Cindy’s sign is Cancer. She’s Midwestern to her core. When Cindy needs release, she hits the gym for Step Aerobics and gets sad when her sweat dries. Cindy Walsh feels everything, tells no one.
Cindy’s sign is Cancer. She’s a homebody, a nurturer. At Casa Walsh, the twin’s friends crowd the kitchen with their invented woes. Wayward and bratty blondes desperate for domesticity. Cindy listens to the dolt with the perm jabber about his withholding TV star mom. She offers him a cookie, serves him platitudes while her stomach aches.
Cindy spends afternoons plunging her palms into backyard soil, willing the most finicky flora to grow. It’s too darn easy for things to bloom here without her assistance. She welcomes this challenge. Hungers for it.
At night, Cindy wrings her clean and well-lotioned hands. She frets about her daughter’s overwrought romance with that silver-spooned brooder. She worries her son will suffer a slap someday if he doesn’t quit the holier-than-thou routine. She wonders when her husband will ever stop banging away on that stupid Casio keyboard and properly bang her instead.
After Brenda bawls herself to sleep, while Jim continues composing ditties, and before Brandon returns home from the Peach Pit reeking of conviction and burger grease, Cindy creeps downstairs to the kitchen to sneak a glass or two of Chardonnay. She gets buzzed on nostalgia. She imagines the way her college photographer boyfriend used to look at her, how he took her all in, how the flames of his desire licked the aperture of her heart until she burned so bright, he swore he’d never look away.
Cindy Walsh is drunk and so she drains the rest of the bottle. Moments like these, she wishes Brandon stashed pot in his sock drawer. But her kid’s squeaky clean. She knows because she’s checked.
Cindy sways, then kneels on the terracotta tile of her spotless kitchen floor. For a moment, she considers crying but decides to scream instead. She screams into the stainless-steel depths of her high-end oven. She screams and claws at the rack, but her moisturized hands keep slipping. She screams and screams and dreams of waves of snow crashing cold and sharp against her feet while a thousand cameras flash and two thousand eyes watch between the Minnesota Pines, tiny moons beckoning in the black. All those eyes seeing and knowing, knowing her better than she’ll ever know herself.
Cindy Walsh feels everything, tells no one.
Jillian Luft is a Florida native currently residing in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in Hobart, X-R-A-Y, Booth, The Forge Literary Magazine, and other publications. She watched a lot of Beverly Hills, 90210 in the early days of the pandemic. You can find her on Twitter @JillianLuft or read more of her writing at jillianluft.com.