Divorced

© copyright 1996-2009 by Michael G. Breece



Andrew

While walking his dog, Andrew came upon a large well manicured two-story house. It was the fall, the evening hour, a thick rich darkness had begun to engulf the neighborhood. This particular street was not on his normal route, it was being extended due to the dog’s constipation.

The light from a side window was a beacon, Andrew looked around cautiously from the sidewalk before approaching. The dog wagged it’s tail as the two shuffled closer. They stop at a point that Andrew could look over the ledge into the room yet far enough away from the house as to not appear suspicious. The dog circled tightly, Andrew could feel the leash in his hand bob along with gentle sounds of the dog tag jingle as he peered into the window.

The dog stops circling, looks up, then begins barking much to Andrew’s surprise. Looking down then up toward the window, there is a man in his late-thirties. Short brown hair, conservatively cut, wearing a striped Polo shirt with a solid blue collar. The man’s brow was slightly furrowed as he sees Andrew starring back. The man quickly moves toward the window, Andrew pulls the leash and hurries out of sight. At a near jogging pace, the dog wags his tail with his tongue showing from a smile.

Standing beneath the soft yellow glow of a street light at the corner, Andrew catches his breath. His dog stands with him, occasionally tugging the leash to investigate a sound, before eventually giving into the idea that the walk is on pause. The dog now sits, initially starring at his master than surveying the landscape patiently before kneeling just above the grass to dispel his bowels. Andrew contemplates where the past five years have gone.

Graham

One hour there, another hour back. A small basement apartment is all that awaits upon returning. An old tv with basic cable, a used computer with telephone internet access, some sort of deformed coffee table with sawed off legs and splatter marks in front of a dingy check patterned couch. Graham found a VCR the other day at a thrift store, but has yet to connect it. It does power up, he made damned sure of that before buying it.

It’s the drive though, it kills, to and fro work. when Graham was younger he loved music, now…it really doesn’t make sense. Funny how something once thought to be so important just sort of slips away like that, as though it was never there to begin with. And it’s the two hours, Monday through Friday, it’s the occasional Saturday, just too many hours spent with haemorrhoid flair-ups in the car…things tend to become clear, to reveal themselves as being painfully obvious.

Listening to talk radio the last twenty minutes wishing they would turn their big mouths to sports, instead they continue on about such pointless topics as the state of public education, it was fine…I can read, can’t I? What the hell more do ya want. Yet, nothing about the trade deadline, which is quickly approaching, the Pacers simply most make some changes, it ain’t the ‘90’s anymore, there are no Reggie Miller’s out there. Graham gives up, pushes on the volume knob turning it off, nothing now but the sounds of the road. Hypnotic, whizzing and zipping, tire on concrete racing past at 60 miles per hour. That and the god damned rattling of the cheaply constructed plastic interior of this shitty little second hand car.

Pulling up to Mr. Cromwell’s house, Graham notices the same yellow box in front of his apartment door with toys scattered about. The third day in a row of this. In keeping with this new found tradition, Cromwell’s four year old boy appears out of nowhere with a warm sloppy subdued yet sly smile to confront Graham with play-time. The kid never speaks, he just solemnly sits on the sidewalk and begins, periodically glancing up o see if he’s enticed Graham into joining. This strategy has yet to work, though Graham does feel for the kid.


Carefully shuffling past, Graham is finally able to jimmy the door open, damn key keeps sticking in the deadbolt. Once out of frustration he gave up on locking it, in a hurry the key just refused to turn then barely was able to be freed from the hole, Graham came home from work a little earlier to find some scruffy smelly shit-bag in a tee-shirt that read Detroit Pistons in his apartment claiming to be maintenance, yet had no tools.

Graham figures the man must’ve entered via credit card slipped between the door handle and the frame, with no deadbolt might as well leave the fucking door wide open.

Jonathan

Dear Michelle,

The 4am birds that once kept me up cursing I now laugh at. I’m sleeping more and more, still with the tv on, volumes up a bit since you’re not here in bed with me. Sometimes when I’m finally able to fall asleep I awake in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. I can’t tell if it’s some underlying condition or just a bad dream. I still have that PROBLEM, you know that thing, so who knows. Not only that it now happens more often. Without health insurance though I just can’t afford to worry too much about getting it checked out, you know, whatever, who cares. I was on-line the other night and looked up your name in one of those search engines. Only came back with some old things from your college days. Not even sure you still have your last name, probably not, likely long re-married to JEFF. I would ask how JEFF is, if only I gave a fuck. Wonder what you’re doing these days, still into gangbang fantasies? Ever act that stuff out in real life? I don’t know, it’s not that I wasn’t into it, but well, I don’t know about all that. You knew that I was a jealous guy when we married, so I don’t see why it became SUCH a problem, you know. Besides, you would’ve just ran-off with someone else. Nevermind. I just wanted to be with you. That’s all. it was hard to understand certain things that maybe you were trying to say. Anyway, I do hope that you are doing well now. And that this letter finds you. I’m sending it to your mothers address so she can pass it along to you, wherever you are.

