Short story: “Insight”

>I personally don’t think this is that good a story, if it’s even really a “story.” It’s more of an emotional snapshot, I think, peppered with a bunch of details from my life and others’ lives. My stories are a lot like dreams — they’re the most cohesive narratives you can possibly get after throwing everything you’ve encountered in the past few days into a blender. They’re like word/idea smoothies!

I haven’t written creatively in a long time. I need to get back into it.


I see magic in his eyes.

When I look into them, I can see the world. I see all of time – past, present and future.

I look into his irises and see the Rocky Mountains in the west; men with Air Force Academy bodies and simple taste; buffets.

I see the identity crisis that comes with being caught between the bright lights of the Big Apple across the Hudson and the street fights down south in Greenville, between ghetto Spanish restaurants serving pollo guisado guaranteed to hit the spot and overpriced al fresco eateries that serve their grub on barely washed dishes in downtown Manhattan.

I see road trips, wedding bells, fantastic arguments, children with our faces, and two-story houses with bay windows and a big backyard.

I see life and I see death.

I tried avoiding him and the grave eternity in his eyes. I did my best when I saw his latest car (he’s owned three in the short time I’ve known him) parked outside an auto-body shop. I hid from him when I saw him rounding the corner and heading to Starbucks. I secretly cheered every time I learned through online social networks that he was taking a long trip to Japan, France or South Africa.

I was doing a terrific job until one day, he called me.

“Hey,” he said. “I’m not doing anything today. Would you like to hang out with me? Maybe we could walk around Downtown New York. There’s a flea market I’ve been wanting to check out.”

Stupidly, I said yes. I let the lousy jerk talk me into taking the Port Authority Trans-Hudson train trans the Hudson and standing in the street for at least ten minutes like a lost or mindless child as I awaited his arrival. I was nerved to begin with because I prefer spending two to three hours with him in the evenings but he always manipulates me into spending four or five hours with him in the early afternoon. What an awful person.

Finally, I saw him coming up the block and couldn’t help but smile when I noticed he was wearing the shirt I bought him. The tallest man in town – the man who could convince anyone to see things his way without saying a word – was striving to please me. It made me feel powerful.

We greeted each other with great affection and amazed everyone with how we were matched. We walked down the street side-by-side as we visited various shops and stands and I successfully evaded his gaze. I grew bolder as the day went. I even held his hand and wrapped my arms around him while we looked through old records at a music store. I ran my fingers through his hair as we waited in a queue so I could purchase a John Mayer CD I found in the discount section.

It was finally my turn and the cashier scanned my item. “That’ll be six dollars,” the merchant said. I reached into my wallet.

Suddenly, he said, “No, that’s okay, I got it.”

I instinctively turned towards him to protest and his bright eyes caught me. Although I turned away as quickly as I could, our eye-to-eye transaction lasted long enough for me to see what I had always known: I had a lot of work to do to justify his love.

“Thank you,” I said.

“No problem,” he said. “I’mma wine and dine you ‘cause you my girlfriend.”

“Well said. Nice to see your Chilltown side come out.”

He laughed and kissed my forehead. I loved him, so I stood on my tippy-toes and gave him a soft peck on the lips. And then I walked out hand-in-hand with a man I could barely stand to look at, wishing I was brave enough to deserve him.


About Summer Dawn Hortillosa

Summer Dawn Hortillosa is a journalist specializing in arts and entertainment. Among other things, she is also an award-winning playwright, director, singer-songwriter and actress. Her work has been seen in The Jersey City Independent, The Jersey Journal and other publications.
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