Watered-Down Honey by Ave Valencia

Watered-Down Honey

His hands were like rain dripping over her desert body.
Rain water from a broken clay pitcher that had been glued together with honey.
Yes… That’s what it tasted like… Watered-down honey.

The full moon shone through the curtains. Everything did. There was hardly any point in having them. Non-conscientious shadows could be far more telling than conscientious lovers.

But Kaylee’s mother had insisted on hanging them when she helped her move across state to go to school. It was part of the arrangement. Just like she wasn’t supposed to have guys over, or she wasn’t supposed to be working a night job. Or like she was supposed to be having the life her mom never got to live because she’d forgotten to take the morning-after pill.

They were promises that stretched as far as a single mother’s savings can go. First there was no coffee. Then no eating out. Then she couldn’t even buy the clothes she needed. That’s when she met Junior.

Junior (who swore that was his real name) introduced her to city-life. He had no romantic motives- he was just “trying to play nice.” No one asked her for her fake-id when she was with him. And when she wasn’t, the image of him would creep up inside of her and fill this painful void of self-loath.

It was weird- the way he’d watch over her. There she’d be- dancing with his buddies. All the drinks were always on him. She never quite remembered what had happened the previous night. Her head would hurt til noon so she switched to evening classes.

Junior wasn’t suited for school. He had some sort of businesses to take care of. It was always hush hush when she’d ask about it. She didn’t know she was working for him til she told him she ought to get a job.

“What for?” he asked, as he washed his face at her sink one night. “Ain’t I paying you enough?”

…Was he joking? “I’m worth more than what I get,” she said, playing along.

“Oh yeah? Prove it.”

“How much you got on you?”

He opened up his wallet. $650 cash. That was enough to pay her rent and buy groceries. She laughed.
…But he didn’t feel like taking her out that night, nor the next.

Weeks passed. Kaylee’s mom had been trying to get a hold of her, but she’d just receive messages: “I’m OK. Having a great time. Love you.”
Then the messages stopped.

Now Kaylee no longer really needed to finish school to make a living. But that night as the moon shined through her curtain she heard her phone beep. As Junior did what he did best, she reached over and read the screen: “Kaylee please come home.”

She felt a tear stream down her face. She caught it with her tongue. That’s as sweet as her life would ever be: drops of watered-down honey.


About Ave Valencia

My friends say I'm an artist. My cats think I'm the greatest thing since smoked salmon. My family- well let's just leave it at that.

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