Love,
Jonathan

Lansky

“I’m still alive……” comes to mind while Lansky stood there in his pajamas pulled down pissing. The hypnotic splishing is interrupted by the ringing of the bedroom telephone. So loud, it startles the urine back up.

“Samuel, hello. It’s the band. Just wanted to remind you to not forget the spread sheet for the Johnston account. Oooook, thanks bye!”

Urine forcefully pounds the water again before dribbling onto the porcelain at the shallow front of the toilet. Lansky dabs at the opening of his penis so as to prevent future leakage.

The house is cold, Lansky flicks his hardened right nipple while looking into the bathroom mirror. He lifts his white tee-shirt. Another grey chest hair or two.

The normal bee-line to the kitchen in order to begin brewing coffee is cut by a detour back into bed. Warm and safe, deep into the surrogate womb, Lansky pulls the covers tight as he rolls to his side and falls back asleep.

An hour late, the telephone rings. “Sam? You around? Pick up…ummmm hmmmm… I’ll assume everything’s fine, yes? That you’re on your way. Speak to you soon.”

Lansky lays on his back, still covered tightly in bed, contemplating. After carefully turning the sheets down, he walks to the media station. Telephone ringer off, answering machine volume muted, sleep is no longer an option…maybe later.

Through a window, the grey sky blends beautifully with the lush green grass. A tree branch displays an explosion of color against the canvas. A flicker of light causes Lansky’s focus to find himself reflected in the glass.

Sitting on a computer chair taken from work in the spare bedroom, turned office, he remains motionless. Void of life, vision getting lost in the patterns of the carpet as though it were a bottomless ocean.

The house becomes dark as rain trickles down. Lansky takes an empty coffee cup from next to the computer and places it on a back door step to collect droplets. Upon looking slightly to the left, what’s found is entirely out of character.

Two slices of whole wheat bread are placed into the toaster, browning while he retrieves the rain. The bread pops up, expelling a burnt fragrance, as Lansky stares into the cup. His eyebrows rise and fall quickly just before he takes the first swig. A lick of the lips, pause, salty recognition, walk to the toast. A new day has dawned, he thinks, as he eats his burnt bread and drinks his salty water. A new day.

A hot shower runs, steaming the bathroom, as Lansky relaxes on the toilet. Quite possibly the most satisfying movement in years. Correction, without a shadow of doubt the most satisfying. A quick wipe and a flush, short wait for the water to re-adjust, before entry into the myst.

Rarely does a saying ring as true as “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” while Lansky’s every worry melts, rolls off his skin down his legs and into the drain. Standing there seemingly forever starring into the creamy whiteness of the shower wall before him. Lost in a meditative state.

A frightful feeling builds inside all of a sudden, reality is in flux.

The telephone messages continue to mount.

There is nothing. Nothing left to cling to. Lansky notices a black spider near the corner of the wall going around in circles. He has never before seen this.

Steven

Coming home from a shitty day, shitty week, shitty month, shitty year. Steven plops an overstuffed bag of groceries down onto the kitchen countertop along with a smallish white box of Chinese food. Upon unleashing a heavy sigh, he checks his answering machine. As a man well into his 40’s, he prides himself on the latest in hi-tech gadgetry, however ne never could come to grips with a forever faulty message retrieval service. And so it’s the near obsolete answering machine that is still being utilized.

During the first two frivolous “Are we going out this weekend” messages left by boyfriends, well…friends whom Steven wished were “boyfriends”, he fumbles around in the kitchen for a fork – “Chop sticks? Who has time for chop sticks?” – while diving into the white greasy cardboard box of Chinese = favorite food, favorite type of man…”hmmm, come to think of it, that boy at the register sure was cute, must be why I’ve been eating out so much lately, damn thee” – Steven listens as his aunt rambles pleasantries in a thick Texan drawl before finally arriving at her point. “The reason I’m calling is that your cousin, Audrey, passed away. An apparent suicide, though you never can tell with these here things. It was a drug overdose, prescription. So anyway, Steven, if you could whip us up some of that famous bean dip and tortilla chips, maybe a 2 litre of Diet Coke or something. Also, if you wouldn’t mind swinging over and picking up Selma, she’s been afraid to drive here lately and since she’s closest to where you live… Well, let us know if that isn’t a problem. Oh! Almost forgot, funeral services are at noon this Saturday. Ok then Steven, have a bunch more calls to make. Take care of yourself and see you then.”

“There goes the weekend…of snorting lines off a coffee colored boys stomach before blowing him” – The next message is from his ex-wife. “I know you didn’t expect to hear my voice again for a while, but…I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet…I hope you have, don’t want to be the bearer of more bad news, but…your baby cousin Audrey died. I’m sorry. She was only 19 wasn’t she? Well, just a shame, I feel so bad for the things that must’ve been going on in her life. And how much you wished you could take her under your wing. At any rate, I know how these machines cut my message short, just wanted to let you know that I’m going be there for the service this week-end. Didn’t want this to be a surprise for you, is all. Well, see you there Steve, hope all is good…bye.”