Nothing observed or overheard. Just a sentence that came into my head while, of all things, I was peeing: I will build you a mountain. This was really more like 15 minutes and not five, and maybe it is the early scraps of some story to come. But hell, maybe so are any of these five minute writings.
I will build you a mountain.
That’s a lie, and you know it is a lie. But when he says these words, avalanche inside your heart, your gut. Part of you just crumbles away. And you know you will never get it back, no matter how you cling. The hopeful part of you that is stuck in 8th grade reading Seventeen Magazine and wishing before bed each night that Peter Lucien will finally notice you. When are you going to be worthy? Thirty-six. How old do you need to be?
Damn it. It is under a tent with a sky screen, beneath a bed of stars, looking up. Pack of cayotes howling in the distance. Equally relaxed and on edge, listening for the sound of bears, even in your sleep. You should have picked a spot further from the water, further from this cluster of evergreens. This is when, this is where, he speaks these magic spells. Always. He is a bear, right beside you. If you would wake up.
He will never love you like this when you are someplace real. Wyoming is not real.
At home, in the bar in Lafayette, there will always be women. Prettier than you. Younger. The ones who are shorter than he, the ones whose waists synch inward and whose hips blossom outward underneath house dresses from 1950. They bought them in a thrift shop down the way. They paint on shocking red lipstick, brush loose translucent powder over soft pale faces. And that is all the make-up they need. They twirl, swirl, whirl. From stage, a fiddle player winks at them while they move. Singer croons like he is singing love songs in French only to them. Triangle pings every so often, hurts your ears. Even you would kiss those puffed lips. Even you.
He does it all the time. Every kiss, you crumble a little more.
You don’t want to know how many there are. How many middle-of-the-nights, when he stumbles home to you, he’s been kissing some 24-year-old first. He is drunk. You pretend he is picturing you when he’s kissing them. You have to believe this.