After the student left the hotel, there were others. Not many, but a few. I remember them now by colors rather than names; because when I close my eyes now, it’s colors that appear, not words:
First, white. His hands were fat and freckled, the wedding ring cutting into his finger like a fishing line. His skin was like the inside of a shell, but freckled. He was only a mussel. A gritty, slimy mussel. He told me he loved my face, but I knew he was lying. He couldn’t look at me when he said that, and the whole time, I thought, Look at you, you ugly oyster. What have you got on me? But I let him slip his tongue in my mouth. Other things.
Then, blue. Blue was kind. Thin, just a boy, a heartsick boy my own age who carried Rose around on his shoulders, piggy-back. His mother and father both died before he was grown all the way up. He had no family. He stuttered, and I could feel his want in every one of his words, even the small ones. You. Today. Kiss.
Last, black. Under the boardwalk, he ripped the skin between my legs with his teeth. The saltwater came in after and burned the places that he had torn. I let him, and didn’t even cry. I wondered if this is what it felt like to have a child. He had a long scar from where someone tried to gut him like a fish. I never asked why someone would want to do that to him; it was obvious.
I don’t remember the ones in between. They blur together now like a gasoline rainbow on pavement.