Out There

Contributor: James Babbs

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Out there in the country away from all the lights the night sky littered with countless stars. I held her close to me and felt the pounding of her heart. When I kissed her on the lips and stuck my tongue in her mouth she sucked in her breath and I laughed. I kept trying to tell her how much I loved her but she acted like she didn't understand. I laughed again and pointed at the sky. I told her how fucking crazy it was with all the millions and billions of stars for someone not to believe there was another planet somewhere capable of sustaining intelligent life. Millions and billions of stars I said. That meant billions and trillions of planets. I told her how some of the stars we saw had died eons ago but they were so far away their light was only just now reaching us. It was strange I said. Something so long dead still shining so bright. Then I placed the gun against her head and pulled the trigger. She collapsed softly into my arms. I held her against me and felt the weight of her body. When I laid her in the grass I started to sing—

I see a red door and I want it painted black
no colors any more I want them to turn black--

I dug the grave among the trees where the dead leaves were thick like a layer of carpeting over the ground. When I was finished I walked the two miles back to my truck and sat in the front seat looking at the stars through the windshield. I told myself this would be the last time. The same way I did the time before and the time before that. I started the truck and drove to the Hideaway-this little dive bar out on the edge of town. I ordered a shot and washed it down with beer. It was almost closing time. One of the working girls sitting at the far end of the bar tried to catch my eye but I wasn't interested. I had a bottle waiting for me at home. I kept it in the cupboard above the stove. I really liked it in there. When I reached up there to get it the glass always felt so warm.

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James Babbs continues to live and write from the same small Illinois town where he grew up. He has published hundreds of poems over the past thirty years and, more recently, a few short stories. James is the author of Disturbing The Light(2013) & The Weight of Invisible Things(2013).
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