art by Ron Sanders
If You Want the Rainbow
by Eliza Hirsch
***Editor's Note: Adult story, and some adult language***
The sky is clear because I'm calm. Or maybe I'm calm because it's clear. Hard to tell, sometimes.
The guy beside me has black hair and a guitar. We're in front of the downtown college campus and it's summer and I'm supposed to be at work, slinging coffee to yuppie assholes and their two-point-six kids, but I'm here.
When he asks my name I tell him "Kali," which is truer than the truth. He laughs, plays me a few bars of something strange that sounds like a mix of Sublime and Bach and Black Sabbath.
"No, really," he says, his arms resting on the body of his cherry colored acoustic, the wood all but covered with band stickers. Smoke curls from the cigarette stuck in the frets. "What's your name?"
I look at his guitar, and then back at him. His eyes are blue. Like, really blue. That crazy blue I've read about in books but don't quite believe in, and I wonder if maybe he isn't real.
"Call me Cherry," I say. He shakes his head, but he's grinning.
"Cherry..." He starts strumming again. "She's my cherry pie, sweet drink of water..."
"Never heard that before." I roll my eyes and lay back in the grass.
"What's your name?" I ask the sun, but the boy answers.
"Reece," he says, and plays a slow song that makes me close my eyes. When he stops he moves over next to me and lies down. I can feel his arm close to mine, our hairs just brushing.
I wrap my fingers around his wrist, and think I'm going to hurt you, and say "I'm going to kiss you," which is the same thing.
He lets me.
He tastes like cardamom and coconut. His fingers, when they touch my eyelids, are rough. I can feel music in them.
Reece comes to my coffee shop the next day and tells me to make him something sweet and strong.
"Just like me," he says.
I laugh, because that's what I'm supposed to do, but I'm really hoping he'll leave. Because he does seem sweet, but he's not strong enough.