He pats the cushion next to him. His lips graze my forehead. “I don’t
see what other choice we have.”
“There are always other choices.”
“Not anymore,” he says. He returns to the screen, his face illuminated
by the white light like a mask.
I spend the morning working on the Xerox-Clorox jingle. The drums
and guitar files were corrupted, but the keyboard and strings are intact.
I tweak the settings on the MicroKORG to mimic a drumbeat, but it
sounds like a pebble bouncing down a hallway.
At the airport, Patty pulls into Departures and I stay in the car.
George looks small and sad on the sidewalk with no suitcase, just a gro-
cery bag with his laptop and a toothbrush. He peers through the open
window. “Give me a proper goodbye.”
I look away. But a second later, I fling myself from the car. I cling to
him like a sea anemone, fingers glued to his back.
“Don’t cry,” he says into my ear.
“I’m not crying,” I say, my snot streaking the front of his shirt.
Patty sits in her BMW, hazards flashing, the car pulsing with the
overfed bassline of an ’80s dance song.
“You have to call me every day.”
“I will.” George’s eyes glint watery, Piscean blue.
Every man before George was a wash. Patty too lacks good fortune
in love. When we used to be close, we called it the Samuels Sister Curse.
“Men,” we’d joke. “They’ll either break your heart or break your leg!”
How did I end up with a Pisces—the flakiest sign in the zodiac? Fish
men are untrustworthy. But George and I both used to fuck around
on the road, so I must have some secret fish in me too. When we first
got together, we couldn’t play the monogamy game. He would try, then
wouldn’t. I’d cry, he’d cry. Screaming from some gas-station rest stop in
Nowheresville, USA. We were young then. We were always on some wild
substance. We were stupid. We’ve calmed down now, we like to reassure
ourselves during quiet moments before the television, our feet encased
in ridiculous fuzzy socks.
Patty weaves in and out of traffic as we approach the bridge, chasing the
lane that moves. I grip my seat, my heart jumping after each swift maneuver. Eighties pop attacks the speakers. When I reach over the gearshift to turn down the volume, Patty smacks my hand.