Eliseo, This Isn’t About You

Leave a comment

December 1, 2014 by The Citron Review

by Matt Jones 


An oversized blue suit jacket and black pleated pants. That is what I wore. And for the most part, that is all I remember worrying about that day.


My friend had given me a yellow oblong feeling before the service, or by that I mean, she had given me a yellow oblong pill that made so much of what I was feeling feel like less.

I asked her, ‘Do you think anyone will notice?’

‘Notice what?’ she asked.

‘The jacket,’ I said. ‘It doesn’t fit quite right. I borrowed it from my dad. And its blue.’

She glanced over at me in the driver’s seat and swerved slightly across the centerline. ‘So?’

‘My pants are black though.’

She produced an orange bottle with a hushed rattle, dumped some of the hush, a little piece of the quiet into her hands, and said, ‘Here. Take this.’


There were so many people there. My blue suit jacket stuck out in a sea of black. We entered the church and I felt everyone looking. I might as well have been wearing a back brace like a shark cage wrapped up my spine and over my chest that squeaked and cried for oil with every lurching step I took. People could swim up and bare their teeth and scold me about my jacket and I could tuck my arms behind the bars. The pill was making me smile a lot. And I was nervous. I smile when I’m nervous.


There was a slideshow from his sister that featured songs from Boston, Journey, and Kansas. I can’t hear those songs any more. Well, I can hear them; I just can’t listen to them. Not in the same way at least, but maybe closer to the way in which they were meant to be heard. Still, I prefer not to share the artist’s state of mind.


After the service, I realized that I hadn’t really heard a word of what was said. I’d focused on the muscles in my face, keeping them at bay. My lips quivered and people came by and said hello, people that I did not want to run into.

‘I wish it were under better circumstances.’

‘(Teeth. Hungry, hungry white teeth so my gums go dry)’

 Shake hands.


I saw his mom in that same sea of people. I watched person after person after person approach her, hug her, comfort her, kiss her cheek. Her eyes were manic, brilliant hollows encased in plumes of what must have been burning red. I watched her for a while with the intensity of another version of myself, a version only found at house parties, half-stepping toward girls throughout the night and then rerouting because of turbulent air, headspace, treading the same ten feet of carpet back and forth until I’d dug myself into a fibrous trench, stuck.


We left without saying hello. Or goodbye. Without saying, ‘I’m so sorry for your loss,’ or ‘We were good friends, at one point,’ or ‘Hey, do you remember me?’ or ‘I know what you’re thinking. The jacket. It’s not mine. It was just all so unexpected.’


We drove to a taquería afterward. We were eighteen. The server asked us through broken English if we’d like a round of margaritas and we told him ‘Yes,’ yes in the way that only hungry hearts can muster. He stared at our faces. Had it not been for the pill, my jawline acne would have lit up like an electronic billboard advertising one of those adult megaplexes along the highway. An arrow made up of blinking bulbs, of cystic feverish pustules pointing directly inside my mouth. In here, it would say, come on inside. See everything you thought you never wanted to see before. It happened when people stared. The pimples, they flared.


We drank. We paid the check. We tipped him well, as well as any of us could afford.

He carefully collected our glasses. He cleared our table. He smiled at me with lips like salted slugs, chapped and raw.

I said, ‘I know what you’re thinking,’ and I leaned in close to read his nametag, ‘Eliseo.’ I grabbed my lapels and pulled them out in front of me. The alcohol made my vision blurry. The fabric sloshed around on my chest an open deck like salty waves. ‘The jacket’ I said. ‘It’s not mine. It was just all so unexpected.’


Matt Jones is a graduate candidate in The University of Alabama MFA program. His previous work has appeared in Paper Darts and Whitefish Review. He is currently at work on his first novel. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
5 months to go.

🍋 Instagram

The Center, if it holds, requires the Hole, as if the Spiral were pressed in a vinyl disk. Set the heart of Nothing on the spindle and start the record round; "Record" by James B. Nicola #TheCitronReview #Spring2019 #amreading https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/record/
Marriage! That blessed arrangement! https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/white-wedding/ #amreading #microfiction #weddingstories
Now in our Spring Issue, Helen Chambers invites us to read now of forever hold our peace. https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/spring-wedding/ #amreading #microfiction #weddingstories
Knitters of the world, unite! "Turtles" is a needle-gripping flash from @kaelyhorton . March with us toward passionate prose. (Stitching now our handmade Spring 2019 Issue.) https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/turtles/ #amreading #flashfiction
Tornado of Flash Fiction Warning! https://citronreview.com/2019/03/20/outside-of-oklahoma/ #amreading #Spring2019 #TheCitronReview #cheerstotenyears
The creative nonfiction pieces we’ve chosen for this Spring issue are about pain, they are about grief, and they are, in a strange way, about rebirth. The sudden death of a mother, a woman interviewing grieving families about the unimaginable deaths of their children, a man struggling with his boy hood role in the death of other creatures, and a woman channeling the pain of others: all of these pieces are rooted in death, destruction, and grief. But I can also say that I found the pieces hopeful, because the pieces were about confronting pain, and embracing the growth that comes with it. Perhaps they are, as the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins told us, struggling with the “I can no more,” and finding your way, however painfully, to the “I can/Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.” Even as we grieve and struggle with these writers, we rejoice in their honesty and their bravery. Please enjoy our selections for the 2019 Spring Creative Nonfiction portion of The Citron Review. Nathan R. Elliott Creative Nonfiction Editor The Citron Review #amreading #Spring2019 #TheCitronReview #cheerstotenyears https://citronreview.com/

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: