deletedscene62.jpgDeleted Scene from a Lasting Relationship
Runner-up in the 2nd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
How I remember it:
Me, haircut weeks overdue, a jean jacket borrowed from your dead brother’s closet, sleeves too long, grains of sand in the folds, itchy collar, the way it hung like someone else’s skin.
You, back at your parents’ house: “It’s okay. It’s fine. Paul wouldn’t have a problem with you wearing it. He liked you, honey. He told me.” The truth was, I’d only talked to your brother once—some hockey wisecrack he’d smiled at—and you knew it. But there in the mess of his bedroom, as you rehung all those sweaters of his that didn’t look right on me, you sounded almost angry: “Honestly. I don’t know why Mom and Dad haven’t cleared all this crap out of here by now. I mean, why are they still keeping it? It’s creepy.”
Then, in the car park at Spanish Banks, you cried so hard, still holding the receipt I’d found in the top pocket, its faded numbers, the crime-scene precision of it—where he’d been (London Drugs on Broadway), what he’d bought (hair gel, Q-tips, deodorant, BenGay, razor blades), how much he had paid for it that night (09/15/99–11:26 p.m.). “Kelly”—the name of his cashier.
The beach felt empty as we walked along the skim. I cradled you in the sunset as sea foam soaked the hems of our jeans. The shoreline was rough with hoofprints, fallen castles, tire tracks. Your shoes crunched on shells; mine dragged. The coils of your fringe blew on the breeze. And somehow you looked happier for this walk, the air, the company. You put your hand in my back pocket. You said: “Don’t you think it’s weird that you found that today? I mean, the dates are so similar. Like, what, a week apart?”
“Not really,” I said, without thinking, and you stopped walking. The hopeful look left your face. The corners of your mouth dropped. Silence then, as if the sea forgot to breathe.