Ted Weesner, Jr.
She was blue between the toes. I checked before our flight. She was blue between the legs. Hard to miss with her balanced atop a USAir toilet, another shade of blue waiting to swirl electrochemically beneath our seat. I was the only one who knew, a fact I held dear. Glimpse us on the street — holding hands, sometimes skipping — figure we had it all figured out. Secretly you might hope to see us die. In spectacular fashion — shot from the sky in our floating hot-air balloon, taken out by a boy, his collie, a new .22. A trip, we decided, a trip! That would right our wrong, correct what no one else could see. Her old friend, a dreadlocked trustafarian, offered to share his piece of Costa Rican beach. Minutes out of the plane’s lavatory — she exited first, I waited, basking — we were fighting again. Battling at the baggage claim. Quarreling in the cab. Then we were tracing the coast, white sand yawning beneath a bluff. We shut right up. This had been her idea all along: the proper body of water would reset our magic. Her skinny pal Stan met us at the door. The gaunt frame and waist-length locks—matted, coppery, roped—they seemed not to square. His bungalow was smaller than expected, requiring he sleep on the couch while we procreated silently, toothlessly. Behind our closed door we smelled him brewing morning coffee, the mandatory silence working wonders. Still, she was blue. How I loved the blue! How I wished that blue ill! As always, she exited first. When I got to the kitchen, Stan was pouring a stream of cream into her deep mug and she was watching. They looked up; I may as well have barked. I lay a hand on her hip. She stepped aside. Hand falling. The three of us, we walked the beach. For a cadaverous man with mushroom-scented shag he knew so much about local flora. She listened closely. I followed suit. On a rocky point, he proposed a swim, shedding his ridiculous laughing skull t-shirt. She dropped her sundress. Underneath: a canary-yellow bikini bound around maliciously milken skin. I was another brand of white, blotchily so, requiring I remain clothed, sit on a rock, supervise. They bobbed in the phosphorescence, paddling far enough out that their words became abstract. Just a murmur beneath the waves. They took their time and finally she left the water after him. Dripping mercury, I believe. Stan and I gawked as she knotted her hair. Armpit flashing: blue. The skinny bastard missed it. Alas, dinner on his porch. Stan flambéing some local predator fish he’d speared with cloudy anis-flavored liquor. We were sipping the same. Sun hovering over moaning water. Rail-thin Stan narrating a convoluted story about his brother the fighter pilot. He took Stan up one night in his F-16, both of them tanked. A dozen times they crisscrossed a moonlit field, close enough to make cornstalks bend. Stan had announced: he was not coming down. Yet here he was. Stan. For dessert he served us oranges doused with rum. She said she was tired. I trailed her to our room. Hoping to see things blue. Her skin tasting of salt, but then she nodded off. At dawn I reached an arm across our bed. Empty. Crept to the porch. Seagulls divebombing. Sun peeking over, riptide ripping. There they were, laid out on a vast beach towel. Nightgown bunched at her hips. Coils of hair flowing out, unfurled to the sea. Stan was in the blue. Me? I was drifting overhead, waiting for the shot.
Ted Weesner, Jr.’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Cincinnati Review, The Boston Globe, Glamour, Memorious, and Gastronomica, as well as on NPR. His story “Tuscaloosa” was a Best American Notable selection. His play, “The King Size,” was a finalist for the Prague Playwriting Contest, and was produced there in 2009. A recipient of the PEN/New England Discovery Award, two Somerville Arts Council grants, an award from the St. Botolph Club, and a residency at the MacDowell Colony, he teaches writing at Tufts and the Museum School in Boston.
This story appeared in Sakura Review III.