“I’m leaving you with ‘Foreign Affairs’ and ‘Blue Valentine’, but I’m taking ‘Closing Time’. I’ll leave the record player. I’ll be able to pick one up in Tallahassee. I think you should keep all the Dylan.”
“No, really, you’re too kind.”
“The sarcasm is unnecessary. I know you’re pissed.”
“Pissed doesn’t begin to cover it,” I spat out the words and threw at least two REM imports and a Pixies EP to the floor. “You show up–blow in, really–and spend all this time making me think…”
“I didn’t make you think anything. I pointed out things.”
She tossed her auburn hair behind her shoulder, grabbed it, and twisted it into some sort of magical updo that held without pins or ribbons and managed to look both disheveled and charming. She could do that. She did that all the time. Her highlights were perfectly placed. Never too chunky, never too obvious. Did she have them done? She’d smile and quote an old Miss Clairol ad. Apparently, only her hairdresser knew for sure. Her hair was not an issue until recently. It was just a part of her. Now, it was another person in the room, mocking me.
“I want you to know this isn’t easy for me either,” She dropped an Anne Sexton anthology into her Tod’s bag, “I’ve gotten as much as I’ve given in this relationship. It doesn’t always happen that way.” She glanced in the mirror and removed an invisible speck of something from the corner of her mouth and brushed her bangs out of her eyes.
I walked up to her, looked in the mirror at her, at me. “You’re not using the eye cream, are you?” Her own eyes were bright, shining, the fact she never slept going unnoticed by the absence or puffy skin or dark circles. I felt dumpy, tired, ugly next to her. That was a first. Normally, I shone in her presence. The lumpy ass, the extra chin, the lack of muscle tone didn’t matter. Radiance was replaced with regret. Regret I’d given up running and biking to make more time for…well, none of that would do any good. She was leaving.
“You won’t be gone long, will you?”
“You don’t need me like you think you need me.”
“That doesn’t even make sense.”
“It will. Maybe not now or tomorrow, but it will.”
“Could you possibly be more trite? I’d like to take notes on how it’s done.”
“See? The sarcasm is yours, not mine.”
“NO! I’m meeting Thalia and Erato in Tallahassee. There’s a guy working on a screenplay who needs us. Listen, you knew I couldn’t stay forever. Hey, don’t cry. Keep ’Closing Time’. I don’t think this guy is going to respond to Waits anyway.”
Angry and dejected, I sat at my computer, the glow of the empty Google document a burden rather than a possibility. If she was going to leave me, at least it gave me one last story.
I began to type.