1. You pressed the space bar
2. A Cheshire-cat moon
3. The people in my stories are all me
In my way, I loved him, I suppose. If we had our differences, there were always reasons on both sides and we managed for some twelve years to keep the vows the best we could.
It was inevitable that time and distance would take a toll. If the distance was not geographic, it was still almost tangible, so by the day we finally agreed to part, I think the relief he felt at severing the now-tenuous link was as great as my own.
If there had been children we would, perhaps, have found that our relationship grew closer, nourished by that bond. But the timing was never quite right, and after a period of time the subject was never mentioned, and our initial intimacy drifted into cool companionship and eventually into apathy.
We said goodbye at last on a darkening Saturday afternoon with handshakes and a mutual peck on the cheek.
“Write and let me know where you end up,” I told him, knowing I’d never hear from him.
“Sure thing,” he answered. He rolled down the window to wave at me as his laden truck rolled down the long driveway and out of my life.
I stood for a few minutes in the dusk and watched a Cheshire-cat moon creep up past the rooftops. It would be a dark night. Appropriate, I thought. Waxing moon, waning relationship.
By the time I went indoors the chill of night was taking hold. At this time of the year we always kept jackets by the front door—one jacket now—to keep away the damp and cold. I shivered and turned the thermostat up a little. I could do that now with no comfort but my own to consider.
I was prepared for my mother’s call. You’ll find someone else. She’d be hearty and confident. She’d never cared much for him to begin with; she’d welcome this chance for me to start over.
Maybe the next one will be more suited to you. I could almost hear her voice already. I knew she wanted only the best for me, but her ideas and mine were different about how the ideal could be accomplished. I’d listen, though, with love and respect, and when she spoke the words, as she’d done so often before, I’d be ready for them. Maybe this time you’ll find the perfect woman, John.