The Breast

  I was out walking in my neighborhood. I was young and my body did pretty much what I wanted it to.
 
  S— stopped her car and I walked over to her.
 
She was the younger sister of one of my best friends. S— was sexy and slovenly and funny. She was the kind of woman I could love, had she not been the sister of one of my best friends.
 
This encounter was odd and, oddly, it has stuck in my head for the rest of my life. Because there are certain events in one’s life that are stickier than others, tangibly sticky, whether good or bad, lovely or grisly as a nightmare.
 
S– looked like she had just gotten out of bed. Perhaps she was stoned. Her sloppy, light-brown hair fell around her face in disorderly tresses. Her smooth cheeks shone with ennui, and perhaps a bit with the pleasure of running into me.
 
We talked, briefly. It was the kind of encounter that happens a lot in youth, when friendships occur in clusters, easy group connectivity that, for some reason, does not last. A chance meeting, inconsequential dialog, promises to meet again soon.
 
As S— talked I stared at her as if she were a problem to be solved. Her loose summer shirt hung open at the neck and I could see one small, perfect breast, capped by the unspoiled brown bud of her nipple. That breast made me ache.
 
We said goodbye and she drove away and I continued on to wherever I was going. I walked and my head was full of S–. I wanted to see her again. This was after high school when life begins to pull you away from a lot of the people you love, when lives once so dear become unrecoverable. I could already sense it happening, in increments.

S—died a short time after this. She was killed in a car accident on the way to her sister’s bachelorette party. That Saturday we all attended a funeral in the morning and a very subdued, almost dreamlike wedding that evening.

I don’t know if that encounter with S—was the last time I saw her. It might have been. Thinking about it made me remember that I had kissed her once. She was housesitting for someone. I went to visit, knowing she would be alone and before I left she sat in my lap and kissed me long and hard. Her mouth, though filled with braces, was wet and alive. It was the only time we kissed.
 
I don’t know if that encounter with S—was the last time I saw her but it has stayed with me like a wound. I don’t know what has made that ambiguous moment such a lasting anamnesis: her disheveled hair, her lopsided half-smile, and, of course, the warm, brown breast, vivid as a flame, hanging just a few feet from my hand, vital and shining, one of God’s small, absolute miracles.
 

***

In Love with The Giant Woman

           Donny Brook was an average size man, five foot nine, 170 pounds. He worked at the electronics store in the strip mall out by the airport. He was a conscientious worker though not very clever with electronics. Instead Donny was interested in French poetry and cooking.
 
           Donny first saw The Giant Woman in the audience at a poetry slam in the little coffee shop next to the bookstore in the strip mall out by the airport. She was sitting outside the open door. Naturally, she stood out. She was over 30 feet tall and her body was proportioned like a Brobdingnagian Marilyn Monroe. She was quite a sight. Her name was Barbara, a fact Donny found out that very evening by asking Marie, the woman who ran the coffee shop. Donny and Marie were friends because they both liked French poetry.
 
            “Barbara Who?” Donny asked.
 
            “Surely it doesn’t matter,” Marie said. “Ask around town for Barbara The Giant Woman.”
 
            “That’s good advice. Thank you, Marie,” Donny said.
 
            And it proved to be very easy to find out that Barbara The Giant Woman was named Barbara Ella and that she taught gymnastics at a private school just outside the city limits. Donny also found her address in the phone book. He began to drive by her house (such a big house!) out in the tony suburbs near the private school. And, as luck would have it, one day, as he drove up her street, he saw her loping up the sidewalk from the opposite direction.
 
            Donny got out of his car and approached. She was watching his progress toward her with a wary eye. He was also exceedingly smitten with The Giant Woman and this helped fuel his chutzpah.
 
            “Hello,” Donny said. “I saw you at the poetry reading at the coffee shop next to the bookstore in the strip mall out by the airport. My name is Donny.”
 
                Barbara looked down on Donny and said, “Yes, I remember seeing you. Was it my imagination that you were eyeing me?”
 
                “It was not your imagination,” Donny said. “You are strikingly beautiful.”
 
                “My,” Barbara said. “Most men are afraid of me.”
 
                “I understand. Can we go someplace and talk?”
 
                Barbara closed one cyclopean eye and fixed Donny with the other. She liked what she saw. Donny smiled up at her.
 
                “Here is my home,” Barbara said. “Come inside. You’re not a bonkers stalker or anything, are you?”
 
                “No,” Donny said.
 
                Once inside the spacious home of Barbara Ella, The Giant Woman, the two took up places near each other in her spacious living room which was built like an outsized conversation pit, replete with beautiful rugs and pillows of every size and shape and color.
 
                “You are a bold marauder,” Barbara said.
 
                “I just couldn’t not meet you,” Donny said. He didn’t know where this romantic palaver was coming from. He had never approached a woman this way. “You caught my eye.”
 
                “Well,” Barbara said. She was clearly embarrassed.
 
                “You have the most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen,” Donny said quickly.
 
                “Thank—”
 
                “And your body is luxurious,” Donny added.
 
                “You are bold, Mr.….what is your full name, bold marauder?”
 
                 “Brook. Donny Brook,” Donny Brook said.
 
              “Nice to meet you,” Barbara said, holding out a hand the size of a castle portcullis.
 
                Donny put his hand onto Barbara’s hand. Her skin was as soft as swan’s plumes. Donny nearly swooned with pleasure.
 
              And so began the courtship. They dated for six months, often picnicking by the river or going on nature walks. Their physical relationship began early and with much heat and soon Donny and Ella were making love once, twice, three times a day. Ella was not only soft as swan’s plumes, her curves would break the heart of a man of any size. Donny allowed his heart to open like a book. He loved her as true as the faithful watchdog of the fold. Barbara, though slower to warm than Donny, was soon as ardent. And love triumphed and they were soon wed; they had two averagely sized daughters and one slightly giant son, and that is all we know of the story of Donny Brook and Barbara Ella, The Giant Woman.

***

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. Mesler has published eight novels, five full-length poetry collections, and three books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of poetry and prose. Mesler’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. His fiction has received praise from John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Lee Smith, Fredrick Barthelme, and Grail Marcus, among others. With his wife, Mesler runs Burke’s Bookstore in Memphis, Tennessee. Corey’s short story collection, As A Child, was released by MadHat Press earlier this year. Mesler’s work can be found at CoreyMesler.wordpress.com

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