by Myfanwy Collins
My ex-wife Shasta found the tail of a squirrel underneath the tree in front of her duplex this morning. She wouldn’t last the month and she told me so as she sat on the couch, weeping, her hair in little tufts on her scalp. All I could think of was getting to the airport and having a double for just a dollar more.
We’d slept in the same bed on the night I arrived. I held her like I used to with her head on my chest, my arm cradling her. But it hadn’t felt real. Her back was a xylophone and her breasts, naked against my ribs, deflated wine bladders.
As she slept, her cheeks hollowed and her jaw slackened and revealed a dark, cavernous mouth. Breath, moisture, oxygen, blood, would travel in and out how many more times?
After that first night she’d taken to the couch. We’d been too close.
I left her sitting there crying over the squirrel or its tail or that she is dying and there is nothing we can do about it.
I had to leave. There were things to take care of — a job and a pregnant wife.
I walked out the door, got into the rental and drove to the airport on the cement roads of Central Florida.