by Dina L. Relles
Their feet stuck to the thin layer of beer that coated the kitchen and mail littered the rug by the front door. They went out only to get milk and coffee and diner eggs. The snow had melted into a dirty Jersey slush that seeped up her pants as she skipped along the gutter to keep pace. She spent each night with a different man in a different room—the house had seven—and she had little time to herself, but that’s how she liked it. One guy tasted like rubber cement and another thought he was in love with her for 24 hours and John could only fall asleep to the TV, so the night she stayed with him, she lay on the hard sill of his bay window, curled up like a fetus, as Reservoir Dogs flickered in the background. People were always seeking something this time of year. She was seeking something always. She wiped down the countertops to feel needed, she parted her lips to feel known. Now Stuck in the Middle with You was playing as Michael Madsen readied to slice off Nash’s ear. She couldn’t sleep until John called for her. As she slipped into bed beside him, this, she thought, like she thought every year, could be the beginning of something. But when she left the house on a Saturday, they hardly noticed she was gone.
Dina L. Relles lives and writes in rural Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Atticus Review, Brevity’s Blog, matchbook, River Teeth, Rise Up Review, Full Grown People, and elsewhere. She is a blog editor at Proximity Magazine and slowly penning her first nonfiction collection. You can find her at www.dinarelles.com or @DinaLRelles.