Ribbon

Pauli Josa

Pauli Josa

(First in a series of three ghost stories)

Ribbon

He married her in candlelight. A silver ribbon round her neck. Their love in flame. And the house and the cars and kids and the silver ribbon never left her neck. Silked velvet ribbon. Crushed in places, held high on her neck with a clasp of bone. He knew because he studied that ribbon, over coffee, over date night, over her making love. He could tell its everly crease and how the light softened over edge.

Him asking her, take it off.

“You’ll be sorry.” She says. Sometimes hazeleye laughing, sometimes eyes in storm.

Times he demanded, angry. Blood shot through eyes.

“You’ll be sorry,” clear grey tears. Fall like hourglass seconds.

PTA meetings go by, and the days. Going by. And cereal bowls rotate through the sink. He watches her ribbon to plot and scheme against it. This ribbon, a steel rebellion against him. He must have it.

Take it off – the years of denial crush in his throat.

“You’ll be sorry.” Her eyes pearl.

And the clouds hang dead, pale shroud the bulging moon. The branches scrape, scrape against night fall. Across the bed her breath rhythms the universe and he reaches. Reaches across to pull the clasp and her eyelash quivers,

The ribbon limp in his fingers.

A long sigh

as her head

moves

falls

rolls away

the night hush whisper    y o u’ l l    b e       s   o r  r    y

Her soft lips vanish into burgundy dark.



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