It was Tuesday morning at eight when my alarm went off and I distinctly remember wondering what I was thinking when I’d decided to move away from all the coke heads I once knew. Yesterday’s travel kicked my ass and I could really use a pick-me-up. I drink coffee like my existence depends on it, so I knew it wasn’t going to do anything for my exhaustion. Still, I went directly into the kitchen to brew a cup.

I changed the cup in my Keurig and pushed the button. While my vanilla bean coffee was brewing I walked into the living room to open the front door. That’s when I noticed a package from Amazon on the ground beneath the mailbox. I always check the mail in the morning because it used to be like Christmas for me. It’s called “Drunk Priming,” and I used to do it often. I deleted the Amazon app months ago to save money when my bills stopped being divided. That’s why I was so confused at this unknown package’s arrival.

I shut the door blindly behind me as I starred at the package and moved towards the kitchen. It looked to be the shape of a book, but I had no clue who’d have sent it to me. This mystery was solved the second I opened the box. I’d preordered this book months ago. It was a sequel to one of the fantasy novels I’d started reading for commonality with my ex Tom. I don’t know why I always did things like that with the men I dated, but I always did. This was the first instance of Dunk Priming that brought me utter disgust, along with all of my previous relationship behaviors. Looking back, this should have happened decades ago, but I wasn’t this person then, so theres no way I could have seen what I see now.

It was worse after a relationship failed. The start of missing them created a fetish I was powerless to avoid. I spent two years eating KFC twice a week because an ex used to love it so much. I hated it while dating him, but I couldn’t get enough the second I decided to miss him. Today was not a day for missing Tom. I shoved the book in between the Hairy Potter boxed set and the Game of Thrones boxed set on the bottom shelf. I knew I had a purpose, and nothing would set me back.

I went back into the kitchen and pulled my coffee cup away from the Keurig. I sat down at the table and let the hot steam woft over my face. The soft vanilla smell was intoxicating, and the warmth was relaxing. After my excursions the day before, I was desperate for that moments simplicity.

Things got really bad with Tom a couple months back, so I called my Dad for a distraction. We hadn’t spoken in a long time, so this was the first I’d heard of my cousin’s girlfriend being pregnant. My Dad called me three days ago to inform me she was being induced on Monday. I’m always off Mondays and Tuesday’s, so I told my Dad I wanted to meet him there.

Kingsunday’s only two and a half hours from me. Her scheduled time was ten in the morning, so I left the house around seven. While driving I remember thinking how odd the situation was going to be. It was already odd enough showing up for the birth of my cousin’s son because I hadn’t seen him in over a decade. We had a rather awkward interaction as teenagers, and just stoped speaking. That wasn’t the strangest part.

The real creeper was my cousins choice of venues for this epic adventure. My cousin and his mom lived with our great-grandma when we were kids. My aunt was working midnights and my cousin was home alone. Our great-grandma had been out late playing Euchre with her friends. He was in the kitchen when she walked in the door. I guess she just froze there and couldn’t move. Can you imagine watching your grandma’s eyes glaze over as she vomits all over the floor?

She never recovered from that stroke. We all gathered around her at Kingsunday Memorial before they pulled the plug. I just didn’t understand why the hell he’d want to have his kid at that same hospital.

I regretted the decision to pop in the moment I set foot within that old familiar death-building. I regretted it even more after being trapped there for seven more hours. I’d decided to wander around to pass the time. I made it back to the waiting room at 4:37pm. When the elevator doors opened, my mom was standing there with a big dopey grin on her face. “It’s a boy,” she shouted as she hopped up and down. My mom always gets so excitable, and I’ve never really understood it. I looked at him for a few minutes, congratulated my cousin and his wife, and then I got the hell outa there.

Being in that hospital again rubbed me in all the wrong ways, so I stopped for some crab legs to cheer me up. I was exhausted when I finally made it home that night. I still felt that exhaustion sipping my vanilla bean coffee Tuesday morning, but I refused to let it infringe upon my plans.

I brought my coffee with me into the shower. I love sipping the warm liquid while I bathe, and the heat enhances it’s aroma. I took the time to blow dry my hair before heading into my bedroom.

