Their Days Are Numbered is a new year-long project authored by the collective Entropy community. It is a collaborative online novel written by the Entropy community on a weekly basis. A different author will write the next “chapter” each week, to be posted every Tuesday, following the previous post from the previous week, and following a very limited set of guidelines (that each author has one week to write the next piece after the previous week’s installment goes up, that installments should range between 150-1500 words, and that pieces should somehow incorporate a real-life occurrence, current event, news item, or other happening from that week).
Follow the entire “novel” here: Their Days Are Numbered.
The thirty-sixth installment is presented this week by Carribean Fragoza.
By then, I’d called your name so many times that I’d finally come back to that Marc Anthony song in which he watches his own reflection in the mirror, crying. I’d called your name so many times that all of those songs rang true; even the reggaeton songs about smacking booties took new existential meaning that cycled, as always, back to you. Dale dale dale dale dale…
What else was there to give if I’d offered you everything.
I pictured myself as Marc Anthony (circa end of his marriage with J-Lo), observing for hours his/my broken up face made more cadaverous, eyes more sunken, mouth cracked into wails tapered into coughing sobs. Many trite conversationalists are apt to remark on how crying often resembles laughter.
What kind of bullshit is that.
See a face shattering against terror and it will in no way resemble laughter. See a face turned down on the beach and you need not see how the surf has washed the child’s face of all expression and you will know that it had not been a face of laughter in its last moments. See a face though you turn away as quickly as you can when you see he is still fully dressed, his sneakers still strapped to his small feet now nudging into the sand with each lapping wave.
Might my own condition also be considered joyous?
I’d not moved much for days. I don’t know how many had passed since I’d run out of voice in wait of your return before my mother broke me from my lull. She said, how nice to have you sitting in one place for more than a second. How nice to see you at peace.
I finally wrenched my head to look at her. Her face also looked like Marc Anthony’s. Hollowed, chasmal smile. Large teeth barely shielded by a membrane of skin. A dim, eager light burned deep in her sockets. Was she actually smiling? Or grimacing? I could not immediately tell nor did I have time to think on how we’d come to resemble one another by sharing resemblance to another person we were in no way related to.
My rage ignited so immediately. I could have set all of the upholstery on fire. Could have bashed her porcelain figurines off the doilied coffee table. Could have, out of nowhere, found a torch or candelabra with real burning candles, like Louise in that scene from “Interview with the Vampire” and just burned everything to the ground. I’d have no time to dance my liberation dance with plantation slaves against the backdrop of flames.
Instead, all of my irregular limbs jammed up into desperate jagged tangles tumbled out of the house looking for places to stab. I flung myself across the landscape hoping to cut open the earth with my sharp Marc Anthony face.
Carribean Fragoza is a writer and artist from South El Monte, CA. She has published fiction and poetry in publications such as BOMB Magazine, Huizache, Palabra Literary Magazine and Emohippus. Her arts/culture reviews and essays have been published in online national and international magazines such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, KCET Artbound, Letras Libres, Culture Strike, and Tropics of Meta. She is founder and co-director of the South El Monte Art Posse (SEMAP), a multi-disciplinary arts collective and is currently editor of KCET Departures.