Kristy Webster is simply eloquent…Again

I will be the first to confess I have always been a fan of Kristy’s. I was delighted when she won our $500 prize in the Peggy Dobbs Write of Passage contest, and relieved that I was not the judge–she won by popular acclaim. I believe she is destined for greatness, and for this reason we have her magical-realism novella, “CoCo” in our store, to help speed up the process. She cautioned me that this contest entry might be a little too dark. I remind all our readers, we at A Word with You Press are editors, not censors. Too dark? You decide. “Myself, I long for love and light, but must it come so cruel, and oh so bright?” (Leonard Cohen, the ballad of Joan of Arc)

Fourth of July, Redux

By Kristy Webster

I’m alone on the Fourth of July. Again. I’m not trapped inside a tower by an evil matriarch or walking the Pacific Crest Trail with a backpack twice my weight. I’m single. I’m that kind of alone. My sons play games, my dog trembles at my feet while two out of my three cats have taken window seats. My 22lb tabby is still at large.

It occurs to me that it’s after ten and I have yet to see a single firework. I head outside with a blanket. I look up at the night stars like jewels, bedazzling the dark sky. I think back to a 4th of July fifteen years ago when I wasn’t alone.

I’d met Kevin at a sports bar in Yakima, only days after being released from a psychiatric ward for a suicide attempt. I’d been spending weekends with my former hospital roomie, Nikki. That night, while Nikki had sex with Kevin’s friend, Kevin and I discussed all the reasons we shouldn’t. One being that he had a girlfriend. The other a combination of our shared damage: he’d overdosed after his wife had left him for another man.

Still, Kevin and I exchanged phone numbers, which lead to our 4th of July date. Kevin stood behind me while we watched the fireworks, his lips on my neck, hands massaging my naked arms. Later in his apartment, a cocktail of Neurontin, beer and tequila swirled in my belly.

Not in my room, he told me.

He spread a blanket out on the living room floor and afterwards, he asked me to leave.

Years later he’d tell me how he always thought of me on the 4th. I didn’t tell him how much I tried not to remember.

Tonight, my wayward cat returns, sits on my lap in my front yard as colors burst, crackle and light up the darkness. When I finally get up, my cat tries to bolt, knowing I’ll bring him inside. We face off: one of us believes love is a prison, the other, a cure-all. Both of us are wrong.

17 comments

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    One of my favorite authors returns with a journal story which is expressed through the ying-yang mirrors of fireworks and stars, young woman and young man, slightly older woman and over-grown cat. The entries tell us different pages of this young woman’s life in intimate and rich visuals without any sense of vulgerity or evasion. Part of the flowing is of coming together and parting, parting and coming together which feels natural and believable. The contrast which places us in this story of flowing are the close consistency of children and less freedom bound cats and the cycle of July 4th repeating in unseen fireworks.

    The truth in these mirrors within this reader’s mind was left as a lingering reflection born of the last two eloquently placed polar untruths of love as a prison and love as a cure-all. Kristy left me wondering what love is if neither prison nor cure, but isn’t love the grandest, unsolved mystery of all? I remain a devoted fan of Ms. Weber’s story-telling excellence, writing fluidity and candidly personal revealings.

  2. Parisianne Modert says:

    My pardons to you Kristy for I should have written Ms. Webster’s rather than what I did. Thank you again for sharing your very touching vulnerabilities and experiences of life with us.

  3. Kenneth Weene

    Then again, perhaps both of you are right. Therein, for me lies the power of this story. It explores what I would call the mandala of life, and the reader is left with a powerful truth of emotional confusion.

  4. Thornton Sully

    ok. Kristy… get off your arse… and all your fans? Do the same. email all your friends, post on facebook, whatever you have to do… MAKE THIS HAPPEN: No time for modesty. Ask people to buy Coco. You are doing THEM a favor! It is a great, inspirational book, epitome of magical realism genre. Here is the link to buy the book: https://awordwithyoupress.com/store/coco/ . People who buy the book can be part of the groundswell. I have faith in this book and you as a writer. Prove me right. I’ll bet the farm.

  5. kyle katz says:

    A wonderful read this morning with my coffee in the garden. You have a comfortable and thoughtful way about bringing your soul stories to the table. And Yes, that last line …made my gladiolus bow to such wisdom.

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