The End

I stood alone in the empty kitchen, the freshly mopped floor under me felt like something new. The glasses were packed yesterday, so like he had done the night before, I filled a bowl with water and I drank. The kitchen is clean, I thought. Ready for new lives.


A wishbone sat on the bare counter, but what could I wish for, and who would make the other wish? Even if he were still here and agreed to play such a silly game, he may have wished for money, and I just would have made another wish for him.

The next morning I would wake to new but familiar sounds. A siren, a workman, a baby crying, but it's all quieter where I am now. The sun gets in, there's a fountain outside, and though I didn't build or create this better place, I did use my degree to get here. I could have kept living in a way that lessened and diminished my life, but that wouldn't have made me strong. It wouldn't have been a test of my character, or meant I was a good soldier--it simply would have meant that I was enduring. I knew I deserved better, and walking away is often more courageous than staying--I knew that too.

I took one swig from the last bottle of bourbon and poured the rest down the drain. I opened the fridge then emptied the milk, the juice, the can of ginger ale he was saving for later. No more cigarettes by the window, no more martinis after midnight, no more questions or doubts, no more failed attempts at everything.

No more morning embraces and hour-long kisses.

I grabbed my bag.

One last look at the bathtub where he bathed, where we were often so playful and sometimes so sad. One last look at the living room where we slowed danced, where he said it was always me--the only one he loved like that. One last look at the kitchen where I made him a first meal, where he arrived on the dot, so handsome and hopeful. One last look at the room where we loved one another and slept, then I turned to leave and turned the key.

And with my newly strung guitar on my back, I left the love nest and the battlefield. I took the train home to where the sky is bluer and the light is brighter, where sirens still blare and babies still cry, but where the world looks more like mine. Now I can wish again for the things I want, and be in a place where I am free to breathe.

December 11, 2011