Break Glass if Broken is up on the November Story Gallery at ERWA’s excellent website. The Erotica Readers and Writers Association remains one of the best sources for quality erotica online, and it’s free. Updated monthly, the Gallery is always worth a visit and their treasury houses years of superb stories by many of the best writers around (including some of my stuff, written under other names).
I’m very pleased they asked to post this story about a very damaged woman trying to find a way to survive, and find a piece of happiness in her very lonely world.
I should have known better. I should have stayed home, remained alone. I should have known better.
Once you are an adult, every story begins in the middle. Mine is no different. The unpleasant details of what had come before do not need sharing, though they had brought me to New York where I could hide. My job allowed me to disappear. A copy editor’s work is essential, yet never as important as that of the writer. This suited me.
In a gray, padded cubicle, reliable words and rules of usage occupied my monitor, or filled the space on rectangular pages. Boxed in, I was invisible. Safe. Alone.
Weeknights, I rode the subway to a tiny square apartment with metal bars on the windows, and sealed myself behind a door fitted with five deadbolts. I watched the world on television, or read about it online. I ate my frozen meals from plastic or cardboard containers and owned no silverware or china, no knives to cut. No glass or china to break. I possessed nothing I did not consider disposable.
Weekends, I wandered museums where I could lose myself in the crowds. Walking beside handsome students, listening to docent lectures, I took notes as if I belonged in their cozy, boisterous groups. I fell into step beside family units, close enough to smell the baby-fresh scent of the shampoo mothers used on children’s hair. So close that, when the crowd swelled along with my need for contact, my hand could drift over a father’s fingers as he held his child’s hand upon an escalator or railing.
I reached for elevator buttons at the same time others did, on purpose, knowing my shrugged and smiled apology would be accepted. Knowing those I accosted would not suspect my longing for the touch of another’s hand on mine, however fleeting or unwanted. Listening to strangers’ conversations, I would pretend they spoke to me, composing witty replies no one ever heard.