Skunky

by Neka Barrera

You never thought her confidence, as fierce as the lion on her left bicep, would wilt as deeply as the rose on her right hip. You thought it was you- ignoring her regularly, taking her for granted. The true cause? The skunk who crossed her path on a balmy Chicago summer night- the kind that gives your hair the texture you never thought possible. A metaphor? No. This is about the literal skunk who crawled out from underneath a clown-nose red Porsche and crossed paths with my once dearly beloved. She thought it was a cat, for it was dark. She bent down, “sst,” called the fellow over. Spraying commenced. Straight to the eyes, nose, mouth. Skunk squirt used as facial spritzer you might sample at Sephora. Usually a delicate rosewater, peppermint, an aloe cucumber blend. Not that night. That night, and for many to come, her skin was coated by the stench of year old ham eaten by a man who’d been laying in his own bed pan for weeks. Everything you strive to become in your life- funny, successful, well liked, disappears the second this happens to your face. A lion tattoo means nothing when you meet Skunky.

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