mad red clouds


“Holly, you really should give them a chance.”

“God, Danny, you know I hate it when you set me up.”

“Come on, let’s go. You’ll thank me for it.”

He gently squeezed my arms, reached for his discarded leather jacket while pirhouetting his knit gray scarf upon his neck and then handed me my classic butter cream. A glance at the time and we left a few minutes later. I regretted going as soon as we stepped out the door and onto the slick brick myriad sidewalk. My tights, constricting and itchy, confined me building an inner tension that continued to grow and build up breaking bones, breaking me.

“Dammit, Danny, why am I in these tights again? I feel like I can’t breathe.”

“Uh, babygirl, so you can show off your legs – and you know it’s not the tights.”

“I know. I just want to be in some jeans and a tee at home curled up with hot cocoa. I don’t want to see people, Danny.”

He grabbed my hand and sighed, pulling me into him under the night sky. My head nuzzled into his scarf, the gray ever reminiscent of the spanish moss of home, I closed my eyes and breathed, letting go of the tension and the nerves and all the memories. A kiss on the forehead and a cigarette at my lips; he always knew what I needed before I did.

“God, you really are my best friend, aren’t you?”

“Here. We’ll sit down and you can smoke. When you’re ready we’ll go in okay. No rush.”

“No rush.”

I squeezed his hand and sat down on the damp curb in front of the house. Danny followed suit, leaning in for a drag as he did so. His hair fell over his eyes like a shadow, but I could see his reassuring smile. We could hear the din of the party and embraced it, watching the cigarette smoke spin in the wind to the sound of smiles and love and open bottles. It felt alright, I supposed. I took a last drag and then held out my hands, going to lift him up like he did for me.

Walking through the door, we were surrounded by cacophonous vision with people all around, encircling us, leaning in and leaning away much like the passing of a merry-go-round. Danny grabbed my hand again, grounding me and swung me to the left pushing me forward before disappearing into the noise. Honeywood floors met four matching dusty boots. Matching – why? Boots turned into jeans and jeans into one flowing carmine shirt. Leaning into each other they smiled at me, buttercup blonde curls mingling with buttercup blonde. Two hands reached for mine, encircling them. Two hands on two arms connected to two shoulders. Only two. They smiled at each other out of the corner of their eyes. I could tell they were talking to me by the movement of their lips, but it was too much. They talked together, finishing each other’s sentences, breathing in sync. I pulled my hands away, excused myself, went home without a goodbye or a second thought.

I don’t remember the walk home, I don’t remember anything else from that night. I just remember what I felt. I would never have what they had; I could never be what they wanted. What could they possibly want from me – them, two souls perfectly contained in one, destined to live and die together forever without any promises or vows or doubts. I could never hope to be so perfect. I lost track of time, track of me, track of them. There was nothing that could be done.

Turning over in bed the next morning, there was no one there to greet me, and the solitude came rushing back, everything from the night before came pouring down on me. There were no sweet morning songs being sung, there was no one to greet me dressed in gorgeous blue and yellow. I went into the living room to find Danny quiet by the coffee table, and there they were, dressed in blue and yellow, stitched in blue and yellow, small and lifeless upon the table. Two finches sewn to make one, with two feet and two wings and two heads and two souls. Meant to live and die together.