Can’t Remember

When you give something up, it’s gone. Never see it again. Habits, liquor, people, things in life you thought were important; thought you needed. They just vanish. Maybe for better? Maybe not?

She’d been gone a long time. He gave her up back in ’86. That’s when they both decided to let go. There was no forgiveness. No wishes of goodwill. The judge put an end to it and that was that. All the fighting, all the arguing, had ended. They were two separate people walking out of a court house. They didn’t even say goodbye.

And now he sits in his trailer. Listening to trucks roll up and down 41 throughout the night. No pictures on walls. No paintings. Just cheap furniture and a coffeemaker. A stack of paper plates stood on the counter.

The old man stayed up all night eating Pop Tarts and drinking coffee. Sitting in silence. Watching the clock. Sometimes he thought of her. Wondered if she’d remarried. Was she alone like him? Semis shook the walls.

He couldn’t remember what she looked like. Was her hair red, or, blonde? Did she have green eyes? Thought she was fat. Bet the years whittled that away. Maybe now she was thin, he thought. Thin as a rail like me, the old man whispered. The heat came on.

These things in our past. Things we give up on, he mumbled. We let go of them, but, they don’t let go of us, he poured another cup. Grabbed a Nutty Buddy out of the cabinet.

I wish she’d let go, he said. Maybe it’s her ghost? he opened the candy bar and took a bite. I’ve done my part, he laughed. I’ve done my part, he closed his brown eyes. Ran frail fingers through gray hair. Lit a cigarette. Listened to trucks fly down 41.

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