too close she ducked into a graveyard and hid among the stones. The moon was bright and she walked, following the sound of water until she came upon the creek. Hot and thirsty, she kneeled down and leaned over the calm pool, the wet grass soaking her dress. In the water she saw the only person who would ever love her. Mary smiled and the woman in the water smiled. Her lips brushed the surface.
Erie Tales III: Tales of the Apocalypse/Resurrection Mary, GLAHW, 2011
Erie Tales: Omnibus (Volume 1), GLAHW, 2013
© 2011 MontiLee Stormer
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