Dictionaries are filled with words used to insult women: whore, tart, and tramp, for starters. But no word equals slut for its power to degrade and wound one half of the population. Interestingly, there’s no male equivalent of the word slut. –Trish Bolton

It’s my firm belief that every party has two possible formations, but only one theme. The first is a gathering of friends who come together searching for answers to life’s mysteries. The downside is, this type of party can get pretentious fast. Not my favorite. The second grouping—the one haunted by people like you and me—is a mix of acquaintances and strangers trying to do the same thing while simultaneously working hard to forget all the pesky questions. Either way, everybody wants to be fixed by somebody else, and alcohol is always involved.

I discover you, in the latter group around 3 AM, occupying the dark-night-of-the-soul space that rests just between deep thought and numbness.

I am tangled up in sheet…and you. But too soon, the rude sun streams through the blinds. And the most pressing question returns:

What have I done?

Again.

Although I know they all come with their own sets of problems, I have a passion for confusing people with solutions.

Independent of these worries, my lips find your neck. I inhale your scent; remnants of cigarette smoke and cologne—a little sandalwood, some spice, a whiff of freshly mowed grass.

You sure do smell like answers.

Through walls thin as conscience, I hear the pop of my roommate’s toast. I open one eye to see your lids, closed, and just as her newly browned bread wants its butter, I crave you. Yes, I need to devour you, whoever you are.

Socrates?

Plato?

Kierkegaard?

Camus?

I chew on your lobe, mumble drowsily, “What’s your name again?”

“Cal,” you say, “my name’s Cal.”

“Cal,” I repeat, “Hey, there. Hi.

“Hey yourself,” you say. You open your eyes.

Greener side of hazel. Flecks of gold.

And although I know exactly how this ends, I am ready to begin.

Again.

Photo Credit: andyversus Flickr via Compfight cc




Paula R. Hilton

Paula R. Hilton is a novelist who explores the ways deeply flawed people can still be forces of good in the world. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from the University of New Orleans. Her fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion website, and NPR’s This I Believe, as well as in a number of literary journals, including The Tulane Review, Kalliope, and Ellipsis. Hilton’s debut novel, Little Miss Chaos, received the Kirkus star for books of exceptional merit. The novel was also a short-listed finalist in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition and selected as a 2016 Best Indie Teen Read by Kirkus. She lives in Florida with her husband, son, and daughter and is working on Daphne and the Delirious Girls, her second book for young adults.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *