Wednesday’s Words

25 Aug

Here’s a short I’ve been working on

The Leaving

He shifts the truck into drive and I’m immediately reminded that the shocks need replacing. We bounce along for about fifteen minutes, neither of us saying a thing as we pass the local chipwagon, town limits, and then the National park. The comfortable silence between us halts and changes, like a drop in temperature. I shiver and breathe out, half expecting to see ice form in my breath. Tommy clutches the steering wheel harder, back molars grinding slightly. I flick on the radio. Leonard Cohen singing about broken Hallelujahs. I turn the radio off, sit on my hands so I don’t fidget. The stale silence is killing me but I refuse to be the one to break it. After showing so much humility, so much of my core in the past 24 hours, I refuse to give in.

After another five minutes, Tommy finally breaks down and speaks. Although once I hear the thought slip from his mouth I wish he had continued shutting up.

“You wanna leave, fine. I don’t care.”

I want to tell him that I know that. That I remember the exact day and time that he stopped caring. It was a Monday after supper. It was snowing and we ended up stormstayed for days.  I knew before he had even said the words that he’d stopped really caring.  But I let him have his say. Let him feel better about himself while crushing me further and further into the ground.

I have no idea if I’m supposed to answer him, because he really didn’t ask a question. I don’t think I could have answered even if I wanted to. His tone and my memories feel like poutine in my mouth. Chewy and sometimes hard to swallow.

I take the elastic out of my hair and run my hands through my curls, enjoying the slight sting of static. I wrap the band back around my hair, not really caring about neatness. Tommy’s seen me with spiked hair, permed hair and after sex hair. A sloppy ponytail wasn’t going to turn the tide either way.

“I’m not going with you.”

“I know”.

“It’s like I told you, I can’t.”

“S’okay.”

“I want to, I think, but –“

“I know, Tommy, I know.”

I don’t want to hear his reasons again, his list of why. Why it’s not right for him. Why I’m not right for me.

Some women in my shoes would try to convince him. Jack up their boobs, lower their lashes and voices. I had thought about it for a second before realizing I would never do that. I don’t think I could pull it off.

But just now, just for a moment, I feel a twinge of doubt. Maybe it would have worked. Maybe instead of being in this truck we’d be home, curled up on the couch watching TV, or at the kitchen table playing Scrabble, laughing and sharing a Bloody Caesar. Maybe.

I put my feet up on the dashboard and try to squish myself into a ball. Look at my worn hiking boots and sigh.

“We did our best. Still do, I guess.”

“I know, Cady, but if only –“

“If only’s a dangerous game.”

“I didn’t know she’d come back.”

“But you wanted her to.”

In his silence I get my answer.

Her coming back was sudden. I blinked. A second slipped by and there she was in front of me, flowing blond hair perfectly mussed up despite the high humidex. Layered gypsy skirt blowing in the breeze. I stood outside the hardware store in paint splattered cutoffs, hair shoved under one of Tommy’s baseball caps. I watched her approach, gliding across Main Street on silver strapped sandals, and before he came out and saw her, heard her voice sweet like a butter tart, I knew I had already lost. That maybe I had never really even been in the game.

We continue driving, going forward even when our thoughts are leading us behind. And even though we’re in the truck together, we’ve already started living our separate lives. I know he’s thinking a bit about me, but mostly about her and how to make her happy. Make her stay. I concentrate on breathing and stare out the window. Watch the sun glint off of the trees, sparkly from the latest silver thaw. Breathe in. Out.

I look at him out of the corner of my eye, scrunching his nose and pulling his toque down, and realize despite the months that have passed, the hurt and anger are still fresh.  They haven’t had enough time to shrink in depth.  I turn my eyes back towards the window and watch something less hurtful.

The bus station appears to our right. Tommy blows a breath out as he rolls the truck to a stop. I have my door open before he has the key out of the ignition. I grab my bag from the back and head toward the ticket book. I’m nervous, shaking, and my steps are those of someone impaired. I hope he stays in the truck. I hope he gets out and comes after me. Tries to stop me like he means it, not because he feels guilty. He gets out of the truck at half speed, like he’s walking through chocolate pudding. He’s next to me by the time I have my ticket in hand.

“This is stupid.”

“To you, maybe.”

“You don’t have to go.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Cady.”

“Don’t Tommy, please.”

I watch his eyes frowning and pleading. Oddly enough I don’t feel like crying, but he does. I can see him suck in his lower lip, a tell-tale sign of how upset he is. He reaches out a finger to touch my cheek and then seems to remember I’m not his to touch. Not anymore.

“I still love you.”

“I know.”

I walk away. There’s nothing more to say. I know a part of him still loves me. It’s why I’m leaving.

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2 Responses to “Wednesday’s Words”

  1. Sheryl MacTavish August 25, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Wow! I want to read more!

    • lavenderlines August 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm #

      Well, sweetie, that’s all there is! LOL

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