Monday, May 25, 2015

A Toast to Tomorrow

            The weight of the morning sat heavy on his chest.  He had carried the bags of a dozen months of cohabitation down to her car, and then watched as she drove off.  It is not often that one gets to watch their memories leave in such a physical manner.  There were so many memories; much more history than the past year might suggest.  The two had been co-workers, friends, co-conspirators, mutual consolers during each one’s breakup, but more than anything, they were the anchor that held the other from drifting into turbulent waters.
            There had been plenty of good times, a few not-so-good, but nothing really bad, at least not that he could think of, but then good, bad and indifferent are always a matter of personal perspective.  Whatever they had had in the past was moot; she took her things under the guise that their two lives could no longer be blended, and that both of them carried too much destructive baggage.
            The house felt abandoned while a satellite radio station spewed a steady stream of music from the 70s; he had hoped that old memories might quell the pain of the newer ones, but Hall and Oates, Jimmy Buffett and Rod Steward kept lamenting about broken hearts and lost loves.  The music didn’t do justice to the ebbing weekend.  The past few days had been spent smiling and laughing, drinking libations alfresco with quiet conversations and intimate dinners.  There had been no unreasonable expectations; they both knew the visit was to retrieve the balance of her belongings and to close the doors left ajar when she suddenly disappeared so many months ago.  It was intended as a happy ending, and in spite of the weight, it had been.
            The weekend’s evenings, mottled by wine and the fatigue of unpracticed activities, ended in bed together as always, and as always, without the intimacy they both needed and were both too afraid to let happen. 

            Their time together was over; she was gone and he set about straightening the house to fill the void.  It was an easy decision to leave the sheets until tomorrow; another night with her scent to stir his dreams would be good.  But he closed the bathroom door in a vain effort to ignore the barren vanity bereft of its collection of creams and lotions.
            Washing her favorite coffee cup and placing it back in the cupboard, the mental echo of her parting promise to visit again brought a smile to the corner of his lips.  It was, as he knew, an empty promise; one meant to assuage the sadness of their goodbye and not something to dwell on with anticipation.  Yes, there would be phone calls, texts and emails, but like the oil and vinegar that tastes so good together on tossed greens, in stillness, they can’t remain together.  Their days were over, and like the waning light of a sunset, their conversations would soon fade into the stillness of night.  She had been right; he could no more live her life than she could his.

            Rikki, don’t lose that number, sang in the background as he pulled a pizza from the freezer.  Life again would return to wordless nights of sophomoric television, meals eaten over the sink and a lonely, cold bed.  If blame needs to be laid, the target was not obvious.  Pouring a first glass of wine, he stepped onto the deck to watch the sun creep toward the horizon of experiences not yet lived; he wondered where she was, and if in her heart, she felt deflated or relieved.  With the revelation that she was no longer his worry, some of the heaviness lifted.  He raised a glass to the distant vista, “To the good times past, and to lives not yet lived.”

Rikki, don't lose that number,
You don't wanna call nobody else;
Send it off in a letter to yourself.
Rikki, don't lose that number,
It's the only one you own.
You might use it if you feel better
When you get home.


  1. This was an amazing piece. Your metaphors were brilliant and the whole thing was written so well. I loved this. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Mallory. Sometimes the impetus of a story comes from so deep inside that the writer doesn't recognize the genesis; this is one of those stories. The mental image of taking someone's bags (baggage) out to their car was something I needed to put in words, the rest evolved as I allowed the speaker's feelings to animate. As is often my style, it ended with juxtaposing two emotions: happiness and remorse.

    2. I understand that completely. Your descriptive writing is what I loved so much. You didn't just tell us, you made us feel. And that is the job of the writer. Bravo!