There Might Be Another Way of Saying This | Michelle Reale

I’d been in his house a week. I still didn’t have a key. I missed my old place and wondered if it missed me, too. The night was a cold one. Windy, too. I imagined it was the windows and doors of my place, unoccupied for the foreseeable future, howling in grief, wondering when I would return. I used to think things like that. It was another life.

He reached across the crumpled flannel sheets for me. I felt the weight of all of it. Crooked spine to crooked spine he slept. I stuttered in the darkness.

I walked the foreign hallway and tried to and reached for a doorknob that was higher than it needed to be. I sought my own level, but I was out of fashion. I wanted to hold a steaming cup of something in my hands. Anything that could penetrate layers.

He told me that my loneliness had a life cycle and that he would take care of it. Just watch, he said. My whole life I wanted to believe. Miracles were only coincidences, flinty things.

My feet were so cold on that tile floor, but I welcomed it. I needed to feel.

Leaning against the sink I felt his presence, turned to him. I wasn’t guilty. But I was no innocent, either.

He flipped the kitchen lights on. In a flash, I wore pale, malignant yellow. My eyes watered.

Can’t a girl think! I snapped. My mouth stretched, large and ugly.

I saw a shadow like a rare eclipse pass over his unshaven face. It burned at the corners.

Kidding! I laughed. I held the steaming cup to him. It was my best offering.

He took it. Turned his back.

Walked away from me.

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