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Childhood Superstitions by Ray Printer Friendly

"Tell me something," I tell her.

"Something?"

"Anything."

I turn my head to look at her, and as I do, I hear the dry grass crinkle under the blanket we've spread out.

Fall nights out in the middle of nowhere, not quite cold enough to be considered cold, but definitely crisp. The air seems more clear than the nights of other seasons. It's like we can see every star in space.

"Something about you that I'll always remember," I say.

"I like when things line up," she tells me. "Like, when you're driving along, and there's a bunch of telephone poles, and then you turn a corner. And for just a second, if you look at it the right way, they all become one. I like that. Trees do that sometimes, or street lights."

I smile up at the night sky and I think about leaning over and kissing her. But this is okay, this is perfect right now, so I just smile up at the sky and be content.

"Now," she says, "I'll tell you something about you."

"Oh yeah?"

"You always step on cracks."

"Cracks?'

"Anytime there's a crack on the sidewalk or on the floor. You go out of your way to step on it."

My smile fades, the perfection is ruined. I don't feel like kissing anymore. I fight to keep from scratching the inside of my arms, the scars there, a nervous habit I've had ever since the burns healed. I hear a voice in the wind, telling me it should never have had me, it should have gotten an abortion.

"Why do you do that?" she asks.

"Habit," I tell her.



Posted under Short Stories on 1/18/11


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