Four Leaf Fallen Clover
Four Leaf Fallen Clover
Red. He was seeing red. Red at the world and everything that moved. Daniel Murphy wondered what it meant to be an adult. He was thirty four years old and wondering if he considered himself to be grown up. Was he? He felt like a child trapped in a man’s body. He remembered a close editor of his telling him one Christmas night that every man stops growing at age nine, and a male figure, when searching for a compatible mate or someone he’ll soon marry thereafter, will gravitate toward someone who closely mirrors his own mother.
He didn’t know how true that was until he realized the women he pursued were all on the plus size. He chased after women with large tits, wide waist, and a round ass, even when he was genuinely attracted to skinnier women. He was called a chubby chaser by three of his ex’s. Did he have a fetish for fat women? What was it about the way the extra padding rolled that excited him?
He wondered about those things many nights as he lay in bed, looking at up the ceiling, watching a black spot dangle from up above. Without his glasses, he couldn’t tell if it was a spider or just a speck of grime that caught on the dry wall. He looked to his right and saw the body of a woman facing away. He trailed an index finger down on her back, circling the tattoo inked in her skin. It was the tattoo of two fishes swimming parallel to one another, head to tail, tail to head, mimicking a ying-yang sign.
She stirred from her sleep. And then, she rolled flat on her back, looked as if she might awake, and resumed her slumber. Four in the morning, the light filtering from the motel window lit up the curvature of her breasts in a pale duress. The whitish flicker of her nipples was swallowed in darkness, and Murphy fantasized about suckling on them. To be a child again, to be taken care of and consoled and told, everything will be all right.
What did it mean to be adults? Does it mean our bone structures have stopped growing at a certain length, he thought. Or are we adults when we pay for the bills and become independent from our mothers? Tomorrow morning, he’d roll over on his bed and write in his little journal he kept by the nightstand. He’d scrawl down his feelings, spurred on by his day to day experiences in real life. That was where he stored ideas for his stories, those personal episodes becoming a natural germ for storytelling, unbeknownst to his readers.
He wrote longhand, first—then, moved onto digital copies where his fingers typed on a keypad behind the glow of the monitor screen. White spaces irritated him; they needed to be filled with black. Whoever read his works felt the scares and joys as it happened. When Murphy was happy, the readers were also happy. When he was sad, the readers became sad. The personal anecdotes masqueraded as a story energized the masses.
At age five, Daniel Murphy read the works of Seuss. He imagined himself as a bird. Lost, he searched for his mom. He sang a song about how the mom in the illustration didn’t look anything like his real mother. Later, he’d write in his reflective journal how, in order to find himself, he’d have to eventually lose his mother: strange how the real world differed from the imaginary.
At ten-years-old, Murphy Daniel, learned to ride a bicycle and not fall off. It was a simple misdirection and rewiring of the brain to reveal wrenching the steering in the direction of the fall, prevented the fall. On the twenty-third try, Murphy rode a two wheel bicycle with wobbly configuration, twisting the handle left if he felt he was going to over onto his left side, and straightening the handle to the right if he ever felt he’d crumble on the right. Life was very much the same. The wind knocked him off his feet when he least expected it.
Five years later, Murphy’s mother caught her son ditching school to play video games online. When the front door opened, he sneaked into the pantry and closed himself in with a container of Hi-C in his hand. That’s when he realized he had forgotten to set the glass cup back in its proper dish tray, and snuffed his breath. His mother came around the counter and stood outside, breathing hard. She said, “who the hell…” and the phone in Murphy’s pocket began ringing. Suffice to say, the term grounded was an understatement. She smashed the keyboard and broke the monitor into smithereens.
When Murphy turned twenty years old he got a girl pregnant. He knew he shouldn’t have with the economy the way it was then, but when your brain is full of dopamine flooding into your system, one doesn’t think rationally. Pulling out is as hard as trying not to honk at a car barreling into your lane. You had to stay in that warmth. You had to fill the tank up, otherwise it’d run on empty. A shotgun wedding was in full force. Both sides of the family encouraged Murphy and Clyde to marry each other and become a Murphy altogether. And so they did with great consequences.
At twenty-four-years old, they divorced due to irreconcilable differences. She was just not into him as a romantic partner. He just could not stand her issues. Love was poison—love was toxic. They tried mending their relationship through physical means only to figure out that a bond occurs when a negative charge mixes with a positive hand. One had to work together and admit surrender, raise a white flag, or at most agree to disagree. Without those compromises, then they would only butt heads, which Murphy did, twenty-four hours, seven days of the week. Divorce was a relief. Divorce wasn’t shocking as they put it.
His mother said, I told you so, frowning, now, what are you going to do with your child? She’ll stay with me, he replied. The courts decreed that was not the case and Murphy wound up losing custody of his daughter. It was a pity, because his mother blamed him for it. It was his fault for not trying to make the marriage work. But, none of it mattered now, because he had this new woman, lying next to him. The first two months were a whirlwind romance. They just meshed well. There was nothing he’d change about her, not even the flaws because they were chump change compared to his former lover.
She was better in bed, better with coping stress, better joker, and better making him feel good, overall. History was being written right now.
Murphy’s mother didn’t know he was spending his time with another woman, someone not of his race. If she found out, she’d lose her cool, blow up as she once did with the ex-wife, but she was keeper. He would not give her up, no matter how much his mother pestered him that she wasn’t good for him.
He pulled her close to his naked body, skin touching skin, the warmth flaming his soul. It felt good to be home. He’d sacrifice his writing for her, if that’s what it took. At twenty-five he fell in love for the first time. He slept peacefully.