A journal of narrative writing.
The Latin Jazz

She dragged a brush through red highlights and stared at his reflection over her shoulder, sweeping lint from her collar with the back of his hand. As the pale lipstick snaked across her lip, like the ghost of someone else's finger, he was certain the male half of the couple they were expecting was the reason she turned away from his body turning toward her, awake or asleep. She slid the toothpick into the bread. He pulled the cork from the bottle. She hung up the phone and said, They can't make it: his wife's morning sickness, the ride. A candlelit dinner for two's slow procession from glasses clicking to us, they both said, to the bird stuffed with questions that dissolved into accusations met with silence. He punched the wall. She dabbed antiseptic on broken skin. They made love like an unwinnable argument. He left for work, returning in the early afternoon to find them on the rug bent over liner notes for the Latin jazz he's never heard before. He stepped over them, raked the needle across the record, then walked out to stab the button between the elevator and mirror, where he saw a man crying or laughing at himself, he wasn't sure. He closed his fist around a subway token in his pocket, and waited for the stranger to grow familiar.

reprinted from Ghost Wrestling, David R. Godine, ©1997 by Roger Weingarten.