The elevator doors shut with a dull thud. It rings for another floor.

The air is cold. I see my breath.

It’s dark in the corners where the uncovered bulbs can’t reach with their feeble light.

No one is there. Just cars– dinosaurs of the new age feeding off of the remnants of the bones of their predecessors. Our invention. Parked in neat rows, one after the other. Compact, sub-compact, not compact and squeezed in between their juniors.

Inconsiderate soccer moms. Men with inadequacy issues. Too big for the spot, crushing, too close.

I hear the scrape of rubber soles over the clamor of my heels. It’s a soft, swishing echo and it fills the open air of the parking garage.

Grease stains on the floor. Antifreeze. Pools of the leavings from our metal monsters. Their exoskeltons rust, collect dust, are shiny new. They wear banners for our politics, for our pride in our children, for bands that have touched us.

My car wears nothing. It’s black, clean, mid-sized, moderate. It beeps at me and the lights flash as I approach, my finger on the button to disarm it.

I smell you, gin-breathed and radiant warmth. I can’t turn around for your hands around my throat. I slide down against my car, keys in my hand, banging on the glass.

Your hands are too tight; I can’t get a breath. I buck and scratch. The paint is chipped. Dings and key scratches. My nails break on the handle of the door as I try desperately to drag the door open.

So close. So close to home, to safety, the haven of my dinosaur. It sits like a bewildered dog, obedient and awaiting my next command. But it’s helpless.

My face flushes; your fingers dig in. You stink. My lungs feel like they’re going to explode.

My skirt is up; your hand is there, cold and prodding.

Darkness is closing in on the periphery of my vision and your hand squeezes tighter on my throat. The air puffs solid from your mouth. You’re tearing me apart, but I can barely feel it for how light my head is.

I drop my eyes, drop to my knees. The car is cold on my cheek, tearing it as I slide down to the cement floor. My eyes are open, I feel the force of the wind on them, but I see nothing. I smell gravel. I feel you pushing inside. I feel grit on my skin, but I don’t care anymore. I hear nothing but the gust of your breath, the grunts.

It all fades away, slips off into a dream on wisps of air as light as condensation on a cold day in the parking garage.


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