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BN Prose: Beards & Espresso-Rum by Howard Maximus

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They are saying I’m shedding my thoughts. That one thing like this could by no means befall a person. Round me, they stroll on their toes; their phrases are gentle breezes meant to fly above my head, straight into one another’s ears. However I hear them. I inform them the scruff on my face isn’t an indication of mourning, the bush beneath it’s a vogue assertion; my abstemiousness isn’t hunger, nowadays everybody is a snake shedding their very own pores and skin, everyone seems to be rising into one thing new. Mine is the right age for a midlife disaster. They are saying I look depressed. I inform them to not be foolish. I’m a person. Males don’t get depressed over a girl leaving them on the altar. Males don’t get depressed in any respect.

I’ve began to love the style of espresso. I combine it with rum, for impact, and name it coffee-rum. Quintus asks me if I’m okay after each sip, and I wish to punch him. I repeat that males don’t get depressed over girls leaving them.

“However this isn’t simply any lady,” he tells me. A declaration, like the lady in query was hypothetical, an informal what if, prefer it was another person’s story he was attempting to get my opinion on, “That is the love of your life. Has been the love of your life for what, eighteen, nineteen years now? That’s so long as having an grownup youngster. All of us had been trying as much as you two, you already know. So that’s why I wish to understand how you’re doing. If you already know the place she went, why she went. You maintain saying you’re advantageous however, bro, all of us can see you aren’t.”

I empty my glass in a single gulp, rub my nostril in opposition to the rim and inhale; the lingering odor of the espresso and spirit is divine. Quintus remains to be taking a look at me after I search for. “Q,” I inform him, “I’m advantageous.”

I’ve began speaking to somebody I met on social media. You flirt with strangers nowadays and they remodel into psychotherapists. My social media shrink says I ought to write down my worst regrets concerning the wedding ceremony that didn’t occur. I’m taking a look at myself within the mirror and loving my new look. If I had identified that a wild beard would look this good on me, I’d have stored it for the marriage, wouldn’t have cared what Kena considered facial hair and the discomfort of kissing, or her mom’s opinion on beards and their inverse relationship to duty.

I write within the journal I’ve began to maintain (the one Q thinks is ridiculous, me holding) that what I remorse most about that wedding ceremony day is that when all that spotlight was on me, a shocked, jilted groom, and twitteratis had been pulling out their telephones for proof, that I regarded, in my white and silver go well with, like a mere boy, shaven and easy like a spoon.


The night time brings ideas of Quintus scribbling his Greatest Man speech with a pencil, sporting his favorite sweatpants, capturing rubber tchotchkes at anybody who makes an attempt to come back near studying it earlier than it was prepared. The day I advised him Kena mentioned sure, I had advised him too that brothers don’t grow to be greatest males at their brother’s wedding ceremony; he had laughed after which joked concerning the wedding ceremony falling aside if he wasn’t the perfect man. A press release he finds himself apologising too many instances for now, unnecessarily.


Reminiscences are nocturnal beings that solely go to at night time. It’s sitting beside me and I’m watching it like a efficiency — the time we first met as youngsters attending the identical night college: Kena attempting to take the O’ Ranges in Kind four in opposition to her mom’s want (and purse), and I, a motorbike rider trying the exams for the third time. Our first kiss, behind the picket classroom was the signature of unstated contracts, one which noticed all my cash towards her training. However wouldn’t each gardener fortunately water a flower that blooms so brilliantly? Cash spent on Kena was by no means wasted; her outcomes had been all the time one thing to maintain mouths agape, in each surprise and admiration. The one factor that tasted higher than her meals had been her kisses.

The primary time she took out our seed (with out my prior data), I held her tight, each of us shivering, scared and grateful that she was advantageous. The final time she took out our seed (with out my prior data), I held her tight, however this time, to cease myself from strangling her, for we had been each adults with jobs and assets and I deserved to know, for I had requested her to marry me, for I had already began to call the dual daughters the echography had gossiped would quickly be mine.


Nineteen years, three abortions, and loads of thousands and thousands later, Kena is in a marriage gown I purchased. She’s carrying a bouquet of purple roses and my brother Quintus’ child. I’ve not been capable of really feel since the primary time I caught them in his mattress. I’ve helped them disguise his underwear below my pillow after I discover it in my room, toss it amongst his different soiled laundry when nobody was round, tucked tablets and hospital experiences of their drawers, left the home for them after I sense rigidity. I have listened in on cellphone calls and skim messages with out tearing the complete home down.

I’m standing on the altar, a groom so groomed there may be not a single hair strand on my face. A word is available in her handwriting, apologizing for leaving me like this, saying I shouldn’t look forward to her for I’ll by no means see her once more. I maintain my breath, move it to Q, who nearly passes out. He passes it to somebody, who passes it to somebody after which another person till Saint Vincent chapel is out of the blue a beehive, buzzing. I name the boys later to congratulate them on their mastery of penman-forgery; they may have fooled even me. I ship them their steadiness they usually guarantee me Kena is historical past, mud, nocturnal reminiscences that’ll crawl solely at night time.

I’ve misplaced depend of days. When the reminiscences go away, I keep awake filling pages of my journal with my single remorse: I had no beard at that wedding ceremony; the photographs of me that went viral are one of a boy in a shiny go well with. Quintus is visiting tonight and we’ll discuss and chortle and chortle. Two bearded males. Brothers. He’ll ask me how I’m and I’ll inform him I’m advantageous. There may be poison in my fridge and a knife below my pillow the place his boxers used to cover. For weeks, I’ve not been positive what precisely to make use of.

“You look good at present, bro. How are you?”

I nod. We hug and I present him to a mattress he has used for extra than simply sitting. We pour our first photographs, clink glasses and gulp it directly, after which we each tear into laughter as if there was a joke within the drink.

“I’m sorry she left you, bro,” he says once we are calm, and I take a look at him.

“Me too,” I say. Recently, I’ve been ingesting an excessive amount of coffee-rum, with out the espresso.

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