I sat down at my vanity and did my makeup. Once I felt satisfied with my looks, I grabbed a pair of denim capris and a tank top. I noticed my jewelry box while I was fastening my bra. After pulling my tank top over my head, I grabbed the jewelry box down from my shelf and set it on the bed.

I got sentimental for a moment when I looked over jewelry purchased with ex’s. Lifting the top tray out, I snapped out of it. I grabbed the knife hidden beneath old cards before replacing the tray and putting the box back up on it’s shelf.

I went out to the garage and grabbed my hitter box bag, then I came in and selected a Stephen King book from my shelf. I crammed all of this, a bottle of Ibuprofen, deodorant, my phone, and my wallet into the biggest purse I owned. My car chirped as I hit the unlock button on my key fob before turning to lock my deadbolt. I remember feeling a strange sense of adrenaline as I pulled out of my driveway. I knew exactly what my tool kit was missing.

Target proved fruitful in completing my toolkit I found a large tote bag with enough space to fit everything I needed. I found a 3-pack of adorable notebooks, a planner, and set of pens that looked pretty cool. I also found a form fitting teal workout tank and a pair of spandex shorts for the gym. They were on sale, so they were definitely meant to be mine.

I went out to my car and pulled the tags off my new bag. I pulled the paper out of it and tore open my 3-pack of notebooks. I’d selected these because one would fit perfectly into the planner and be able to act as a bookmark. I opened the pack of pens and tucked one into the planner next to the notebook. I pulled my current read out of my old purse and stood it up next to the planner in my new bag. Then I began filling pockets with all of the other little items packed tightly in my much smaller purse.

I hooked up with this guy years ago, and he ended up dropping a five inch pocket knife under my bed. I pulled it out of my jewelry box that morning and sharpened the blade. The knife fit perfectly into a graffiti covered Ipsey bag I’d been using to conceal my hitter box. I put that bag into one of the side pockets of my newly completed toolkit.

I got real thirsty after assembling my bag of tricks, so I decided to head over to the Horn for a Diet Coke. I yell, “Hey hooker” to Deborah as I walk into the kitchen.

The fifty-seven year old waitress was standing around the corner of the doorway as I walked up. Deborah got her red hair colored and highlighted by the same chatty stylist every seven weeks. She wore it off the shoulder, parted down the center to frame her face and flipped out at the ends. “Hey cum guzzling road whore,” she shouted back at me as she shook her head from side to side to remove chunks of hair from her face.

“I think I wanna spend the day exploring a park,” I said. Deborah had been quite helpful in my quest for local thrift stores a while back, so it made sense to seek her advice today “Any suggestions?”

Deborah shook her head from side to side again, angled her head down, and peered at me for a moment. Her lips were pushed together tight with the strain of her contemplation. “Yes! Yes I do,” she said. “Take 74 East for a little ways, past Lincoln but before Danville. Gorgeous little park. Just gorgeous. I’ve taken the baby out there, and me and Shawn go out there to smoke sometimes. Ah hah.” She nodded her head and grinned as she chuckled out that last part. “It’s got a beautiful lake. And trails. Lots of trails. Beautiful.” I was always quite fond of Deborah’s openness with her stoner lifestyle.

I dropped some ice into the plastic togo cup I’d partially filled with diet soda. “What’s it called?” I asked as I fastened the lid.

After a couple of hair shifting head shakes, Deborah tilted down again to look at me over the rim of her glasses. “Homer Lake,” she said. “You’ll love it.”

I popped a straw into my togo cup. “Thanks doll face. You’re the absolute best,” I shouted before I walked out of the kitchen, past the bar, through the glass door into the foyer, and out to my car. I looked up Homer Lake on my phone and requested directions. After an enjoyable car ride, during which I sang every song playing on my preferred country station at the top of my lungs, I took a right into Homer Lake’s entrance. It took roughly eighteen minutes to get there.

It became pretty apparent Deborah knew what the hell she was talking about. The lake was beautiful, and there were multiple trails to choose from. I walked a lap around the lake to scope my surroundings before deciding to explore a trail marked by a very intriguing sign.

