Had to have known he was leaving.


:: Short fiction ::

“It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”  I stopped looking at him soon after he started the conversation.  I sat in a ball on the floor between the couch and the coffee table.  My arms were tightly curled over my head, my forehead rested heavy on my knees.  Hiding inside myself like a sea anemone startled by an unfamiliar touch.  I had taken a protective position, but words have the ability to penetrate regardless of how you choose to arm yourself.  Nothing could have protected me from this evening – when he left.

The sound of his footsteps were steady and slow.  He stopped at the top of the stairs for a moment, and then his muffled footsteps descended three floors of wooden steps.  I heard the door to the building slam shut.  I wanted to run to the window, yell things to hurt him as he walked away.  I thought of throwing gifts he had given me out the window.  I envisioned the red lamp sailing through the windowpane, smashing to the ground and scatter on the sidewalk like crystallized blood.  But I was frozen.  And I knew there was nothing I could say.

The smell of the laundry detergent on my clothes was suddenly too potent.  I felt sick.  How could he go grocery shopping with me this morning?  He had to have known he was leaving; that we were shopping for me, not us.  Laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, bananas, milk… I don’t drink milk.  I’m lactose intolerant.

I felt foolish.  And suddenly had the urge to eat the rest of the ice cream he left in the freezer.

Written  Saturday, August 9th, 2008.

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