Separate Ways

He looked at her picture for a long time that morning. It was actually a black and white of the two of them. She leaning back in his arms and he with his cheek against her red hair. That was a long time ago. Back when they loved each other. Or, pretended to care.

Over the years the couple would go their separate ways. He turned to the bottle whereas she turned to church. She would judge him and question his motives. He’d take off on weekends to far away places just to get away. He was always buying a bus ticket.

During their time apart, she would call and call and call. Asking him where he was staying? Wasn’t he spending too much money? Isn’t there a chance you’ll get mugged?

He stopped answering the phone. He turned it off. Didn’t want to hear from her. That was the whole point of getting away. And, she’d ask, Why don’t you bring me with you? He told her the truth. He just wanted to be alone for awhile. Take in cities all by himself. Go to art museums, poetry readings, see films. He asked her, Do you have an interest in any of those things? She would tell him, no. She said she only had an interest in him.

It became too much for him. The old fat man had now gotten to the point where he would be gone every night. Out drinking in bars. Sitting alone in the park with a bottle of whiskey and a beer chaser. Going home at strange hours and sleeping on the couch. She would stay up and wait on him with the front room light on and a cup of coffee. They didn’t talk. They both went their separate ways.

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