9/2/11

Molly Prentiss


Jesus Plays the Violin

On the subway platform he’s doing crazy movements with his head. He’s jerking his head and he’s playing the violin. I look at him for so long. Put all the coins I have in his violin case, which is rainbow. I wish I had more coins. All I’ve got are bills, twenties and one hundreds. I am looking at him and thinking: what is going on here? Because he is telling me (with his face) that we are already something that we are not. We have already been in bed together, he’s saying with his eyes. We have already kissed a thousand times. What he’s doing with the violin is ultimately insane, he is playing notes I have never heard before, and they sound like they are coming out of his ear, out of his chin or out of his ear, and at the same time he is managing to maintain this look he’s giving me, the face he’s giving me, the face that says we were in bed together.

Eventually I realize that I am telling him (with my face), “We are in this together,” or else “We are actually IN BED together” or “Under this, I’m naked.” The most intimate moments are in bed, when both people’s breath smells bad in general but good to the other person. His breath smells that way, and I know because when I ask him something and he says something back and I forget it right away or never hear it in the first place because his breath smells like we’re in bed. I made 2.6 million dollars today in a stock trade, but right now it seems like nothing compared to what’s in that violin case, those intimate quarters and a couple of lost dimes.

Later, after I remember that I have a husband, I will regret what I do now, which is pick up that rainbow violin case and hold it against my chest. I can’t help it; it’s something that I do. I hold things so close that I’m too close, I get too close, and suddenly I’m up against a pillar in the ancient subway station, the one downtown where all the ceiling paint is ripping off in huge sheets. I’m up against this pillar and the rainbow violin case is pressed between us, me and the violin guy, and he’s both fighting me and kissing me at the same time, with his eyes. He’s saying “What are you doing lady” and he’s saying “Jesus Jesus” and I wonder if it’s because he’s religious or because he’s having a religious moment or just because he likes to say Jesus. Then I wonder if he is Jesus, because only Jesus could make me feel like 2.6 million dollars was a waste of my time, like my underwear is flooded with emotion, like I am both floating and bleeding at the same time. He doesn’t know it now, but the violinist will cost me a fortune. I will feel him breathing on me forever.

The work of Molly Prentiss has appeared in Mud Luscious, Fourteen Hills, La Petite Zine, We Still Like, Staccato Fiction, Miracle Monocle, and elsewhere. She was a 2010-11 Writer in Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She lives in Brooklyn, New York as well as on the internet: mollyprentiss.blogspot.com.

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