Summer Breeze Kisses - Addison Moore
When I was a girl I’d whisper my wishes and dreams into a jar, screw the lid on tight, and collect them all for someday. My world once had everything—powder blue skies, starry nights lit up like a pirate’s treasure, and wide open meadows I’d run through while taking in vats of fresh North Carolina air. Then on a dime, the sun went dark, the stars faded to nothing, and I lacked the oxygen I needed to breathe. The night that my life changed forever, I opened the lid on that silly jar and let all of my wishes and dreams evaporate to nothing into the cold, cruel world I was abandoned in.
In retrospect, I can see the ominous pattern my life is mapping out. My world seems to fracture at least once a decade, and, seeing that I’ve just crested the horizon on twenty-seven, I’d say I’m overdue. I’m not a superstitious person by nature, but when you have a track record of misfortune it makes you uneasy enough to glance over your shoulder now and again just waiting for the other shoe to drop.
The first fracture came when I was just a child. My father left us when I was seven and my sister only two. He called me Little Bit, a play on Elizabeth, and I believed that was my true moniker to the point of correcting my teacher and classmates. My name was Little Bit because my father never lied. And it was so on that day he came to me with tears in his eyes and said he was leaving and never coming back. I stood stoic next to my mother, my sister dangling from her hip, and listened as he poured out instructions over me. Make sure Momma is never alone. Protect your little sister. And write me. Even though he said he would never get my letters—I did. I wrote feverishly. Every year I would designate a different color paper, different textures—one year they were all in the shape of a leaf. After a while I thought maybe when he came back I would string them out like party decorations and the house would be festive, dressed in the pastel sheets I bathed in tears. But he never came, the party never happened, and all of the letters remain entombed in a box where my father will never read them just as he said.
I wish I could say the next fracture happened as unexpectedly as the first, but this time all of the signs were laid out in front of me by way of wandering eyes, groping hands that belonged to the men my mother dragged home like pigeons she baited with a box trap. The night before my eighteenth birthday was the day the universe laid a bruise over my existence and burnt my world to cinders once again. The first fracture tore my heart in half. The second broke my spirit. I remember the last moment before I walked through that fire. The dance class I taught had just let out. The room cleared, and standing by the door was the brother of one of the girls. Holt Edwards had eyes so luminescent he could light up a dark alley at midnight as bright as a football stadium.
He tilted into me filled with all the adolescent angst you could ask for and said, “Izzy Sawyer, you are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.” He kicked the floor, and his shoe squeaked before he walked out of the room as if nothing happened. It was the last bit of sunshine in my world before I was forced to drink a bitter cup full of vinegar and bile, and to this day when I think of that horrible night, Holt’s beautiful eyes still shine through the darkness like a distant ray of hope.
And now, here we are, all these years later on my bed with nothing but a bottle of whiskey splitting the difference. Holt Edwards looks at me expectantly—his eyes slit with wanting, his entire face glazed over with lust for me.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Maybe.” I feel it coming like an animal senses an earthquake rumbling, long before the tremor ever hits the surface.
Holt digs into me with those unearthly pale eyes. “What has you running scared?”
And there it is. I take another bitter hit from the bottle and let the fire race all the way down to my gut.
“So—you want all of my secrets on a platter.” I