unrequited

“Say that you love me. Go on, I dare you.”

The knifepoint dug a little deeper, hinting at the future meeting between it and my jugular. I swallowed and thought I’d just opened the door for that inevitable kiss and spill of my blood, but I couldn’t help it. Bile was rising and it was that or gag and risk worse.

“Say it.”

What do you so when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place? Come on, you guys, I need to know. Do I say it or not, because right now, it feels like I’m dead either way.

“I lo—“

The giant of a man pulled the knife away but not before nicking my neck. He licked the drop of blood that welled there then kissed me full on the mouth. I could taste the copper of my life on his lips. He pulled back with a grin plastered on his god awful handsome face. “I was just fuckin’ with you, brah. I would’na sliced you like that unless you’d had good reason. And you lovin’ me ain’t reason enough to get blood on my new jacket.”

Inside my head I was screaming out you motherfucking asshole shit for brains what the actual fuck were you thinking putting a knife to my neck you could’ve killed me but I took a deep shuddering breath, told my bladder it could hold it once more, and held my hands up in supplication. “You got me, again, Sal. You always do. Always have. What d’ya need today?” Rubbing my hands along my pants legs to dry the clamminess, I shuffled a step in the opposite direction, putting as much space as possible between myself and Sal without him thinking I was running. I didn’t want him thinking I was prey.

“Well, you see, I got this idea in my head and it wouldn’t go away. So I came to the one person who I thought could help me out with it, and voila, here I am.”

Watching Sal flip his big ass knife between hilt and blade one-handed, I was mesmerized and didn’t really catch what he was saying. Or the glint in his eye as he was saying it.

“mmmhmm”

“I said to myself, Sal, you’ve known each other for over twenty years now and he’s always been there for you. Every day. Even when he was sick or working or whatever.”

Flip-Flip-Flip of the knife.

“Ye—yeah Sal, always been there.”

Flip-Flip-Flip of the knife.

Sal stepped closer to me yet I stayed rooted to the floor. “You know, I don’t think you’re payin’ any attention to me.”

Flip-Flip-Flip of the knife.

“Yeah Sal. Whatever you say, I’m with you.” The knife flips had me entranced. Who am I kidding here, fear has me paralyzed and I’m afraid I’ll either piss my pants or vomit if I unclench my core muscles.

Sal stepped closer until I could feel the brush of the outrageously fluffy faux fur trim of his jacket against my chest. “In fact, I think you were going to lie to me earlier when you were gonna say that you loved me.”

Yeah, I stopped breathing. And Sal had stopped flipping his knife.

Sal leaned down just enough so I could feel the breath of his words across my cheek as much as I heard them. “I don’t think you’ve ever loved me like I loved you and that, brah, that kind of betrayal is not something I can let you live with. So I’m gonna help you out with your problem. Ease your mind of your troubles. No worries, alright? I got your back.”

And with that, I was caught between a rock and a hard place, between Sal and his knife sliding deep in my back and then across my neck.

No, I never loved him. Who loves their life-long tormentor?

 

c.2017 Deidre Meyrick

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