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"Grand Paradise" • Foxing (by Rachel M. Beavers)

She’s a romantic, but only when the sun’s coming up golden and she hasn’t managed to pass out yet. She’ll try with me, tell me she loves me again, spend six hundred dollars on Amazon for a walking pad because I mentioned I was tired of sitting at my desk, pour me another drink, rip pages out of a book of poems and read to me until her voice breaks.

If she doesn’t make it that long, she’s with someone else, her mouth pressed to another girl’s in the corner, in the empty bathtub, passed out in our bed with her head on my pillow. I always find her, and all the hope settles in the soles of my feet, weighing me down until I can’t lift my legs. I stand there for hours, staring through the gates of heaven, electricity running too prickly around my neck. The current seeks metal, hunts for the ring around my finger, burns a permanent mark on my left hand. Freedom looks so scary from where I stand, helpless, closing the door between us and running my fingers down the grain of the wood.

I press my ear to the wall, sometimes, if I want to torture myself. I want to lock myself in a cage next to our bed, to watch everything, to hear every noise she makes. But if I think too hard I can’t see anything, and if I look too hard I can’t hear anything, and if I listen too hard I can’t speak at all. My muzzle, the hand over my mouth, the stitches through my lips. I’m screaming her name and it comes out silent. My throat burns with the effort.

The mornings are cold, and I wake up alone on the floor more often than I don’t. She cooks pancakes when she emerges, just for me, and there’s a package on the front porch. Amazon does next-day delivery. And it was only yesterday morning, after all, that she loved me.

Rachel M. Beavers is a Los Angeles-based writer and insomniac. Her previous work can be found in HAD and The Daily Drunk. Find her on Bluesky whenever there’s an earthquake


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