“I used to live next door to a house rented out to college students, and while they were actually mostly very nice, the near-nightly, all-summer-long, ’til 3am outdoor bonfire & bongo parties when I had infant twins trying to sleep definitely was not my favorite thing about being neighbors. This story was written one of those nights.”
House Party Blues
by Suzanne Palmer
He settles into the house like a new layer of skin, this fresh shell with room to grow and thrive, for a little while. He makes the pipes in the walls sing with his own heartbeat, dresses himself in the wallpaper, clothes himself in rug and woodwork, adorns himself with knicknacks and old family photos full of forced, unconvincing smiles. A husband, a wife, arms around each other, but space evident between.
The husband: beginnings of a beard in one, clean-shaven elsewhere, eyes dark, smile thin. Nowhere does it say wife-beater, but so he is, and those memories taste of beer and blood.
The wife: always in something floral, often long-sleeved, even at the beach, at the park. Leaning towards her husband, as if to try to draw him in turn towards her. That age-old myth told to women: if you love him enough, if you are a good enough wife, he will stop hitting you. He is surprised by the fury in her now; after all she put up with, the bruises and black eyes and broken bones, she never got to see her husband redeemed, her own sacrifices cashed in at last, and she is enraged.
No children; it made taking the house easier. It is not a place stained by laughter or joy. (Continue Reading…)