I walked the length of the trail, and at the end I decided to hike back through again. My second time around I noticed an opening within the trees leading into the woods. I inspected it for a moment before deciding the path was worth exploring. Batting away branches, I pushed through the overgrown trail. I was just thinking about heading back when I noticed a clearing in the woods. When I reached the opening in the trees, I discovered a three ledged rock cliff overlooking the lake. The rocks would have been too high to climb if it weren’t for the stairs created by those three ledges. I walked up them with ease and perched myself on the edge of the cliff with my feet dangling over the side. There were loose rocks scattered along the cliff which I began hurling into the lake one by one. The plop of the water as they fell gave me a strong satisfaction. I reached for a larger one but noticed a hole in the ledge before chucking this particular rock into the water.

I set the rock down next to the hole and got curious. I reached into the bag of goodies I’d packed and pulled out my graffiti bag. I packed the hitter twice before putting it back in it’s bag. Then I tested the size of the hole concealed by the rock. The bag fit perfectly and, with the rock back in it’s place, was completely covered.

With my graffiti bag and it’s contents completely hidden in that perfect spot, I laid back on the ledge and stared up at the sky. The hot humidity of the day was beginning to dissipate. It was only two in the afternoon, but the sky was getting dark. Enjoying the smell of the approaching rain, I got a massive craving for an Irish Latte.

Me and Tom were out exploring the downtown area one day in the spring. This was long before things went all to shit. We were walking down Neil when I noticed the most intriguing windows. The name of the establishment was printed on them in lowercased blue cursive lettering. They were circled in a blue rope design that gave it a country meets adorable feel. There were two of these blue printed windows on either side of the door-which was printed with the same design. Behind each window was a study nook.

There was a wooden table directly behind each window. The door lead through a walkway created by the walls forming these nooks. The nook side of the wall was fixed with a ledge which created one of the benches for the table. The opposite side was fitted with the same. I remember catching a glimpse and imagining the perfect fantasy.

I saw myself sitting at one of these benches with my head buried in a book. I’d be wearing the perfect outfit, my hair would be flawless as well as my makeup, and the love of my life would walk by. He’d catch a glimpse of me and stop dead in his tracks. Then he’d be forced to go in and introduce himself to me. “Can we go in there?” I squealed to Tom. The letters spelled out Aromatic Cafe’, and I was dying to check it out.

My ex was still willing to appease my desires at this point. “Sure,” he responded. Then he turned towards the handle and opened the door for me. He put his other arm out behind me as I walked past. I remember how special I’d felt as I walked by him with the biggest smile stamped across my face. Things got even better once we walked inside.

After walking through the doorway, there were three tables set with four chairs each. All three of them had checker boards printed on their left halves. My mind was going crazy with images, and I imagined myself playing checkers with someone over coffee.

The tables were set up closest to the right wall. Directly past them was a bookshelf. It was acting as a display case for local made jewelry, creative letter art, and hand crafted sodas towards to bottom. “Hey check these out,” I remember Tom saying as he went to work inspecting Soda bottles. The guy was just as obsessed with craft sodas as he was craft beer. I was more interested in the jewelry, and the local photography prints hanging the entire length of that wall. I grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler next to the bookshelf while my ex continued reading every flavor of soda from the bottles.

The walls were all painted a warm yellow that just made the place feel super cozy. Except for the walls housing the restroom entrances, and the six foot segment of wall down the middle of the floor directly across from them. They were painted the same soft teal color used for the lettering on the windows and door. The letters needed to spell Aromatic were selected from the creative letter art pieces on the bookshelf. They’d been clipped to a piece of twine, in the proper order, with clothes pins, and hung on the side of the six foot wall segment opposite the restrooms. The side of the wall facing the restrooms was fixed with dry erase material all the way up to the ceiling. The material was covered with different writings and drawings.

On the other side of this wall segment were four narrow tables set with two chairs a piece. There were two against each wall. Tom was still looking at the sodas, so I decided to wander towards the back. There were people seated at each one of the tables, so I walked on the other side of the wall segment. The one closest to the restrooms.

As soon as I got past the restrooms my imagination took off again. A fireplace burned directly to my left. The stone mantel above the fireplace was decorated with vivid green plants. The wall around it was painted in that same soft yellow, except the part directly above the fireplaces mantel. It was decorated with stones all the way up to the ceiling. It was absolutely breathtaking. There were two round tables, one on either side of the fireplace, and I remember picturing myself there in the winter. I could see myself in a clunky sweater with a good book in my hands. I’d be in one of the chairs in front of the fireplace, curled up against my chair, completely snuggled and cozy. I remember thinking this would be the perfect place for me to be found alone in the future.

