The Blanket (2004)


"What's wrong with you?" he asked.

"It doesn't matter," I said. "I know you won't care."

"Why don't you tell me anyway and I'll decide whether or not I care."

I took a deep breath. "It's been an intense week for me, that's all."

His back was turned as he searched for a bottle opener in his kitchen.

"How so?"

He continued searching as he walked into the other room pretending to listen. I just stared at the floor.

"Kate's dad came into the coffee shop the other night," I said. "I hadn't seen him since her funeral."

Silence.

"I ran into her sister the next day, too."

"Yeah, Kate's dead. Kinda weird, huh?"

He continued. "Friends start dying when you get out of high school, that's just how it goes."

Why did I come over here?

"I guess," I said.

He walked over and stood in front of me. He handed me a shot of tequila. He smelled like cheap pot and bad cologne. I could barely look at him.

After we took the shots he asked me to kiss him. I took a step back.

"No."

"Why not?"

He moved closer to me as I tried to think of anything I might say to delay what was about to happen.

"Becau---"

He kissed me. I lost. I could hear the phone ringing. He pulled away as I went to the bathroom to throw up. When I was done he was still on the phone.

Now is my chance. I need to leave.

A few minutes later he hung up the phone.

"Where'd you go?"

"I puked."

"Oh. Do you need to lay down?"

"Sure."

I followed him to the basement. He put a blanket on the couch and asked if I needed anything else.

"No," I said. "I'll be fine."

He left the light on. I watched him go back upstairs. I closed my eyes and pretended to be somewhere else, but I kept hearing his voice. It was after two in the morning and he was on the phone again, going up and down the stairs.

I was about to fall asleep when he asked what I was doing.

Writing the great American novel.

"I was trying to sleep."

I sat up, giving him the invitation to get this over with. He sat down and leaned over me.

I can't get out of it this time.

"Why don't you like me?" he asked.

His hands began going through the motions, but my body remained frozen. All I could do was bite my lip and lie.

"I do like you."

This time I drew blood. His hands were cold, but that was all I could feel.

"Wait---" I said.

He didn't hear me. He was going to get what he wanted. I was just waiting for it to be over.

Ten minutes later he had gone into his bedroom. The light was still on. I got up and pulled my skirt back down. I turned off the light and put the blanket on the floor. It wasn't long enough to cover me.

I woke up six hours later unrested with rug burns on my elbows. I folded up the blanket and left it on the couch. I quietly went out the back door and got into my car. I started the engine.

"I need a cigarette."




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