“But now,” she said, “now you come to me and tell me you’re pregnant.” “I didn’t fuck him.” “Obviously you did.” “He fucked me,” I said. “Right.” “I’m telling you…” “I’m telling you,” she said. “Somehow, somewhere, you fucked someone and now you want me…you want me to take you back. You and a baby.” “I was thinking adoption,” I said. “I was thinking abortion.” “I can’t.” “You can’t?” “No.” “What do you want from me?” “I don’t know.” “So, you’re not going to tell me his name?” “I’ve told you his name.” “Bullshit.” “Tayla…” “I don’t know what to do.” “Stay.” “I don’t know.” “Please.” “We’ll see.”
Almost a Victim I sat on the floor and I stared out the window at the trees on the other side of the glass. Sometimes, a car would come around the corner. The lights would push through the shades, painting skeletal lines on the walls. There were faces here. They snarled and snapped, and I shivered. Purple strings arced into a ceiling shot through with the sickly greens and yellows of old bruises. I needed to puke. I needed to do something. I had to move. I walked. Dark windows. Moths fluttered in the shadows. I walked and smoked, and I waited to die. My voices told me that the next corner would be a crime scene. They told me that on the next corner, I would die. I pushed forward anyway. If I were to die now, all the grief would evaporate, all the questions would be answered. When I got to the corner, I waited. No one came. A cat stopped in the middle of the street and stared at me. I lit a cigarette. I watched the fire. In an hour, the sun would be up. In an hour, Tayla would open her eyes and she would stare at me and she would say nothing. Silence, heavy and thick and dark, would stand between us. I turned away. I started home, upset with my voices for lying about my death. A car careened over the curb, screeching to a stop. A tire blew. Metal sparked against the concrete. The world flashed white and blue. My heart jumped. Had I waited ten seconds, the car would’ve crushed me. Had I waited ten seconds, the voices would have been right. It was how things worked in my life, ten seconds off, ten seconds between being a victim and a witness.