Fiction, 10/5/08

I left the veranda with heavy heart. The sun was slowly rising, setting the clouds on fire across the horizon as I stepped into brisk autumn air, my breath a plume of condensation. Behind me, the door closed with a soft click; I knew you were on the other side, not wanting to seem rude by shutting me out but desperately needing some tangible separation all the same. Seemed I really cut you to the quick this time. Such a goddamn shame. If I knew how to tell time by the sun, I’d have guessed it was just past 5 a.m.—not my usual waking hour, but then again, the morning’s events weren’t exactly run-of-the-mill, either. Time to leave, I told myself. No use lingering around, wallowing in self-pity. The grass, glistening with dew, soaked my ankles within seconds, my supposedly water-proof hiking boots notwithstanding. I traipsed north for a bit, looking around for something to give me a gauge of the time—a thermometer/clock readout on a bank sign, perhaps? I don’t know. I ended up asking a coffee-stand barista, who seemed possessed by an eerie wide-eyed vigor: 5:45, she cheerily informed me, handing over my Americano. I could almost see waves of caffeine rising from her pores. With more than an hour before the morning train departure—hour and a half, actually—I decided to hoof it to the station. A brisk jaunt would do me good. While sitting on a plastic bench waiting for the train I started composing a poem. Well, there was sort of a melody playing in my head, so maybe it was a ditty. I got a couple lines down on my ticket receipt before the train arrived; once I settled at a booth I pulled it out of my pocket and continued. The bucolic scenery passed by in a blur, stippled with trees and the occasional cow or horse. I made my way to the inter-car corridor and read the poem/ditty aloud:

She was my baby, this one
She was my sweetie, this one
She was my sunshine indeed
She was my lifeline, this one

She’s such a beauty, this one
One of a kind, this one
She’ll shine so brightly, you’ll see
Just give her time, this one

Used to be mine, this one
Made her my life, this one
But now it’s all over, fuck me!
All undermined, undone

I read it over again, this time to myself. It was loud in there. Between the gaps in the door I saw the landscape fly past, dizzyingly quick. I folded the receipt and slid it under.


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