We lived together in college: she, a tall, lanky redhead from the tobacco fields of Kentucky and I, a seen-it-all rogue from the Big City. They say opposites attract, and they may be right. About the only thing we had in common was an inordinate passion for gin rummy–the 2-year ongoing score on the wall was a thing of beauty–and a few other games of the indoor variety.
We fought. A lot. Nothing physically violent, but harsh words and harsher looks. She couldn’t stand to be alone, and I couldn’t stand not having any solitude. We crawled up under each other’s skin like a drug you taste and can’t forget, always longed for and regretted. A kick that leaves you wondering why you ever started but knowing you’ll never want to stop.
Yet we did split up. It had to end, one way or another. And for all her need, she swore she’d be a wayward wife. Even in the middle of intimacy, I’d catch her looking over my shoulder at the mountains, and I knew she was thinking about how far she could walk that night, barefoot, in her white dress shirt and ragged jeans. Just up and out the door. The thing is, she expected me to be following along behind, and I knew I would watch her go.
She called me a few nights ago, back in town for a short stay. I fixed her dinner. We talked. She’s gone and married a good ol’ boy from Texas, a soldier. He treats her right. He sounds like a real nice guy.
Her virtues were golden, and her vices were the purest pink I’ve ever seen. She’s not alone anymore.
I don’t know what else to say.
(February 11, 2011)