Honourable mention and a Reader's Choice Award in the 6th Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
My mother and I watch the waves roll in and back and in and back. It’s cold on the beach and she won’t say, but I know what she wants to know.
“What happened between you two anyway? You were so lovely for so long, and then it seemed like it was just over. You were calling to say he left. And you seemed fine. You still seem fine.”
I can say a number of things. I can say, we just fell out of love. Whaddaya know? I can say: He talked about other women. I stopped cleaning the toilet. He stopped coming home. I put on weight. He quit smoking. I started smoking. He left counselling pamphlets on the kitchen table. I put his shoes outside every time it rained. He talked about what was wrong with me, started a “private creative journal.” I ate potato chips in bed, slept with all the lights on. He painted the living room light yellow. I painted his truck neon green with spray paint. He bought house plants. I bought a strobe light. He bought me sexy underwear, wrapped them in black crepe paper and left them on the bed. I bought a pair of rubber boots, black with orange bottoms three sizes too big and totally waterproof. He went to the library and took out books about healthy relationships. I took books out about how to survive in the woods. He made a kite for us to fly together, said we would have to lean with one another and steer through the sky. I made a slingshot and broke the window across the street aiming at my own sunflowers.
Instead of the lurid details she might like to hear I say, “He didn’t like me when I was drunk and I didn’t like him when I wasn’t.” I toss a stone to the waves, and wish for my slingshot to show my mother how dead-on my aim has become.