Friday, December 5, 2008

The Look of Love, Take Two by Ben Tanzer

It is late. The sky is meringue. The dress is retro. The hair which is sometimes highlighted, and sometimes shaggy, is without bangs, and there are little pigtails bleached at the tips, wildly jutting out from each ear. She has a crooked nose and a crooked smile and she makes it work. She listens to The Sadies and reads George Eliot.

You warily move around each other at the office, almost stalking one another. Or do you? Maybe it’s all in your head.

Still, there are times when she looks right at you, through you, with longing and desire, both humored and intrigued.

Tonight she sits there on the bumper of a van outside some club where a work event has just gone down. Her eyes are half-open. Coin slots on the uneven plain of her face. She’s been drinking again.

“Sit down,” she says patting the spot on the bumper next to her.

“How’s it going?” you say as you take a seat.

“I need to stop,” she says laying her head on your shoulder.

“Why?” you say feeling the heat from her cheek burning a hole through your shirtsleeve.

“I have a problem.”

“Do you?”

“My husband says I do.”

“But do you think there’s a problem?”

“Yes, and I need to stop if I want to save the marriage.”

“And do you want to save it?”

“Yes, no, I don’t know,” she says briefly looking up at you.


Is that an invitation, or is that just defeat? Her head drops to her chest. It looks like defeat.

Ben Tanzer is the author of the novels Lucky Man (Manx Media, 2007) and Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine (Orange Alert Press, 2008) and the short story collection Repetition Patterns (CCLaP, 2008). He also blogs at This Blog Will Change Your Life, which is the centerpiece of his vast, albeit faux, media empire, and edits This Zine Will Change Your Life, which you should totally submit to. Cool?

2 comments:

Crys said...

Ben, I love this piece because I could see it unfold in my head. So clear and real and in just a brief few sentences, you captured one woman's pain.
Good work.

Ben said...

Thanks so much for the kind words and the interest, it is a thrill being associated with the zine.