Friday, May 6, 2011

Shannon McIntyre - Again

I should have known. Really, what else could I possibly have expected?

“Expect people to be who they are,” my mother told me. She’d told me at least a thousand times.

And still…

I stare blankly at the note on the table. I want to be angry. I want to
  • tear it
  • shred it
  • set it on fire
– at least throw it away. But I can’t feel angry. I can’t feel anything.

I’m stuck. Frozen. Staring at those words.


My mind lurches back two months to the last time he’d said them.


“I can’t do this. I’m sorry.”

I’d had the same frozen feeling then. Like a horrible re-run.

“What? Why? What do you mean?” I fumbled for my glasses on the nightstand, squinting at the blurry hands already buckling his belt. “Are you leaving right now?”

“It’s better if I do.”

“Not for me.” I pushed my glasses up my nose and studied his face.

Blank. Nothing. Complete system shutdown.


He looked away, mechanically gathering his bits and pieces into his pockets.
  • wallet, back right
  • keys, front right
  • loose change, front left
  • gum –
He gestured toward me with the pack. “Gum?”

“Stop. Talk to me. What’s going on?”

“I made a mistake.” He bent to tie his shoes.

“Two days ago you said breaking up with me was a mistake. You said – “

“I know. I’m sorry. I hafta go.”

As he started for the door, I grabbed his hand. His big, beautiful hand. So many memories in those five fingers:
  • lighting my cigarette as he introduced himself
  • cupping my breast as he fell asleep
  • wiping tears from my face the night my mother died
  • sneaking under my skirt on the long drive to his sister’s house
  • waving goodbye to me five months before
I remembered that wave, long and slow, fingers spread. Casual.


The casualness of that wave – it was so incongruous. Nothing in that moment had fit together at all –
  • the casual wave
  • his blank eyes
  • my tears
– these were scraps of separate moments, not a single event. I had felt so surely that moment was wrong, didn’t fit, wasn’t supposed to happen.


That moment hadn’t fit. Nothing had fit since. Nothing until he showed up, five months later, and that hand held mine. Tears opened his dark eyes and I glimpsed once again the glorious depths of his soul as he said “I made a mistake.”

And last night, in my bed, when that hand cupped my breast, everything fit.

  • our bodies
  • our hearts
  • our souls
My eyes dragged up from his hand to those blank eyes. I felt a chill where his soul no longer pressed against mine. A squeezing in my heart as it struggled to pump alone. He had left me already.


I dropped his hand, laid back in bed and rolled over.

Staring at the wall I heard
  • footsteps
  • door opening
  • door closing
As tears soaked my pillow, I wondered if he waved.


I pick the note up and stick it to the fridge with the magnet that reads “Boys are Stupid”.

I should’ve known. I won’t forget.

Not again.

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