He exhaled, thinking about what he had just heard, what she had just told him, breathing out in time with his thoughts. The smoke floated up towards the dim porch light.
“We’re done.” He said bitterly with cigarette smoke escaping his mouth, his voice was shaky but subtle.
The girl shook her head. He glanced down at the floor and rubbed the back of his head with a calloused hand. The small glass table was the only witness to their conversation, the deck empty of other furniture.
He grunted softly and continued. “Well,okay.”
“Okay?” She shifted her weight from one leg to the other.
She turned to leave, aged boards creaking beneath her. Just outside the room, she hesitated, shaking fingers holding the window frame.
“I can’t, I just can’t.”
His gaze rose to the back of her head. She turned, still holding the frame, but couldn’t look at him.
“I…” She stopped.
He said nothing. Her eyes flitted towards his but fell short of a reunion. She crept back into the window of her empty living room, skirt hurrying after her, and the man turned to face his car. He rested his elbows on the weathered wooden railing and stared. Blank eyes took in nothing.
He finished his cigarette, and flicked it over the rail. The butt glowed warm on the mulch and he stared at it as he drew another from his breast pocket. He visualized that night, her eyes, her smile, thought through every sigh, noting every detail and committing it to memory. He opened his eyes and sighed. Sticking the cigarette between his lips and pausing briefly to light, he began to walk back to his car, one hand holding the cigarette and the other wiping a tear and covering his mouth. His left foot kicked a can and startled him a bit, he picked it up and stared at it a moment before tossing it as far as he could.
He approached his car, before opening the door, he took one last look at the house. His second cigarette dropped to the ground. It seemed it had taken him long enough to leave so he waded anxiously into the seat letting more tears fall.
“You let it get this far, Andrew. You can only blame yourself!” He yelled to himself.
The music played softly in the background as the rain fell and he cursed to himself thinking of how two months with a girl he met on the streets could change his life so much.
Her eyes locked on the corner of the room and she trembled walking to the couch. She sat, placing her head in her hands. The hair on her arms struck up from the wind coming from the open window. She didn’t want to touch that window till she knew he was gone. For all she knows he could come back and she hoped he would. One thing stayed in the back of her mind; “He smoked in front of me, he blew smoke in my face and he said he was done.” Thinking about it made her throat close up and she started to cry.
She heard Andrew’s car drive away and she knew then that for now what was, isn’t anymore. “Maybe things will be different in the morning. Maybe we can talk and maybe we just need some time.” She closed the window and walked silently upstairs and curled into the sheets and thought about how just this time the night before, everything was perfect and he had been there by her side rubbing her back and assuring her he loved her.
Two days passed and she didn’t leave her bed and he did nothing but stay away from home and drink those days away. At this point it was hard to tell who was hurting more.
A bottle of beer down and he shakenly took out his phone and a cigarette. He stared at her contact and put the cigarette between his shivering lips and lit it. He’s never been the one for second chances but sometimes forgiveness needs to be put in place. He pressed the call button and leaned against the fence that separated him and the downtown river.
“Andrew, it’s eleven.” She answered.
“I’m ready to talk. I’m coming over.”
“Okay. Can we go somewhere? I don’t want to be in this house.”
Additional Publications from the Memoir Series