Abstract Magazine International | Non-Breed by Stephanie Anderson
Abstract seeks fine art in all forms that engages with both the crises and joys of our shared human condition. We seek art that engages the edge of now; we seek to explore a future forward zeitgeist with a respect for the gifts of the past. We are looking for both established and emerging artists across a broad range of genres. Our criterion is quality.
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Non-Breed by Stephanie Anderson

22 Feb 2018, Posted by admin in Short Fiction

Art: Las Memorias que me Habitan by Marta Bonjour @martabonjour

NON-BREED

Monday night was the first time stepping into the pool hurt me.  There was a swimming class beside me, swim caps like moonlit skulls in the clouds outside.  A beautiful, indifferent lifeguard watched from the laddered chair silhouetted in the wide window.  That region deep between my thighs, despite having melted to a tail, rang like a rhythmic blow by sledgehammer.  This new explosion of nerves caught me by surprise, so instead of swimming the length of the pool in a breath, I sprang back out and let my tail melt away.

The switch from scales to flesh was a release from my loins flaring with each hammering, bursting heartbeat.  I opened my legs.  The relief was sweet as iced summer lemonade, and I lay there with closed eyes and labored, tired breath.

The swim coach asked me if I was okay.  I was fine, I said, I just had to rest off a cramp.  He knew that was a bullshit excuse, that something made for swimming knew the meaning of the word.  I hoped he would not guess the reason for my position, for my pain.  He looked at me instead like we’d met on a street corner and I’d thrust a thinly clanking cup in his face, proclaiming hot devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ.  My blood burned with embarrassment, but it was too much effort to throw any shade back.

I listened to the children’s laughter, a familiar subterranean chorus.  Children swam here often, all of them awestruck at my tail, an LED light show in the blue and white crystalline water.  They nonetheless kept a respectful distance because it’s impolite to just touch someone’s tail, but more especially to ask, in the natural child-like tendency to indulge curiosity, why or how.  My peers were more practiced in pretending that I was just like them, even though, to most who did inquire, my tail was a draw for pity, rather than enchantment.

I befriended Kevin at the beach early in summer.  For seven weeks, we swam and laughed, took drinks at the beachside café.  One day, as we sat in the shallows, I let him touch me.  He was slow at first, but he wound up tracing the length of my tail.  His eyes became languid.  He then swept many circles with his fingers, and I noticed how quickly he breathed.  I was numb to his reaction.

“I’ve never even understood how fish fuck,” Kevin stated.

Technically I was not a fish.  How many times did I have to say it?

He leaned into me.  I swallowed; he was massaging the tender place where my skin thickened into scales.  “Well, I guess it’s lucky for you since fish can have nice, pretty legs too.”

I knew I would never desire Kevin.  It was a lifelong disappointment: I didn’t know the song of the human body that men and women share in passion.  Watching Kevin’s eagerness, I remembered I could never tell a man I’d never want him because those desires weren’t in my makeup.  Fear constricted my throat and I wriggled away.

It was an August afternoon, but Kevin’s hands on my waist were cramped and cold.  “You’re going to like it, trust me.”

Then his kiss sucked the air from my chest as we rolled in the shallows, my hair swirling into my mouth, my voice a space-scream of bubbles, before he ceased thrashing and shoved me back onto the sand.  My blue-green scales melted to water-beaded flesh, scraped from the rocky sea floor as Kevin pushed my legs apart.  Now he knew why I didn’t return his touches or kisses, though that was fine, just fine, he would find another way inside, and he did.  He took a pocketknife out, lowered it between my legs, and in flashes of lightning and fire in my head and pelvis, he gave me the slash which I felt in the pool, in muted rhythms, that Monday night.

Crossbreeding is still impossible, but Kevin had finally excluded me from either side of that decidedly twisted union.


About the author:

Stephanie Anderson is a third-year MFA student at Butler University in Indianapolis.

Art: Las Memorias que me Habitan by Marta Bonjour @martabonjour

In the artist’s words:

Marta Bonjour is an artist from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She started painting in Pigüé, her city of birth, when she was a kid and with time and experience has become a very renowned artist. Her specialty is in abstract surrealism, and she has painted huge polyptychs and murals as well as organized art workshops. Her artwork has been exhibited all over the world. She has participated in international exhibitions and biennales in the USA, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey, Monaco, and more.

Nowadays she paints at her Atelier in Pigüé, a place that has become an important cultural center for the town. Here school and guest visits as well as exhibitions of her work are organized.

 

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