In the middle of boiling water for tea, drunk on whiskey, she decided to
call her ex-husband, whom she hadn't called for a year and two months and
three days, not counting all the calls to hear his voice on the machine or to
hang up if he answered. She had heard that he'd moved, and she thought she
would ask him for his new address just in case she needed to drive by in the
middle of the night sometime to stare at the dark windows and wonder if he
was with some other woman and what he said to her when they made love, and
to remember all the things he used to say during sex that she still could not
believe he was no longer saying. Now he was saying that he was still her
husband, legally at least, because he couldn't bring himself to file the
final papers. I didn't want you to get them around your birthday, he said.
And then there were the holidays, and then Valentine's Day. I never filed
them, he said. I still love you, why did you leave me? she said. It's been a
hard time, he said, two more surgeries on my wrist and I'm still in pain,
they're going to have to fuse it and meanwhile I need to get a job; I'm
broke, he said, and she was crying and he was saying I think about you all
the time, I want to see you and she said You know what will happen, we'll
just destroy each other again and in the kitchen the forgotten kettle was
shooting steam into the air with a piercing shriek she finally heard, Oh God
I've got to go, she said, I guess you didn't change your number but can I
have your new address? I haven't moved, he said.
First published in, "Third Coast"