in case of emergency, pt. 7

I confronted her about it one evening, when I'd had a bit too much to drink. She said she had a lot more in storage, but she knew I wasn't buying it. I told her I hated how much time she spent on whatever she was doing, and asked her to stop.

"I can't. I need this. For me."

"This is all you ever do now."

"Just--an hour or two every day, at least. Let me keep that. Please?"

I agreed but I still wasn't happy about it. And every night she'd come home and spend an hour in the room, and eventually I couldn't take it anymore. I told her I was going to be out of town for the weekend, packed up, and waited for her to leave for work. Then I walked into the room.

It was a mess, filled with boxes and statuettes scattered everywhere. But it wasn't clear what she'd been doing, so I hid and waited instead. Several hours later she came home, singing to herself. She walked around outside for a while and I wondered if she wasn't coming in at all, but then she walked in with a glass of wine and sat down at the desk. I expected her to pull out her laptop and begin to work; instead she produced some sort of clay and began sculpting.

It was strange watching her work. She seemed focused and intent and quiet--and peaceful. She somehow seemed so much more vulnerable--so much more alive, in a way that she never really seemed to be the rest of the time, when she was just putting on a show for my benefit.

She probably would have kept going for hours without ever noticing me, but I tried shifting quietly when my leg fell asleep and ended up knocking over a few statuettes.

She wheeled on me then, looking frightened at first, then angry--in a way which seemed both new and very reminiscent of the day we met.

I stood quickly, saying something like "I can explain," but she stopped me.

"No, you can't," she said.

"I'm sorry?"

"You're not. Get the fuck out."


"I'm leaving." She began throwing things in her bag, avoiding my gaze as she did. Once she'd finished, I still stood there dumbfounded. She walked up next to me and stared for what seemed like hours. Then, "I guess it was fun while it lasted. But that's not for you."

And she fled.

I kept expecting a phone call or a letter, or to see her on the doorstep again. But all I had was the money and the little statues, which seemed to haunt me now. She still hasn't come back. There have been other girls, but never another Clara. Never so perfect and together and broken and fleeting and dream-like. And maybe because it didn't feel real at all, I never told any of them about the statues. I had to honor my broken promises.


Christin said...

"All I ever meant to do was to keep you, my crane wife."

Rob said...

well done.