Claire…the moment I met you I swear…Kristy Webster has a talent that eludes most writers, including myself: how to express despair without sounding like a victim, or alienating you readership. Love, hate, anger, fear: these are easy to translate into the written word. But what of the soft grievances of loneliness? Here is Kristy’s third and final entry into our contest. All new entries must be submitted by midnight, tonight, land of the double-entundra time. (that would be Moscow)
Movie Night without You
by Kristy Webster
Claire has left me. I can still smell her drool on my pillow. Her fine hair scattered on the faux wood floor like brazen little slivers of abandonment.
I didn’t mean to yell at her like I did. I’m the type who gets into it with everyone at some point—parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, bosses, the bosses’ kids. Each time I promise myself I’ll practice being responsive, not reactive, but before long, I lose my way again.
But Claire was supposed to understand. She was supposed to stay. We’d made a pact, each in our own language– over Netflix and General Tso’s Chicken, over deleted Facebook profiles and cancelled Match.com accounts, a promise to grow middle-aged together.
I keep the door to my one bedroom duplex wide open, leave some cut up pepperoni on a plate in the doorway. I beckon her. I tempt her. I pray her to me silently, then in sobs. I think of all the times we watched Buffy or Friends, ate cookie dough ice cream out of the carton, all the times I walked out of the shower to find her waiting on the bathmat, wagging her tail, looking up at me as if I were her Venus.
Claire doesn’t know that I’m a nobody. It’s a secret I’ve kept carefully hidden from her for eight years. She doesn’t know my phone rings off the hook because of collector’s I can’t pay off with my $10 an hour job. Claire doesn’t know I’ve gained 50lbs in the past five years, or that I haven’t had a date in three. Claire only knows that she belongs to me, not like a pet, but like a sister, or a best friend.
I hear brakes squeal and a man yell, Stupid dog! I throw the pillow off my lap and run outside, past the sun rusted shrubs that frame the sidewalk, past the darkened windows of my hope to see the tip of a white tail. I hear the sound of a hurried pant, I watch her running not towards me, but farther and farther away…