C.C. Russell


When they kiss on the television, everything turns blue and all you hear is breath and the thrum of a rising music.  You look at him beside you on the couch and you know it is not like this. 

They are blue.  They are rolling over each other like children down a hill.  Their lips push and pull at each other.  They are drawn into each other.  The television casts the blue over your faces, but otherwise everything is different.

You could say it started with the phone call yesterday.  A strained voice, foreign, asking for him.  Again.

It’s no one.

It’s no one.  His answer rehearsed.  His answer ready, the tip of his tongue holding it in reserve, just waiting to say it.  Holding it back only until the question is asked.  The air is electric blue around you.  When they kiss on the television, they turn blue.  


*     *     *


This is the sound of the phone ringing off the wall.  That’s how your mother used to describe it.  That was back when the only phone you had was attached to the wall.  Now you hear his ringtone from his pocket.  You watch him not answer.  You watch him sneak away to send texts from the other room.

This is the sound of the fingers of trees against the window, the beginning of autumn.  The beginning of cabin fever.  You are in the kitchen, carrots undressing in your hands.  He is in the living room, living.  His cigarette is the leaning tower of Pisa, the ash stretching over towards ashtray, just tired.

He is watching.  The history of your life together as The Beav to Dawson’s Creek.  This is how time disappears.  This is the history as a story with chunks missing, text disappeared…

…and you can taste the way that it used to be, his tongue, the way that it used to be.  This history of the two of you as The Carpenters to Shonen Knife.  As eight tracks to mp3s.  Something always better waiting on the periphery.

Any history of revolution eventually turns to talk of borders.  Histories unwritten – things better left unsaid.

He doesn’t say who’s on the phone.  He doesn’t say where he’s been when he shows up at four in the morning.  This is the same old story.  You know it and you know it isn’t even worth telling.  Everyone has heard it before.  And so you keep it to yourself.

You look out into the living room.  He is lighting up again.  The television makes his silhouette glow.



C.C. Russell lives in Wyoming with his wife and daughter. His writing has appeared in such places as the New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Unbroken Journal. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He has held jobs in a wide range of vocations, everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to retail management and dive club DJ. 

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