“Here. This must be yours,” he said and thrust a pen at her. “Not mine.” He hoisted his pack to his shoulder and backed out the door, grinning that dimpled smile he had. She was sure he practiced it in the mirror—backing out, not taking his eyes off her, holding them both steady as he escaped—her word, not his—but how else to describe his departure?
He didn’t like stuff—furnishings, decorations, the detritus of being alive, wouldn’t buy anything he couldn’t carry in one hand, although she did notice he slept in her big bed after all the high jinks—his word, not hers—slept like a baby, smooth-faced, breath almost inaudible—clear, clean. When he woke up, he was up, moving, splashing water in the bathroom, humming as he shaved.
She liked the extra five minutes in bed, the rolling over on her pillow, the last warmth of the night still in the blankets. Sometimes he jumped on her when he was done, sprawled across her curled body, smelling of mint and soap and aftershave—and they played and wrestled until she was awake and shivering. “Get up,” he’d say and she would.
It was different this morning. She knew he was in the bathroom, heard the run of water, saw the line of light under the door, but heard no humming, and knew before it didn’t happen that there would be no leap on the bed, no early morning tussle.
Nothing. It was over. Backpack packed. He was going, going, gone, backed out the door and gone.
Afraid to say it. Well, that was good. Some emotion stirred, fear if not regret. And she had to admit, he left her something: a pen. Blue and silver. somebody’s logo on the side—Twin CityOrthopedics—and a number to call when she felt broken again.
© 2013 Kathleen Coskran