Past the fireplace was another glass door printed with the same soft teal lettering as the front. This door clearly led to a patio, so I walked towards it to have a look. The floor of the patio was done in a bold red brick. It was gated in with a black metal fencing. There were more bold green plants hanging from light brown mesh pots along the fence. Six black metal tables were divided into two rows of three on either side of the patio. The two on the left side’s corners were fitted with teal umbrellas. The center table on the right was fitted with the same, and the remaining three were umbrellaed by the sun. The color contrast was absolutely beautiful.

“What ya looking at?” Tom asked as he came up behind me. He’d finally tired of inspecting soda bottles. I told him I wanted to have lunch on that patio. I remember him wanting to see what they had before he agreed, so we walked up towards the counter.

It turned out the place did serve lunch acceptable for Tom’s refined palette. The menu of food and coffee options was written in chalk on a blackboard directly behind the barista counter. The barista counter stoped short of the wall housing the restrooms, and that side was fitted with a bar and two barstools. The daily lunch special and coffee features were written on two separate chalkboards hung on the wall directly behind the bar. Tom was sold on the cuban, and I was sold on the drink feature.

I don’t now of many things better than the taste of Jameson and coffee. Irish coffee creamer is one thing, but it’s nothing like that good whisky burn. The daily drink feature was an Irish latte. I decided to give it a try along with a tomato pesto grilled cheese and a bowl of tomato bisque. I really didn’t have the highest of expectations, but I was excited to sit outside.

We grabbed our coffees from the bar and headed towards the patio. My ex tried for an umbrellaed table, but I really wanted to sit in the sun. Tom didn’t fight me on it, so a leaned back and let it’s rays warm my face while my coffee cooled.

I sat out there with my head back until our food came. The baristas were extremely friendly, and willing to bring our food out to us when it was done. That’s when I sipped the coffee and fell in love. The grilled cheese and soup were amazing too, they’re still some of my favorite things to eat. That coffee was it though. The whiskey burn was there without the whisky and it was amazing. I’d completely fallen in love.

“It’s too hot out here,” Tom whined. My enjoyment was completely killed as he demanded we go inside. All the good spots were taken up and we had to settle for the table across from the barista counter. I ended up packing the rest of my lunch to go because he was uncomfortable and annoyed inside too, but that Irish Late made everything ok. Laying on my back watching the clouds roll in today, I knew this was where I needed to head next.

I grabbed my new tote bag of treats and began the hike back to my car. I wanted an Irish Late more than life, so I drove back into town. I parked at the bank down the road and walked to Aromatic Cafe. I got just inside the doorway as the clouds began dropping rain by the buckets.

The rain and lack of empty tables inside led me to the bar awaiting my beverage as he approached the counter and began placing his order. I happened to look up from my book sometime within the midst of him burning a hole into the top of my head. Locking eyes with him caused a grin to stretch painfully across my face. The unfamiliar sensation within me blocked out all surrounding sound. I only witnessed the mouthing of his order through a smirk across his face. He continued grinning at me, eyes locked, as he walked away from the counter after conversing with the barista.

It wasn’t long into our conversation before he asked when he could see me again. I double checked my schedule to be sure before suggesting Friday afternoon. I had to be into work at four-thirty which gave me a justifiable excuse to cut the date early. There’s nothing worse than being glued to a shity situation with no way out. At the same time, if things went well, I knew I had a regretful reason to leave him wanting more. He was also free Friday afternoon, so we agreed to meet back at Aromatic for the start of our excursion.

“I really think you should give me your number,” he smirked at me. I felt the grin stretch further across my own face as I reached into the bag I’d packed for this particular day. I found myself wishing I’d heard his drink order. I regretted the window into a way to bring him joy at a later date. I pulled out the journal I’d decided I’d begin etching my life into.

I’d had an epiphany since Tom left, and today was to be the start of this new role. My new role required a kit, and I planned to be prepared. Before leaving the house, I took great care to ensure everything was packed. Then I went to Target for the missing pieces. I imagined every scenario I could conceive and strategized accordingly. Each contemplated scenario had the reactionary tools. Apparently even this one.

