I lit you a candle. I cleaned out the fridge. I bathed the dogs. I started parting my hair in the middle. I took the management position at the office. I began taking walks to cover more ground. I opened my mind to new music but when I heard a familiar song that reminded me of you it took precedence. I donated money to the NRDC. I learned how to build a fire. 

I fashioned sentences that had the words “come” and “back” in them, with other words sprinkled in between and around so that it wasn’t obvious, and said the sentences out loud to whomever I came in contact with, but emphasized the “come” and “back” parts to make sure, if you were nearby, you’d hear them. 

Eventually I cut the bullshit and started saying the words “come” and “back” to whomever I passed or interacted with realizing there was no time to waste.

I learned how to say it in ten different languages so that I could utter it in public without people thinking I was crazy, and maybe just eccentric, and exotic, not heartbroken, not brokenhearted.

I limped to the ocean, laid down in the sand, and shaped my body into the letters. When I needed help, say with the M or the A, I asked strangers to join me or used nearby sticks or rocks or seaweed to help flesh the message out. 

One night the power went out in the house. I was fairly certain it was you answering. The lights flickered off and on. It was a good thing I’d learned Morris Code. Now I know you’re everywhere. Every time I blink we are sharing messages. 

5 Comments

  1. Teresa Plana

    Whoa, this is PERFECT! It’s hilarious and sad and so damn relatable too. I don’t really know what to add! For me it works really nicely.

  2. Benjamin Niespodziany

    Sheeesh, this is really good. “…eccentric, and exotic, not heartbroken, not brokenhearted.” So sad and so good. Spelling it in the sand is so wonderful, as is the final paragraph. The final three paragraphs, for that matter, really start to lift the story and carry it off into the sky. Really well done.

  3. Bud Smith

    Ah, this just broke my heart. Just a big longing to this that I know cannot really be satisfied. The whole part here towards the end killed me: “I fashioned sentences that had the words “come” and “back” in them, with other words sprinkled in between and around so that it wasn’t obvious, and said the sentences out loud to whomever I came in contact with, but emphasized the “come” and “back” parts to make sure, if you were nearby, you’d hear them.
    Eventually I cut the bullshit and started saying the words “come” and “back” to whomever I passed or interacted with realizing there was no time to waste.
    I learned how to say it in ten different languages so that I could utter it in public without people thinking I was crazy, and maybe just eccentric, and exotic, not heartbroken, not brokenhearted.
    I limped to the ocean, laid down in the sand, and shaped my body into the letters. When I needed help, say with the M or the A, I asked strangers to join me or used nearby sticks or rocks or seaweed to help flesh the message out.”

    • Bud Smith

      and just the idea that the narrator has learned how to communicate with the ‘dead’ by the end of the story … damnnnnn. I wonder what it would take for her to learn how to interpret the messages and for her questions to be answered about their relationship in some meaningful way. Maybe she wouldn’t like the answers. Maybe they would be even sadder … like, “If I kill myself can we be together.” “No, we are broken up, please stop trying to contact me.” “But I love you.” “We talked about this.”

  4. Bill Merklee

    Man does this hit home. Perfect pain and longing, with a glimmer of hope in the end, even if it may only be in the narrator’s mind (I’m not sure about that, which makes it all the better). Send it out.

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