He left at 10. Said he was going at 9. 9:30 at the latest, didn’t get out of the apartment until 10, on the run, the tail of his untucked shirt streaming behind him. Giorgio was his own comet, throwing up sparks in his wake. His scorched earth practice, he’d said once, and she knew it was true. But she’d loved him anyway. Then.
Now she stood on the steps warming her hands on the red coffee cup, not drinking the coffee—she didn’t like coffee. Giorgio said adults drink coffee, therefore . . .
He ended most sentences with that word, therefore, as if nobody would have any need for the conclusion of a sentence, when he had laid out the beginning so clearly, so succinctly, so precisely. I don’t love you anymore, therefore . . . and the comet was off, only an hour late. He was precise, but seldom punctual.
She looked at her watch. 10:15, therefore . . . he was on the other side of town by now, heading out, not looking back, never said sorry. The comet had burned itself out, and she was alone. The door banged behind her, once, twice.
She let herself stand in the dark kitchen a moment longer, then dumped the cold coffee in the sink, watched the dark grainy swirl circle the drain and mostly disappear. A line of grounds hid in the curve of the sink—she left it—a shadow to remember—and checked the time again—10:30. Giorgio safely on I-94, heading west. She had an hour. Time enough to shower, do her face, do her hair, change the sheets, splash on a bit of scent, leave the house. Pierre’s train was due at 12, noon on the dot. She was punctual. She’d be on time. Need I say therefore?
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran