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from The Kiss by Shirley Holder Platt

Copyright © 2020–2021 Shirley Holder Platt

Orange Sky, Blue Hair

“I’d like to fall into that sky,” she said. Her head was on my shoulder as we watched the sun sink into the water. The clouds were that color orange that can’t be realistically recreated on a canvas. The reflection on the water so vivid as to seem unreal. It was as if we were on another planet. Far away from all our earthly cares for that one peaceful moment. She tilted her head to the side, and I bent to kiss her lips. Soft and welcoming, she accepted me as she always had. I wished I felt the way I always had. My mind raced back to the morning. It began like most days. Stretch, yawn, peck on the lips, piss, shower, shave, toast, black coffee, run for the bus. I made it to work in time to get my butt chewed out by my boss. Don’t remember what I’d done. He starts every day that way. I stopped listening a long time ago. My inbox overflowed with messages from people who thought their request was the only one I’d get that day. I plowed into the mess that was my job while downing copious amounts of scalding black coffee that tasted like tar and burned my tongue.

“How’s your day going?” she asked. She called everyday at noon. That’s when the preschoolers went to lunch, and she had time for a break and a quick sandwich in the teacher’s lounge.

“Hectic. The usual,” I said. I barely registered the conversation. We’d had it so many times.

“Sorry. Can we talk about something tonight?” she asked.

“Sure. Anything.” That was different. We’d been married three years. Three long, monotonous years. Nothing changed. We never veered off course. Sometimes, I entertained the idea of slitting my wrists. I’d tell her I’d be in the bath. I’d fill the tub with hot water, soothe my aching muscles until I was loose and got that free-floating feel I get sometimes in our huge spa bath. Then I’d slide the razor up the vein in my left arm ever so quickly. Before I grew weak, I’d pull the drain plug. My life and the water would drain out together. I imagined the pink water flowing into the city’s reclamation ponds. No...

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