Sam glanced down at the table, the scattered remains of their lives abandoned among the discards and empty dishes. She hadn’t touched her water and he was leaving half a beer.
He’d never go home again except to get his suitcase.
Amicable was a funny word. He didn’t understand how to leave her behind like a friend. She wasn’t a friend and maybe that had been the problem all along. Maybe if she’d been a friend he’d fight to save whatever remained. As it was, he had no fight left in him anymore.
Stepping to the street, he raised a hand for a taxi and was gone.
The swell entering the church began to die down and yet I still hung on the edges. I didn’t need to sit down to feel the watershed of disbelief which overwhelmed me even now, months after she passed. We were going to grow old together, sitting on a beach somewhere or maybe in the mountains. Reading and writing. Playing.
Joe walked off the elevator to the front door, stood for a moment looking out into the cold. He’d never done this before, obviously, and he wasn’t sure how things would work out. Stepping outside, he set off down the sidewalk, coat wrapped tightly around his body. He didn’t want to be late.
Later that night, he sat in his room, nursing a drink. The phone rang twice and then fell silent. Finishing his drink, he headed out to drive home. He didn’t want the kids to be the ones to find her.
Jay looked out the hotel window, watching the tractor pulling the hay bales wind through the narrow streets. Somebody would be eating well this winter, or so he assumed. What he knew about farming could fill the proverbial book.
Chris would know. Chris was the farm boy of the bunch. Or Kerry. But Chris was off doing third or fourth sound checks and Kerry was asleep. It really didn’t matter. He was just bored.
“Saw a shitload of hay,” he told Chris later.
Chris burst out laughing. “You really need something to do don’t you?”
The creek was wide and shallow, splatter-dappled with shade. Once Ringo found his way there, he knew his troubles were over. He splashed half-way across, listening to the distant bay of the hounds. Once he slipped their noses, he’d have no trouble slipping the law-enforcement on his trail. He started moving up the middle of the stream, careful not to disturb the larger rocks scattered along the bottom.
The crack was loud in his ears. Arms wide spread, he fell forward, baptized by blood and water.
I was almost, one-hundred percent sure, he’d made this up. Until now. Looking at the bike on the outside wall. Well, there was always inside.
Which – to my surprise – had bikes everywhere. At the check-in desk. By the bell-boy. (Did he ride your luggage to your room?) In front of the Bike Cafe. And in the room. Bicycle headboards. Ironing boards. Pictures on the wall.
He had actually been telling the truth. Stripe-me surprised.
“What do you think?”
“Wait till you see the Disco Ballroom!”
I’m pretty sure, ninty-nine percent, he’d made this part up.