map Crystal

by Shane Adair

Published in Issue No. 246 ~ November, 2017

We drank every day. We took any drug we could get our hands on. We had sex wherever we wanted and never once were we ashamed of someone seeing us. We hated ourselves at times. She cut her wrists, and we both thought of suicide, and we both couldn’t trust ourselves let alone anyone else. We woke with rug burns, rashes and headaches. We woke without knowing what happened the night before and little did we care if we ever found out. We knew we weren’t meant to be together and this did little to stop us. My “friends” told me to kick her out of my apartment because she slept with whomever she wanted but I never once thought I could control her. Nor did I want to.

She cried often. Her beauty was masked by the dark make-up caked upon her face. When she cried, it ran down her cheeks. She cleaned as if her life depended on it, and there was always a hot meal waiting for me when I got home, and we smoked cigarettes and watched anime with her dead roses as a backdrop to the darkness. I only had sex with her once when I was sober, and I came way too quick and apologized, but she said it was okay. Her dirty hippie friend had brought her to the island and she and her dog Ziggy Stardust were lying on the floor beside us. Ziggy was white-haired with one blue eye and one red.

She wore whatever she wanted, and often that was little to nothing. Underwear felt like probation. We walked to the beach holding hands with a picnic basket and a bottle of tequila in the morning. She had on some see-through panties and a bra. We held hands like school children and walked down Main Street for everyone to see. I was being led like a dog. We would sit on the beach and listen to Lake Superior. The cold, clean water would curl and break into the shore. She would sit and read while I would write and draw and read. She would straddle me underneath the water, and the white church could be seen across Main Street. When we walked back, I had to tuck my hard-on into the waistband of my suit and wrap a towel around me. She told me her stepfather had molested her and that her mom didn’t believe her. At the strip club she worked at in her hometown, she told me I better not fuck any of the other strippers as I sat back and became a puddle. Greyhounds were going down as easy as they ever have. She told me I better not sleep with her best friend, a small Cambodian girl. She told me I better not sleep with the dirty hippie who drove me from Janesville back to the island while I feared for my life. The dirty hippy often said I looked like Andy Warhol, or was it that I reminded her of him?

We missed the ferry, so we slept on the shore in Bayfield. The sound of the water hypnotized me and made me believe kids were throwing rocks at me and they were landing in the water like bombs trying to hit a destroyer. They sounded like large rocks by the way they catapulted the water up. It was like doing a bottle cap or a cannonball when we were children.

I also believed the cuts upon her wrist were not real cuts. I would come home and hear “I hurt myself today” on the cd player and see candles burning and she was using a safety pin and a lighter to tattoo herself.

I got a urinary tract infection, and my friend who was a drunk from Michigan told me I had the clap, and I needed penicillin, but I knew I was allergic to penicillin. He used words like hoser and eh. He told me he once got the clap from this prostitute twice in a week and had to go to the same doctor twice to get the shots. I didn’t care that I was on antibiotics and continued to drink every day like I always did. I ended up ordering a natural remedy and to this day if I have to pee and don’t pee before ejaculating then it feels similar to that urinary tract infection. Many years later I got tested because I was still paranoid I still had it.

In the springtime, Jason had called it spring love. He told me that the more I worked, the more she would like me. He said women liked a working man but she wasn’t really a woman nor was I a man. She missed her period, and I became okay with it. I could become a truck driver and be abusive. Or we could abuse each other in different ways.

I never tried to contact her, but I often think of how I dangled her over the railing in the bell tower while standing on my tippy toes and trying to thrust. I think of lying on top of her near the path that led from the bar to the motel. It was in the heat of things and customers were walking along the path to get back to their rooms. I remember looking back over my shoulder and making eye contact. Neither of us said anything or moved, and then we continued.

Her father came to the island and picked her up. The ferry became smaller the closer it got to the mainland. And when it docked they drove off the ferry and continued south. The way she showed up she left.


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Shane Adair is a writer who lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, toddler and two cats. Currently he is a homemaker and writing when he can .