Fiction by H. Tucker Rosebrock
There is a mature, musky smell to Louis and when I sit on him, I think of how the dust that breathes out of him is nothing but dead-skin cells; how they slough off of us in such great numbers they collect in a visible film we can feel with our fingertips. Louis is antique, so when he exhales in ancient puffs, I think of the secrets hidden in the cells of those who sat here before me. I think of history and histrionics, letting my fingers explore his fabric and drink in his soft, worn velvet. His cushions always cave to cup the supple curve of my buttocks and I breathe him in.
I’m sorry for doing this to you. It must be hard to hear, but you must have known now for some time? I can’t imagine this is coming as a surprise. Our emotional distance was growing equal to our physical one and we owe it to ourselves to be honest, we both knew long distance wasn’t going to work from the start. It never does. There have been countless Hollywood blockbusters made from this premise. We were foolish to think we were different.
But isn’t that just who we have always been, my Monsieur Eiffel? When we fell in love on that spring day in Paris. I remember the first time I saw you, standing tall and magnificent, towering above every one of us who flocked around your thick iron legs. Lost in that sea of humanity, I stood near your northwest corner and let my fingers explore the dark crevices between your rods and I knew then, when I touched you there, that mine were the first fingerprints to smear this dust in decades.
Since that day, I have carried your heart; I carry it with me: nuts and bolts in my pockets that press against my thigh when I sit and leave deep purple indents in my skin. It’s started to hurt of late, as I have been hurt by other men (siblings and husbands) long before you. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
Time is cruel and while you are ageless, timeless, and not a day over your centennial, I have grown old and tired and cannot make these trips. I met my Louis window-shopping on one such vacation. When I saw him through the plate glass, I suddenly felt how old and tired I was, how I longed to settle down and in for the days ahead. Louis can offer me that ornate simplicity and comfort while you, regrettably, cannot. The joy and relief I felt when I stepped out of the cab from the airport and saw him leaning against my doorframe was immeasurable and that was when I knew it was over.
We have always been doomed lovers, star-crossed against continents and consciousness. Even now, as I run my fingers over your photo, I can feel only the cold glass pane that separates us. We cannot live this lie any longer.
Au revoir, mon petit chou. Tu vas me manquer.
H. Tucker Rosebrock is a part-time super hero currently pursuing his MFA in Fiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A resident of South Boston, his other work has been published in The Wellesley Review and Interrupt Mag.
Featured Image photograph by E.B. Bartels, www.ebbartels.com.