Salon Zine: All Fiction
Toby stuffed the new singlet into his bag along with a thermal and two sweatshirts, then sat at his desk and logged onto the school’s home page. He needed to see the name again. Plus, he knew his mom would be waiting for him in the kitchen, and if he showed his face before leaving, she’d start nagging him about breakfast, and it would just spiral out from there: from not eating properly, to being too skinny, to the wrestling team, to his father. “You only wrestle to please him,” she’d say, wielding a box of Eggo’s. “Can’t you at least do one thing for me?” If he waited until the last minute, he could simply run by, placating her by grabbing one of her ZONE bars. They’d read Oedipus in his Psych class that October and the fact that he’d never longed for his mother that way had plagued him for weeks back then—though he wondered why they hadn’t named a syndrome for what Jocasta felt. But all that was nothing compared to what he was going through now. He glanced at his old singlet, lying limp on the floor, its lightning crack pattern running up the left leg to become a fireball on the chest. His dad had given it to him at the start of the season, and though buying himself the new black one felt like a betrayal, in trying it on the night before he’d found some relief; its matte fabric was far less revealing.
At the garden center Lamont bought a tray of mixed pansies. He’d walked a couple miles to get there, braving cold winds gusting off the Long Island Sound, a steady mist soaking his camouflage jacket. And what did he find when he got there? A greenhouse full of ceramic pots. No nice humid greenhouse odor. Long empty shelves where lush potted plants should’ve been on display.
Inside their apartment, Samuel closes the bathroom door behind him and turns, with both his hands, the skinny silver lock. He checks for Fita in the mirror. He checks for her after what happened last time she was here, how she snuck up, how he didn’t even hear her coming, how she yelled in her loud Spanish voice, and yanked his hands from his mother’s drawer, how the drawer came off its rollers and everything went falling, spilling out onto the bathroom floor. A hundred tubes of lipstick rolled around their feet. Fita bent down, hugging her arms across the floor, sweeping the lipsticks together.