It was Sunday and you were driving me around. It was not my town, it was yours and you were showing me things you saw every day. You lived near water and it was close to dark. (The waves rushing the shore: I heard more than I saw.) We started out removed enough, you and your local politics and your favorite discount department store, me and my botched haircut and my favorite holiday. We got closer when you brought up your misguided teaching career and my upcoming move to the city. What was I supposed to do? Before I could stop to put things in order, we were inches apart with your mom's failing health and my disbanding parents (it just came out). I hadn't seen you in years; the gushing seemed illogical.
I knew it was coming before you thought to confide: the space had closed. Our noses now touching, you relieved yourself as I sat without perspective. You had a baby in the backseat, the one I'd forgotten about because he hadn't done anything to remind me. But as you derailed, he cried and cried--really let go--and I strained to hear you. I caught enough and I guessed the punch line. The sexy email chain, the kitchen kiss that had almost evolved--right there I had it. You didn't log out, did you? And you: no. That was it, that's what happened. You were still thick with it all; it was still new, I could hear it. You were okay, he was barely okay and the forgiveness was there, but you had the voice, the how could I? You were so sad and as I finally settled into the you-and-I of it, I felt the lump in your throat. The backseat sobbing never broke and I turned around to find that little face, red and crumpled. It's not a reflection on you, I would have said.
About the author:
Kristen Elde's writing has appeared in the Web editions of Pindeldyboz, McSweeney's, Knot Magazine, Facsimilation (pending), and in various health and fitness-related publications. Her first book of non-fiction is in the works. She is also the editor behind editthiskristen.com.
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