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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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FIDGET

 

by Frances Badgett

 

Tomorrow

 

1.

Matteo is not here, in my moonlit and shadowy room. He’s in Paris, at work, in the middle of his day, body bent over the keyboard, his lazy wrists accumulating repeated beats of stress.

 

2.

Matteo’s name means“gift of God.”

 

3.

Would I remember him if he stood at the door, hair lifted by the hard wind? I construct him in my sleep beginning with his laugh—a hard rasp that unfolds from his stomach. I see his face in pieces, an eye, the arch of a brow.

 

4

I have a photo I took of him. I can tell that I am looking at him, not through the camera. I know that I am drinking in skin and bone and eye. There’s too much headroom. The angle is off. The lens is not fixed.

 

5.

At my still-dark moonlit hour, he is finishing lunch with his wife whose chilled white wine is sweating into the tablecloth. Her black hair piled on her neck, her eyes cutting through him. I cut open a mango and fill the kitchen with the scent.

 

6.

We have piled up many earnest words, sailed them back-and-forth over the Atlantic, landing on our respective screens.

 

7.

When we spoke, we spoke in loops, un-planning plans. He doesn’t want to love me like this.

 

8.

There are things he doesn’t tell me. Things I learn around the edges. His father was a famous painter. His mother was a dancer. He’s obsessed with Dixieland Jazz and the scores of silent movies. I type his name into the search field every day. What if something changed.

 

9.

“You sound sad.”

 

“I am, aren’t you?”

 

“Yes,” I lie. I’m not. I’m content to yearn. I was born for longing.

 

“We have to stop,” he says. It is his mantra. “I can’t do this.”

 

“Then stop.”

 

He does. For a while.

 

10.

It’s tomorrow for him. I’m in yesterday. I don’t write anything. We don’t exchange words. Then it comes, a distant ordinary day. A few words on the screen, a moving cursor. A few words back. Then silence, watching each other not speak.