by Than Pence
A couple spied upon, years after their Prom.
|It’s probably where they went after their actual Prom, three years prior: Burger King. They’ll be sitting there again soon, judging by her weight, until the end of time.
She wore her Senior Prom commemorative t-shirt like a banner meant to display how much weight she had gained and how she clings to those memories evermore. It stretches tight against her skin and folds, as if not painted on but maybe woven around her like a moth’s cocoon. The dancers on the back, held in an elegant, timeful pose, stare into each other’s blank faces, taunt by the widening effect. People who might walk behind her can’t help but wonder if she purposefully stretches the faded pattern so that those frozen in a useless time will resemble she who posters them. Faded, yes, due to constantly being worn, washed, re-worn as if her spirit from only three years ago could be reborn, and washed again to get her companion’s cigarette smoke out of the fabric.
He limps without purpose, wears his beltline as if it’s meant to keep his thighs closer together, and has adjusted the cap to not face forward or backward but at a 45 degree angle as if to accentuate the rearward hearing of his right ear. It’s imagined that the gold chain that dangles limply about his neck represents what is now always limp when he looks at her body undulating with each gasped breath as contained by that tight commemorative shirt.
“Until the End of Time” is stretched across the shirt, condemning their inadequate futures, intertwined as they’ll most likely be. A life sentence on death row.
They leave the fast food restaurant, alternating their bathroom visits as if their Large and King Size cups need lookouts. The only kindness witnessed: he holds the door while she exits, heading towards the driver’s side of the mid-80’s monstrosity they have commandeered. The plastic sheet replacing the driver’s window ripples while the door opens and might tear if she slams any harder. He continues to limp towards the car, gold chain threatening to strangle him if she’s not willing to. The drive home is probably peaceful; the calm before the storm that is forever blowing in their lives. Until the end of time.