Wednesday, November 6, 2013


He's three minutes late.

I fidget with the hem of my mustard yellow chiffon dress.  It has a peter pan collar, which I love, and an empire waist that actually works in favor of the thirty pounds I've gained since I moved the six hours to school.  He's seven minutes late and the chairs in this lounge are really scratchy on my bare legs.

The lounge is long and fairly narrow with a wall of windows, which I hope will catch him on his way into the building so I can prepare.  A few window panes down, a man and woman are sitting with their backs to me.  Her head is on his shoulder and her blonde hair covers her back as well as much of his green shirt.  I am jealous her hair is so much longer than my short bob.  I let go of the hem of my mustard dress, I would hate for it to wrinkle.  He's twelve minutes late.

I notice the extra sweat gathering on the back of my neck just as he enters the room.  I stand up, smiling, and move a few steps forward to meet him with a hug.  He looks worried.  He is only a few inches taller than me and he still has traces of boyhood in his cheeks and walk.  He is wearing sweats and a university t-shirt but I'm not surprised.  His eyes are bloodshot.

"Hey! How are you?" I ask him as we sit back down on the scratchy chairs that face the windows.  He mumbles something semi-affirmative and we spend a minute watching people walk to their respective classrooms.  I have a chemistry test in forty-five minutes, maybe I'll be able to study for a minute beforehand.

"Chris, yesterday was..." I start, but I don't know where to go from there.  He doesn't look my way; he seems interested in the way the wind makes people bow their heads down into their fall jackets.

"What about it?" He finally says.  I continue to look at him, becoming more and more anxious as he refuses to look at me.  the mustard hem is weaving between my fingers again.  He checks his cell phone, setting it next to his legs as if I'm a teacher who can't see what he's doing.  I stand up, suddenly not interested in explaining myself.

"Yesterday was probably the best decision I've ever made. Have a nice life,"  I stood still for a moment because some part of me was hoping he would ask me to sit back down.  The unavoidable breath of disappointment stinks as its heat washes my face pink and I leave the sitting room.  

Down one flight of stairs is the campus coffee shop, and I stop to buy a pumpkin mocha.  Although I know it will burn my taste buds, I take a sip anyways.  A little bit of the brown liquid sloshes as I walk to my car, filling the crevices between my knuckles.  It burns and I drop the cup.  Sitting down in the dying grass, my vision blurs with tears, and I wipe them away.  I don't need a coffee anyways, I'm going to take a nap.

When I get home I tear the dirty sheets off my bed and the mustard dress off of my body.  Curling up in just my comforter and underwear, I watch the dark screen of my phone for hours, waiting for his number to pop up and offer me a reconciliation. It doesn't, and by the time I fall asleep I stop hoping for it.

this bit of fiction is linked with Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursday.  Check out other writings here: