he had called her naked

Krystal gripped the corners of the paper towel in her fist. The weight of the strawberries pressed little red kisses, dappling the white towel. Frozen strawberries were the only food she could stomach when she was this hungover.

As she rounded the street corner she clutched her purse tighter into her ribs, patent leather stuck to her bare torso. He had called her “naked” pointed a short finger at her exposed flesh. “No one would ever want to touch you.” His nose met her  forehead as he kissed her sweat soaked hair line. “Tell me you want something more than…” The finger prodded at her stomach. “Never mind.”

But he was gone now. A slammed fist through a window pane, but it was plastic. His knuckles pressed puckers into the the fake window. It latched lifeless onto the doorframe of his old Wrangler, his only gift from his departed mother.

As she rounded the corner the street opened up from a neighborhood into a highway. Street lights flooded her eyes, she blinked but the lights faded into green orbs that dotted her vision. The window lay in the street, glued to a vinyl doorframe, outlined with a long zipper.

She wondered why he left it. Her eyes traced the light as it curved over the dented plastic, bowed over what she wished was ruptured glass. She was more than crumpled plastic. She was shattered windows and nails in a white oak coffin. Yet, she couldn’t move past the door. Standing there on the sidewalk, hovering over the door she was on the verge of crossing the street, finding her car, and tearing off after him.

And yet she stood, stuck on a curb with a paper towel full of thawed strawberries. The stench of a baby blue robins egg hung in the air. She slid her thumb left right over her bare stomach. “You’re going to be more than anything I could ever be.”

-B McKee


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