Tag Archives: first person

the pier: installment the fifth

the pier at sunset

We walked home at sunset.

The boardwalk was clear of men in black and we crossed to the shop. You needed to watch out for loud button-down shirts as well. They think it helps them fit in with the tourists. It really makes them look as out of touch as all of them are. I didn’t want to be a part of that world. My mother didn’t want me to be either. She offered to take care of Rickie for me, swore she wouldn’t let them get to her.

Dad made us both safe for a while, but credit never lasts long with loan sharks.

My beautiful son. Life was supposed to be perfect. I was pregnant right out of high school, which is normal enough these days, and I thought Anthony wanted to get away, same as me. We planned it all out our senior year, the price of land in Oregon, the total responsibility we would take for our lives. That all changed when Richie was born.

His fucking father got to him. They showed up to the birth coked up. They named him without my input. They informed me I was marrying Anthony and moving in the Delucci family home.

I tried to take Ritchie and run, but Mom wouldn’t let me. I couldn’t stay there. Anthony betrayed me.

And wants me dead for the money I took on my way out the door.

Home. Gerard and I bound up the steps, two at a time. The street buzzes behind us, clients in and out of the shop, tourists on their way from beach to club, family fun to dinner hell.

I do not miss holidays with my “family”.

Our room beckons, sun setting outside of the small window, bed made. Gerard had fussed around, making things ready before I came home. All traces of our madness were gone, wiped away like the stupid reasons I used to take out my anger on him.

“It was my fault, Ali. I’m sorry. Stupid picture. But I don’t get to do much script work like that, and it looks so good–”

I walk up and wrap my arms around him. The muscles are right beneath his skin, taut and sinewy. “Because you are a great artist.” I lift my head from his chest and kiss his lips, savoring the lingering taste of salt. It tastes different than the crust you get hiking in the desert from water laced with minerals.

We spent awhile in the desert before moving east. For a minute it was magic. Gerard stole a Jeep on our way out of town and it served us well until it ran out of gas. The nights were cold, but we snuggled together and the best of it. Once the Jeep died we had to walk until we found someone we could trust to help us. My lips felt like they were going to fall off before we reached Lake Mead and a fresh buffet of vehicles Gerard could steal. Anthony provided the gas money. I’d originally planned to fly as far away from all of them as I could.

My angel of a taxi driver informed me they would be able to trace me, even if I paid cash, because of the new regulations. And so we stole a Jeep and headed out to the desert. Gerard swore he was looking for adventure. I think he was looking to get in my pants. I was still in the crappy shirt and yoga pants they give you as a recovering mother in the hospital, and so upset all my troubles spilled out of me on the ride. He knew I was easy.

But that doesn’t matter now. Now I am encircled in his arms, safe, home, happy. Hunted. Lost. But happy.

We fall to the bed and he tries to speak but I put my lips to his and eat the words, filling a bit more emptiness inside my heart with the love from his tongue against mine, falling into the nothingness of one bed, one heart, one soul. For now, we are the only people in the world, the sounds of a busy summer evening on the Virginia Beach strip muted by the closed window, the sunset filtered through dirt and scratches, making child’s sketches of light on our bodies. For a moment I think of Anthony despite myself, to wonder at how it never felt like this with him, never felt so connected. We were together such a long time, our fathers determined to have their legacies live on in the way they wanted.

Gerard touches my face and they all fall away, he moves his other hand down my body and I melt, I massage his neck as our kiss goes deeper and he moans in my mouth. We press against each other and restraint dies, hands become frantic and clothes suddenly cease to exist. The evening comes, and the night after it, and we remain in the bed, remain with each other, affirm the life we have created, its goodness, its rightness.

When sleep comes, I am still wrapped in his arms, and the letter stays forgotten in my pocket, somewhere thrown on the floor.


For earlier story see:

installment the first

installment the second

installment the third

installment the fourth

the pier: installment the third

The Pier

installment the first

installment the second

My small tremors do not alert the clerk and I move around towards the front awning to make sure he is still in the room behind the front desk. The coast is clear and I open the front door and slide in, letting out my held breath in a measured sigh when I get through without my bag catching or the door slamming. I breathe in quickly, and clamp my lips shut so the growls of my stomach can’t escape. I smell the yeast in the bagels, but not the cheese. I wish I had time to get a cup of the freshly brewed coffee too, but then I would be a mess if things go bad and I have to run. Thin hotel coffee cups do not travel well in the best of circumstances.

I flip open my messenger bag and start tossing bagels and little plastic cups of cream cheese in, looking to the front desk for any signs of life. The coast remains clear, maybe the clerk decided to pleasure himself in the early morning hours. It works out for me. I throw the flap back down on my pack and head to the door.

“Hey! What are YOU doing in here?”

Time to run.

My bag slaps against my thighs and I hope my bagels don’t get crushed by the movement. I smash my hands against the glass door and get outside as footfalls almost make it to me.


Well, at least that trick worked. I run back towards the pier, wanting to reclaim my home base and hide. Once I duck underneath the wooden slats that clod from the hotel will never be able to find me. I guess he remembered me from the other times I gleaned breakfast from his fine establishment. Shops opened their doors as I passed, getting ready for another day of tourists. The sun is above the horizon line now and I wish I had time to dig my shades out of the bag. Light permeates everything and manages to sting me even as I run. So I keep looking at the ground.

Glancing up to calibrate how far I’d made it down Main Street, I realize I missed my turn. I stop, almost falling over from my bag bouncing against me. I can’t hear any foot falls behind me, the world is filled with the scraping sounds of displays moving to the outside of stores. I dig my sunglasses out of my bag and put them on.

the pier at mid-day

Sweet relief. Except for the smear.

Stupid me. I should’ve looked while I stole.

Stupid danish.

I throw it on the street beside me and turn back down towards the water. I have to clean out my bag before it gets any worse. I think about going home. Just because Gerard couldn’t understand my upset does not mean he is a bad guy. He loved me enough to get the hell out of Vegas.

Walking towards the pier, I decide to wait for him to find me. Or the mafia. It’s more prevalent in Vegas than you would think, don’t let yourself be swerved by the hype. There is a smell of corruption laying over a city the mob has a hand in. It’s always there, an acrid stink of lost innocence and dead bodies.

I would become one of them if I went back. My mother survived for awhile because my father left a strong enough reputation behind, and she allowed Anthony to see our son. I don’t agree. I should’ve brought my boy with me. His father was bred to lie.

The pier fills my vision now, baked by the sun and full of people, the diehards from the early morning hours displaced by the first wave of tourists who pay for access to the sea. The tide is in and quiet, lyrical, swirling foam covering my flip-flop clad feet. It calms me, prepares me for the task of cleaning. Best done under the pier where I can take my time.

Then I see him. Gerard. He sits with his arms hugging his legs, his chin resting on them. The tears on his face glisten in the few rays of sunlight that sneak underneath the wooden slats above.


Seven hundred more words, or there abouts. I’ll post the next set in a few days. Hope you enjoyed the read.

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