In the mornings, now, it's easier to make the bed. Having you gone, I only have to pull back my corners. And now, there's no one to laugh with me during Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I'm shopping for animals to replace you. There's less hair on the soap.
Drinking, strangely, improves my balance. My leg on the balance barre. Stretch. Stretch. I run through the positions. Demi-plie. Grand-plie. My muscle tone is superb. I reward myself with a valium and a smoke. I stretch, their full-length, every single muscle in my lower leg.
I still love your beard and when I imagine your top button undone, the campfire smell of your neck.
Last night I dreamt that you brought me a book, handed it to me with your palm over its heart and said, "This is the definition of Honesty." Inside the book was Chinese script, then prose translation. But only for one verse. It said: Above all else, you must be able to feel. What does that mean?
A grand jete. Almost twist my ankle.
You talk, talk to my face but let your eyes slide all over the kitchen. You won't find it and it just makes me want to punch your face in. Slide your fingers along the door, poke your head in. I haven't bought any new magazines. No, I haven't worked out. Why front? Sure, you can use the toilet, but won't find it in there either. Not in the drawer where you kept your panties and lost, well, too many things. Not around the computer, not under the bed. The cats did not eat it. No, you don't have to sit down, bullshit with me about how much you care about how I'm doing; you can skirt all you want. It's pretty fucking obvious. Sit, please. Try your hand down the side of the cushions. The car, the glove compartment, the change tray. Look anywhere you want. I'm fine, yes. Am I seeing somebody? No. But I am fucking somebody and isn't that what you were really asking? The girl in the cafeteria with the knit hat. It's too bad, though, 'cause I'd keep the ring if I really did have it. I bought it, didn't I? I'll see you next week, hon.
Don't do that. Don't stretch out on the bed like that. When you do that, when your hair flares out and your sweater rides up enough that I can see a side of your stomach--- Don't blink. And certainly don't smile. I don't want you to. I really don't want to pull your shoes off and kiss your ankles. I do anyway while you unbuckle that studded belt of yours, jerk it out of the loops and unbutton your pants' top snap. Pete, the cat, suddenly jumps on the bed, dives for the knob of the window blinds and we scramble. Somehow you've managed to twist on top of me in the confusion. You put your index and second fingers in my mouth and you close your eyes. Pete bats wildly at the knob before falling out of the windowsill to the between of the bed and wall. You lie beside me, push one arm under my neck, the other under my shirt, your palm over my belly button.
In the kitchen, holding you, box-stepping, I pull you back before you lead us into the refrigerator but we hit the cabinet. Several glasses fall.
About the author:
Jared Hegwood finished his doctorate at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers and now teaches at Augusta State University. His work has garnered two Pushcart nominations, and can be seen or is forthcoming from Night Train, elimae, Keyhole, Juked, The Yalobusha Review, The Adirondack Review and several others.