I glanced down at the journal long enough to seek out my first blank page. I glanced up at him before looking down again and inscribing the words, “This scrap of paper could be going to a very significant individual. Please remember to elaborate later. :)” Then I connected my eyes with his again as I folded the page in half diagonally.

Embarrassingly, it had been so long since I’d felt that look of desire, I couldn’t help but elongate it. I made a point to curl my tongue up to the teeth in the upper left side of my skull as I curled my grin up to the matching side of my face while I slowly tore the lower half corner of the page from its counter part as if shedding a piece of lingerie from my own body. I blushed at his open display of arousal and adverted my eyes. Quickly jotting down my name and number gave me the out I needed. I kept my head down as I folded the piece of paper into a scrap the size of an m&m. To conceal my overwhelming emotions I did my best to appear bored with the interaction. I reached over for my book, kept my head down, and blindly extended the hand containing his desired treasure. Feeling the warmth of his presence beneath my fingertips, I extended them and released the folded ball into his outstretched palm. It was an exotic experience unlike anything I’ve ever encountered before. It made me feel as giddy as a little school girl.

I’ve given my number countless times, and truly expect nothing in return, at this point. I offer it up to any strange number request because I truly believe this exchange to be a game within itself. Still, it’s something I truly enjoy, and something I haven’t been able to enjoy, without immense guilt, in a long time. A gem completely separate from the actual relationship world.

Even though we’d planned a date for Friday, I jumped in my seat when my phone went off. It felt crazy to fathom it being from him already. Sure as shit it was a text from an un-storred number. I glanced up to find the barista giggling at me. I felt my face go flush as typed the passcode into my phone. The message read, “I almost skipped coffee today. The rain made it seem like too much of an effort. Meeting you made it worth it.” I smirked at the message and rolled my eyes. This was clearly an overly confident compliment designed to slowly work me out of my panties, but what the hell. He was hot, and I wanted to run with it.

I took several pictures of myself before choosing one with my head tilted slightly to the left, my hair wrapped around that side of my neck, and a rather devilish grin on my face. It was more mischievous than erotic, and I loved it. I instantly sent it to him and awaited his reaction. We continued this little game over the course of the days leading to Friday. During our playfulness I discovered a fundamental difference between him and Tom. He actually enjoyed being active. He also enjoyed the outdoors. This lead to my suggestion of Homer Lake for our first date. My imagination ran wild with possibilities. None of which actually made it into existence.

Jeans and a casual shirt seemed like the proper attire for Friday’s outing. I also made sure to wear a pair of spandex shorts and an athletic tank top under my outfit. The clothes I picked up at Target on Tuesday were perfect.

I found parking three blocks down and one block up from Aroma. Parking was free in this section of downtown, and I enjoyed the walk. I turned the corner to find him standing in front of the right blue printed window of my coffee shop. He was leaned back against it with one knee bent and that foot resting on the glass. His arms were crossed and his head was angled down while still raised enough to catch sight of me. I could tell he had by the grin on his face. I returned the grin instantly with my own as I crossed the street.

Once I’d reached his side of the street, he turned towards the handle and opened the door for me. He outstretched his other arm as I walked past, and stepped in behind me. I felt so special, I walked with a toothy grin on my face as I proceeded past the reading nooks and towards the barista counter.

The barista smiled back at me as I approached. “You seem to be particularly cheery this morning,” she beamed. I blushed immediately, and strained, “it’s a good day,” through an ever stretching grin. I ordered and Irish-Latte before he ordered a black coffee. While reaching for my wallet, I watched as he grinned and handed the barista his card. As she took it, the barista looked directly at me with a slightly broader grin. She handed the card back to him with a receipt and a pen before turning to make our drinks.

I was instantly angry with myself for my behavior. I was noticeably happy to be there with him. I had gotten lost in the moment, that feeling of simple bliss. I recognized my mistake instantly. It was obvious I’d never be back in that shop with Jake again. Unfortunately, with my school girl in love behavior, I was going to be faced with the, “What happened to the hottie,” question the next time I popped in. I decided I’d just have to spend the next few weeks scouting a different coffee shop. We left with our drinks, and despite his protests, we ended up taking my car.

