Marva Moody


You promised you wouldn’t.

At your weakest moment your want becomes your guide. You walk past the concrete walls, covered in red, black and blue graffiti. Past the man sitting on the street with only rags on his back and brown paper bag to keep him warm. Turn right.

The echoes of a school bell release the children down the block. The rings bring memories of a little girl with pigtails pleading with you to stop.

You promised you wouldn’t.

You look up in search of salvation or strength, 79th and Racine greet you.

North. East. South. West.

Red or Blue.

No matter which direction you venture you know you’re going to get the same outcome.

Red leads back home; blue is best.

You want the best. You need the best. You walk north.

Past the women holding children’s hands shepherding them safely home. Past the cocktail lounge and woman on the corner, her hair and clothes stained new. They look at you and you know, they know. You duck into an alley away from the judgmental stares.

You stop at the vacant complex. Walls once made of bright, clean brick now crumble with age and lack of care from a neighborhood in the midst of civil war. Windows boarded up with pieces of their glass shattered beneath. Pitchforks, stars and names in blue paint cover the boards. You’ve arrived.

You knock on the board with a fist-sized hole where a knob would be.

“What do you want?” A gruff voice says.

You promised you wouldn’t.

The voice of the little girl stops you from speaking.

“What do you want?!”

“8-ball,” You say, pushing the bills through the hole.

A white plastic sphere is shoved back at you. You place the ball in your pocket and walk the alley in the direction of your home. The ball presses against your skin. You feel it through your pocket, burning and taunting. You can’t wait.

You pull the white globe from your pocket gripping it in your hand.

You promised you wouldn’t.

You look at the globe that holds all your wants.

You promised you wouldn’t.

You can’t take the mantra playing in your head any longer.

You promised you wouldn’t.

You open the globe and taste it. The little taste ignites the urge which until now had been an annoying buzz. The buzz has turned into a roar and your need for a hit will not be ignored. You lift your white-coated fingernail up and inhale. The voice is silenced and you feel euphoric. You feel invincible. You are invincible.

You walk through the door of your house. You see her. The girl pleading with you not to do it. The eyes of the girl in pigtails, now woman, take you in. You know your pupils are dilated and your eyes are tinged red. You fidget. Disappointment clouds her eyes. You know she knows.

You promised you wouldn’t.



Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790