She left in the night. The woman who gave my life purpose left. She gave me everything. What she didn’t give me, though, were the memories I needed for closure. I don’t get to replay what was said during our final fight. I don’t get to stare out at the driveway and envision her car disappearing into the void beyond. She left in the night, leaving behind only a note, without ever before mentioning her unhappiness.
I woke up every morning at 5:00 a.m. I swung my legs over the side of the bed, where I allowed my neck to ease from side to side before rising to twist open the blinds. I had a neck ache most mornings. Perhaps I should have invested in a better pillow. I had one outfit for each day of the week. I was a simple woman. Simple women don’t waste their time deciding what to wear every day.
Years later, I read about Helena in the paper. She was winning awards left and right for her travel photojournalism, while I was reading my paper over my black cup of coffee in my dull greyish lavender pantsuit. I sure had fulfilled her monotonous expectations of what I would become, a lonely old, boring woman, and it was at that point that I decided that I was going to march myself to a bar.
I had never consumed even a sip of alcohol, despite my old age. As the bartender walked toward me, I realized that I was too pathetic to even know what to order. I instinctively blurted out, “Just water” when asked what my “poison” was. Whatever that meant.
A few seats down, an adorably plump lady around my age chuckled to herself at my lack of bar lingo knowledge. She scooted down after giving me a look that asked, “May I?”
Our relationship lasted two years.
Two weeks after moving in with me, she claimed that I was already set in my routines. I, apparently, never wanted to do anything.
“I just want to be with you,” I had said.
She moved out as quickly as she moved in. She left in the night, yes, but I was awake this time. She left and I can still taste the metallic saliva that rose in my mouth, after I bit my cheek, holding back tears. I can still see her piercing gaze she gave me, when I didn’t fight for her to stay. I can still hear the slamming of the screen door and the thudding of her suitcase descending down the front steps. I didn’t watch her drive off. I sat down at the table and knew I didn’t need to watch her car fade down the driveway to get closure. She left and I can still remember everything about that moment and I don’t know which was worse.
Savannah Slone is a queer writer who earned her B.A. in English: Professional and Creative Writing from Central Washington University and is completing her M.F.A. in Writing at Lindenwood University. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in or will soon appear in Manastash Literary Arts Magazine, Creative Colloquy, Heavy Feather Review, Boston Accent Lit, PaperFox Lit Mag, The Stray Branch, The Airgonaut, Ghost City Press, Sinister Wisdom, decomP magazinE, Maudlin House, and FIVE:2:ONE. Savannah lives in Skykomish, WA, where she works a handful of part-time jobs and cares for her toddler with autism. She enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, and talking all things intersectional feminism.