Not Big


fiction by xTx


…something small, like finding a fingernail on the floor of the hotel hallway; part of it painted red. Everybody is disgusted, but nobody moves to get up. That’s what drunk gets you.

I look at all of the bare legs crisscrossing, sandals, bottoms of glasses with melted ice, the smell of tired skin. I take my hands off the carpet. When we first got there I said, “It looks like a melted clown’s face,” and everyone agreed.

The hallway sits. One of the men reaches over and starts stroking my shoulder, my arm. His touch is soft and I want to close my eyes so I can feel it better. I want to close my eyes and wait for more. I want him to know that closing my eyes means I am giving him permission. I want to be alone with him, out of this hallway, away from all of the legs. I want this not to be a wrong thing. But it’s a wrong thing right now, I know, I remember. I feel her eyes almost as much as his fingers and I know I should wriggle away but why should I? I am just sitting here like everybody else. His hand heats up my arm. In the hallway. The hallway sits.

Everyone stares at the fingernail but I am the only one who speculates; making up tiny story after tiny story about the owner of the fingernail. They aren’t normal stories. Everybody is disgusted, but nobody moves to get up.