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Churches We've Broken Into

Churches We've Broken Into

JULIA EVANS

Twenty-five minutes before my doctor’s appointment I realize that I haven’t painted my toenails since summer, that nobody has seen me naked since summer, and even before that, even when we were together, you never saw me naked. I even kept my shoes on the single time we fucked, after midnight in a church I taught you how to break into; credit cards, hair pins, insider knowledge, me pointing and telling and you leaving the fingerprints. We laughed, stage-whispered, squealed, and hoped that insomniac priests weren’t a thing. I kept my shoes on and here’s why: You never, ever hinted that any given time we’d see each other might be a time you might maybe possibly be interested in making out. I always had to guess. And, finally, I just kind of gave up hoping. I hadn’t even showered that day and I wore old shoes that stunk. Do you even know how the tops of my feet are the best place you could probably touch me but the bottoms, the worst? You’ll never know about my feet.


We laughed, stage-whispered, squealed, and hoped that insomniac priests weren’t a thing.


Each toenail is striped, divided in half horizontally as the candy apple red grows out. Someone is going to see me naked today, neglected feet propped high in stirrups, so I rummage through the medicine cabinet for a dark enough polish. Expired oils and homeopathic remedies fall to the tile floor, loud remnants of fascinations that quietly left me but never left my messy bathroom.

It’s not candy apple red; it’s nothing cool. It’s a shimmery, taupe-y lavender color and I worry it makes me seem older, like I still wear things I wore a decade ago, and it’s true. I’ve had this for a decade. I hate it but it’s all I have. It takes two coats to mostly cover the half-stripe of red, the half-stripe of cool, the reminder of how much better it was in the summer when you saw me almost naked.


I worry it makes me seem older, like I still wear things I wore a decade ago, and it’s true. I’ve had this for a decade.


I don’t stop at the nail. I pull the brush onto the skin, the top of my toe. I work slowly and it hurts to paint against the direction the tiny yellow hairs grow on my toes. I paint up my legs, a long stripe, wide, my whole leg, and there’s so much polish, the brush is so large, how is there so much of it? And remember when you sat criss-cross between my legs behind the back row of pews, beneath the American flag and a single red-jarred candle glowing for Christ, when you said that to me, How is there so much of it? your fingers inside me, pulling them out, holding them up as fluid caught the rosy holy light, wonder in your eyes. 

There’s so much nail polish and it’s not drying well. My appointment is in fifteen minutes and it’s a seventeen-minute drive. I pour it inside my belly button and it spills out, a slow, silvery trickle that gets caught in my pubic hair. It stings and I pour more. I spread one long streak upwards, up my stomach, my neck, chin to nostrils to scalp, and I can’t breathe.


I paint up my legs, a long stripe, wide, my whole leg.


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Remember how you found the reserve communion wine in the back of the church? Remember how you poured it into your mouth because you didn’t want to leave mouth DNA on the chalice? And I nudged your shoulder, a misguided prank, and it spilled all down your throat and onto your pale blue T-shirt. I laughed and you didn’t.

I tilt the bottle above my head, pouring a slow wall of iridescence, and what if the room fills? What if the cracks beneath the door fill like the way old spills harden into a gummy glue around the lid and next time you can’t open the bottle? The room is full and I’m not swimming nor am I drowning. I think I’d like to do either. One or the other. I don’t think about the way your mouth felt on mine. I don’t see the Christ candle, spilled holy wine. I don’t see the half-stripe of old, red nail polish. I can’t see at all.

This doesn’t happen, none of it, and I’m late to my appointment so they charge me seventy-five dollars and make me wait an additional hour and my skin stings, chemical-chafed, dry, every last inch.


Julia Dixon Evans lives in San Diego. Her work can be found at Monkeybicycle, Hobart, Noble/Gas, and elsewhere. More at www.juliadixonevans.com and follow @juliadixonevans.

Illustrations by Meghan Murphy.


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