:: 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.