Lawn Girl by Ben Tanzer

Lawn Girl is an chapter excerpt from Ben’s novella, My Fathers House (available here).

Lawn girl is sitting on the floor of her room and slowly rocking back and forth, her arms wrapped around her knees which are pulled-up to her chest. She is staring off into space. She is no longer crying.

The morning light is cutting through her bedroom window and her long honey streaked hair is glowing. She looks beautiful. She looks over at me, her face full of rage and pain.

“Get out,” she says, “please, just get the fuck out and don’t come back, ever.”

I start to say something, but she puts her hand-up and waves me off.

Maybe it’s best to rewind at this point.

I got home and I was spinning. I ran and felt calmer. I spoke to my mom and eventually I felt okay, okay enough. Still, I was feeling aimless, so I put on the television and began channel surfing. SportsCenter. Tony Robbins. QVC. Mindless all of it. And perfect. But then I stumbled into TNT and there it was, Running on Empty, and as I watched River Phoenix saying goodbye to his parents, knowing that he might never see them again, I started getting choked-up. I don’t want to be choked-up though and I don’t want to cry, can’t cry.

I turned off the television and headed out into the night. I meandered through the streets, past the GIANT supermarket and muffler shop where Pudgie’s Pizza was when we were kids, and then the AM/PM and Garrett’s Hardware store, through the parking lot next to CVS and into Thirsty’s.

I grabbed a spot at the end of the bar and ordered a Yuengling, and then another, and she was there, lawn girl, Jessie, smiling and dancing around and lovely, but I know it’s time, time to ignore her, time to be faithful, and time to let her know that whatever it is we have been up to, and whether there may or may not be strings attached, I’m all through with it, I have a wonderful wife and I’ve been acting out, drawn to her and to the cheating by a pull I don’t entirely get. And I think she’ll understand this, because we’re cool, and she’s cool. After three more beers the reasons behind this speech aren’t as clear to me though, and as I start to kiss her back at her apartment, I really want to believe it isn’t a big deal, but then I open my eyes, and she opens hers, and there’s a look, an intensity that scares me and I pull back. This is a mistake, a terrible mistake and this thing is definitely a big deal to her.

“What?” she says.

“Uh.”

“What? C’mon, you can say it.”

“I’m not sure this is right,” I say, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

She doesn’t speak at first.

“You’re the guy I’ve been looking for,” she says with an urgency that surprises me, “and you’re the guy I was always looking for. I measure everyone against the idea of you.”

What?

I try to speak.

“No,” she says, “don’t say anything, I know I just sounded crazy, but I don’t care. Can we just get back to what we’re doing? Please.”

“No.”

“We have something here,” she says, “and you can’t deny that. And I’ve helped you. I’ve helped you.”

She’s growing more intense and I’m scared. I don’t know how I am supposed to get out of this.

“You have helped me,” I say, “and I appreciate it, but it’s done now.”

“You’re a user,” she says, “and a jerk, and fuck you if you think you are leaving here tonight.”

I don’t know what to do or say. I’m desperate.

“You liked my father, didn’t you, and not just liked him,” I suddenly blurt out.

Where did that came from?

She gets up. She walks around the room. She’s crying.

She sits down on the floor.

“That’s not true,” she finally says, “but even if I had, so what, he wasn’t a prick like you.”

And then for a long time we sit there, me on her bed, and her on the floor, rocking back and forth. She is staring off into space. She is no longer crying.

The morning light is cutting through her bedroom window and her long honey streaked hair is glowing. She looks beautiful.

And I fully realize for the first time that I am here and with her because of the connection to my dad, however tenuous or warped it may be.

She looks over at me, her face full of rage and pain.

“Get out,” she says, “please, just get the fuck out and don’t come back, ever.”

I start to say something, but she puts her hand-up and waves me off.

And I leave.

Ben Tanzer has been called the high priest of pop. He is the author of the novels; Lucky Man, Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, and You Can Make Him Like You, as well as several collections of short fiction.

His books are available on Amazon here (UK) or here (US).

His novella, My Father’s House, is available directly from the publisher, here.

You can visit Ben online here, at This Blog Will Change Your Life.

One thought on “Lawn Girl by Ben Tanzer

  1. Pingback: Ben Tanzer Double Feature | Solarcide: a writers hideout.

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