Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 17

He’d always been a risk taker, a man of charm and chance. If there were a soul to be saved or damned, he’d see it done.

He was a tall man.

A proud man.

No one else saw him that way, of course, but what did it matter? I would think as I watched him stuff a paper flower into his lapel and smooth out his eyebrows with a bit of spit and spirit. All the ladies in the lace push-ups loved him. He’d smoke cigars, wink a lot, and buy everyone rounds of drinks. He laughed and laughed and laughed, the Bible pushing tin against the inside of his jacket, but when he came home, he’d just sit a spell and cry, slumped over the rickety kitchen table with his suspenders hanging loose at his elbows. After he fell asleep, I’d steal into his room and take the paper flower from his lapel. I took every single one until they filled an entire shoebox, which I kept hidden under my bed. They smelled like him. Not the booze or the shoe polish or the grease he put in his hair. They smelled like dirt and old paper, like the psalm books we sang to on Sundays before the freaks, before the whores . . . before the dust storms left us behind.

When she isn't writing, Cheryl Anne Gardner likes to chase marbles on a glass floor, eat lint, play with sharp objects, and make taxidermy dioramas with dead flies. She writes art-house novellas and abstract flash fiction, some published, some not.