Hot n' Spicy

 

by Juliana Goodman

 

This time he says it’s because of the tacos. Original, not the Hot n’ Spicy my dumb ass knows he likes. My dumb ass.

“I can make you something else.” I can.

“I don’t want anything else.” He lies.

He pulls on his dark gray jeans, then a black V-neck. Will he take the hoodie? That’s what I want to know.  I watch him grab it off the sofa and drape it over his shoulder. That’s how I know he’s not coming back. Not tonight.

“You’re leaving over tacos?” I ask, and then feel stupid because I sound aggressive and he hates that.

“Yeah, something like that. You’re such a bitch.” And then he’s gone out into the hot summer night, my heart stuffed in his back pocket with his wallet and a gold condom.

Stupid stupid stupid! I punch the wall and it hurts me. This is the part where I crawl around on the floor trying to cough up whatever it is inside me that causes this shit. If I can get it out, we can be happy. Or if I could go back in time, pick up everything I didn’t mean to drop. It’s always something so small! And then I get tired of crying and I love myself for a moment. My brown eyes and small hands, my oval breasts and flat stomach. I don’t need him. This shit is weak and he will not step foot back in this house. Not a toe! But then I buckle and think, who the fuck am I kidding?

At 3:30am, a fat girl at Walmart shows me where the Hot n’ Spicy taco seasoning is.

 

Juliana is a senior English major at Western Illinois University. She is the recipient of the 2012 and 2013 Cordell Larner Award in fiction, as well as the 2013 Cordell Larner award in poetry and the 2013 Lois C. Bruner award in Nonfiction.