We walked the couple of blocks to my car. He talked the entire time, but I honestly couldn’t tell you a word of what he’d said. I was entirely too focused on the task at hand. I turned the radio on the second we got into the car. He still continued his attempts at wooing me, but I was able to sing the lyrics in my head just enough to tune him out. Next thing I know, our destination is in sight. I make the turn into Homer Lake.

We park and make our way to the trail marked by the old wooden sign. I release his hand when I find my hidden path, and veer off into the trees. “Where are you going?” he shouts behind me with a slight chuckle in his tone. He follows me as I progresses through the trees without a word. I giggle at the scene because his desperation and ignorance is amusing. My laughter mingles with the sounds of the forest to create the most amazing effect.

I could hear the twigs snapping beneath our feet as we made our way through the overgrowth of the secluded trail. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach as he reached his hand out for mine. It was strange to be in such an endearing moment.

I’d definitely fucked other people since my ex left. I’d just never done anything quite so intimate as holding hands which is probably why I flinched at the feel of him while trying my best to conceal it.

Even with my ex, I’d never experienced such intimacy. This was entirely foreign to me. I knew I wanted this guy to believe I was comfortable and happy. Even in the brief moments of my childhood, back when I still looked forward to things like Christmas morning and birthdays, I’d never felt such giddiness. I felt as if that was the moment I finally understood the feverish pace of a hummingbirds wings through the pace of my racing heart.

The woods created a soundtrack for our journey as we progressed. There was a strong breeze moving around Friday which stifled the sweltering heat and gave voice to the trees around us. I was overwhelmed with excitement and anticipation like I’d never experienced before. I knew in that moment, this is what I’d been missing from my life. This was the piece that would make me whole. I will always remember the excitement I felt in this discovery.

The song of the wind through the woods helped calm my nerves as we wandered my secluded path, and it gave me the courage to reciprocate his affection. So, I opened my palm to his and interlocked his pinky within my own.

It wasn’t long before the anxiety overcame and I released his hand. Once I was free I made a break for my favorite ledge. I left him behind, calling my name.

I’m seated at the edge of my rock cliff when he finally catches up to me. When I hear his footsteps, I turn my head and smile. “You’ve got to see this view,” I call out. He looks hesitant at first so I give him the most alluring smirk I can manage. He’s clearly guided by lust as he stumbles his way up the rocks and to my side.

“How did you know this was here?” he smiled at me awkwardly as he climbed his way up the rocks. It was rather amusing, and also adorable seeing such a sturdy man so far out of his own element. I quickly gathered his mention of love for the outdoors was simply a ploy to intrigue me. It felt rather nice being on the other side of that game. Once he was situated, he reached for my hand again. I answered his question with the kiss he’d been longing for since we entered the privacy of the forest.

His fingers found my face and made their way through my hair as our lips met. Inhaling his breath, I allowed myself a moment of lust and satisfaction before reaching my hand out behind me. I kept kissing him while feeling around for the rock I’d used to cover my stash on Tuesday. I pushed the rock aside and removed the bag. I held it up by the side of my face as I mumbled the words, “would you like to smoke a bit,” around his intrusive tongue. He pulled his face from mine and just grinned at me.

I unzipped the bag and set it down on the ledge next to my left thigh, as he was seated to my right. I pulled the hitter box out and packed us a hit. I selfishly lit it and inhaled the first drag. I passed the hitter to him. He cleared it, and I packed another. I gave him first dibs this time. After clearing it a second time, I put the hitter back in it’s box, put the box back in it’s bag, and secured the bag back in it’s hole. I found the loose stone and put it back in it’s securing place.

I leaned back against my arms and began staring out at the lake. I could feel his eyes on me again, so I turned my head back in his direction. We stared at each other in a long seemingly intimate moment of lust. I found myself mourning what I’d hoped this could have been. He really did appear to be a gentleman. I suppose they always do.

He smiled at me and once again I felt the heat rise to my cheeks as my face stretched involuntarily. I found it so strange to have a grin force itself upon my face without any control of my own. As soon as my smile appeared, he chuckled and came in for another long invasive kiss. I allowed myself to be absorbed into the moment at first. Then I reached my hand down by my left thigh. I reached my right hand up simultaneously and wrapped it around his face. I reciprocated this kiss in the most passionate of ways. I’m sure, for a moment, he believed my intentions were to fuck him right then and there on that rock. He moaned into me as my force overcame him.

I pushed my tongue further into his mouth and returned his frowns of approval. I slid my hand down to his neck and pulled him in even closer. His moans grew louder, covering the sound of my blade flicking open. I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d tried.

I was confident of my aim and placement, so I sat back after the knife was inserted through his jugular. I was in awe of the shock within his eyes as I smiled at him uncontrollably. My grin stretched further as I stared into his eyes and he stared into mine. We shared the same intimate exchange as we had previously, yet it felt much more erotic this time around. My satisfaction was incomprehensible. He selfishly killed my buzz by reaching his hand up and removing the knife from its temporary home.

The thick warm liquid splashed my face as the knife slid out of the side of his throat. His eyes stared at me agape with shock as he reached his hand up to cover the hole in his neck. This was clearly a waisted effort, but I gained a lot of amusement watching him try.

I’ve watched deer attempt to flea after an arrow severed a hole in their lung. You can feel the hope radiating from the animal. It’s as if they truly believe putting distance between themselves and the source of their pain will bring them salvation. I sensed this here with him as he appeared to feel relief removing the foreign object from his throat. I felt horrible laughing, but it was too amusing to avoid. I remember thinking, “you’re fucked either way honey, but it’s absolutely adorable to witness that small sense of hope in your eyes.”

His mouth remained open as he gasped, desperately clinging to the short remainder of his life. I calmly reached back over to the rock I’d hidden my bag beneath. I wiped the blade clean on my t-shirt before tucking it back away next to my hitter. All the while he’s choking and gasping with one hand on his throat and another extended towards me. It took less effort than I could have fathomed to push his desperate body from the rocks security, and into the lake below.

I dove in after him. I wanted to remain close to him. I wanted to prolong the enjoyment gained by his body’s expiration. I felt disappointed as he began to sink from view, but I still stared in amazement as he sank further below the surface.

I remember the excitement I felt as I began to strip away my t-shirt and jeans. I did it in the way I imagined he’d hoped I would before he experienced my plan. It all felt so erotic I was consumed. My blood stained t-shirt and jeans drifted away as bubbles became the only visible evidence of his existence.

My attire had been strategically chosen for my outing. The fitted tank top and spandex shorts clung to my skin as I emerged from the water. When I picked up this fitted tank and these spandex shorts from Target, I truly was just taking advantage of a deal. They looked great on me and they were on sale. I do remember seeing the quick dry technology mentioned on the tag, and that was my motivation for wearing them under my clothes this morning.

As I emerged from the water, I looked down to check my plans effectiveness. Finding my clothing and body blood free, I climbed back up onto the rock ledge. I outstretched my arms behind me as I closed my eyes and pointed my face up towards the suns rays. I inhaled deeply, absorbing the feeling of nature and my own feeling of contentment, before releasing a relaxed sigh through my overstretched grin. I remember thinking, “Life doesn’t get a single bit better than this.” Then I leaned over towards my special stash covering rock once again. Sitting back up I crossed my legs into an Indian style position before inhaling the harsh smoke.

I inhaled two more times before replacing the hitter and concealing the bag containing it all back under my rock. I gazed back out at the water one last time before climbing to my feet and beginning my walk back.

My shorts and sports bra were completely dry when I walked past the old creepy wooden sign carved with the words, “Sand Beach Trail.” I remember thinking how much I loved that sign as I waved at the person running by, who would presumably take me for a fellow jogger. Then I filled the quiet space around me with the intrusive chirp of my car horn when I pushed the button on the keyfab I had just removed from my bra. I squeezed the handle on my trunk and pulled out my work clothes. I put them on right there in the parking lot before climbing into my drivers seat. 106.5 began playing “Another Vice.” I smiled at this, because it seemed so perfect for this moment. I glanced at the clock and began driving to work with twenty-six minutes to spare. I sang along to the chorus of my life as I began to contemplate how I’d come up with my next big story. This one was complete.

image Laura Elizabeth