“Net”

–after viewing Andrew Wyeth’s “Day Dream”

 

Even looking at Fiona from my gray puffed-up armchair, I feel an intense need to press my whole body into hers until we make one form.

"Alvaro, I want to hear you spit,” Fiona says.

I spit in the cup at my side.

“Again,” she says.

Fiona thinks the net around our bed separates us from the rest of the world.

I make a big show of swishing around out all the winter days, the dust and sand of our yard, and the grit of the world outside our room. I spit into the Rockland Aquarium coffee mug on the coffee-ringed table her mother gave us.

"Good enough?" I ask.

"Yes. Get it all out of your system. All the dust. Wash it all out, then come to bed," Fiona says, turning over and around repositioning her head next to the lobster baking dish we use as an ashtray, little white ankle socks to the sky.

I walk over and pass the funnies under our bed's white, lace veil.

“Here’s your paper," I say.

Everything in our room is white: the walls, the woven blanket, the pillows and our snowy sheets with their pattern of fragile carnations, “gillyflowers” as my father used to call them. Even the paintings on the wall are three images of fog over Penobscot Bay.

Fiona blows smoke.

The wind in the yard is blowing the old bell I rigged up on wooden stilts. It rings like a church service, like we are on the hour, but we are here, doing our dance.

"You ready for me?" I ask.

The music is the wind hissing through the hole in the left side of the rotten, dust-covered window frame. Bursts of salty air turn the blades of the fan above and churn the brown splinters of wood below.

I look over at the net, the woman, and she is still there. Silent. Whistling. The funnies open where they fell beside her outstretched hand as she lapsed into sleep.

The lace curtains in the window behind the bed cast a paisley pattern of shadows across her shins. Her right foot is curled under her left ankle. Her right knee is bent slightly forward, and her big thigh is fully lit.

I keep my legs on the stool in front of my chair and listen as the air sliding through Fiona’s lips whistles with the hole in the wind.

I close my eyes.

Sometimes I go out and lie in my boat upon the bank where I can hear the waves collapse against the shore, and, I swear, it is exactly like listening to Fiona as she sleeps.

Jessica Kinnison

About Jessica Kinnison

Jessica Kinnison holds an MFA in fiction and travel writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh where she taught creative writing in the Allegheny County Jail, as part of the Words Without Walls program. Her stories have appeared in Juked, Pif Magazine, Fiction Southeast, The Fourth River and The Southern Humanities Review, among others. Her story "Bone on Bone" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. Her play “Baby” won the Southwest Theatre and Film Association Short Play Contest in 2008. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Jackson Free Press, The Clarion Ledger, and Art Voices Magazine, among others. She serves as Operations Manager and Director of the Wellness University at Project Lazarus, a nonprofit transitional housing facility for people living with HIV/ AIDS. She currently teaches creative writing in the Project Lazarus Wellness University, at Orleans Parish Prison as part of the Humanities: Orleans Parish Education Project (H:OPE), and the Loyola University New Orleans Writing Institute.