After he moved in

After he moved in

Picture Credits: Joe Goldberg

“You need to screw it in like this.” When Buddha twisted his wrist, the light bulb looked like a glass lotus in his elegantly cupped hand.

“I’m trying to!” I wobbled on the stool as I reached for the fixture, my fingers clenched claws. I bet I looked like a club-footed flamingo. Not for the first time, I wished I’d paid more attention to my ex’s electrical advice and Mom’s lectures on poise.  Maybe I’d have more core stability if I’d joined Buddha for his yoga. Meditation was great, but it clearly wasn’t enough. Not for me anyway.

When I’d offered Buddha somewhere to stay, it was only meant as a transient living arrangement. I’d figured he wouldn’t require much: a simple cushion, a basic mattress and floor to sleep on, some rice and green tea.

Apparently, I was wrong. Thick carpet was essential for muffling noise and he had to have space to breathe. While mostly quiet was important, the sound of his chanting filled the whole apartment at strange hours – especially last thing at night and early in the morning. It turned out his belly took some feeding. Enlightenment also necessitated daily laundered sheets, fresh flowers and plenty of light.

I realized his needs had taken over when he insisted on forty 1000 lumen bulbs – one for each year of his earthly life – to be strung across the ceiling. It’s true his face shone brighter than the Las Vegas Strip. But each one had to be replaced immediately when it died. I was on the seventh that week, and, when I came to think about it, I’d not yet seen him put one in himself.

Meanwhile, this bulb was refusing to stay secured. It was clearly cross-threaded. I shifted my weight slightly and lost my grip. The bulb hit the ground exploding into sharp fragments across his thick, muffling carpet.

“Watch out!” I shouted, scared he might cut his bare feet. Then I remembered – I’d given him my shoes earlier that week.

After Buddha left for his evening yoga class, I packed his bag, complete with a rechargeable torch, and left it by the neighbor’s fig tree.

S.A. Leavesley is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer. Author of two short novellas, Kaleidoscope and Always Another Twist (Mantle Lane Press), she also runs V. Press poetry and flash fiction imprint.

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