R. Cross

Vaseline and Cherry Blossom Petals

   I was unemployed and you had just been laid off and it was spring and we were both pushing thirty. We put Vaseline on our faces and went outside and stood under the blooming cherry tree on your street, when the petals were falling and the wind was just right.
   With our necks craned skyward, we watched the heavens until each of our faces was covered in pink.
   “It’s like piñata fringe,” you said, looking at me. “So, what do you want to do now?”
   We put on sunglasses over our petal-covered faces and rode our bikes down to the river where there were joggers and people throwing Frisbees and walking dogs.
   By the water’s edge, we came upon a dead rabbit that was only a fur husk, just feet and ears and fur, like a plush toy that had been gutted of all its stuffing.
   “What do you think happened to it?” you asked, the petals around your hairline starting to slip from perspiration.
   “Some kind of death experience,” I said, pulling the tub of Vaseline out of my bag to spread more across your forehead. “You’re coming undone.”
   I ripped apart a dandelion and adhered pieces of it to your sticky skin, then we got up and looked out on the river.
   A moment later you replied, “I know,” the coronet of magnificent gold still perfectly affixed to your brow.

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R. CROSS is a writer from the Midwest. She currently lives in Ann Arbor where she attends The Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan. Her stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Day One, Meridian, and Reservoir. You can find her online at rcross.net.