Not That Anyone Deserves Anything.
In a dream she goes to France because he is there, but when she gets there she realizes she has traveled to the wrong France.
He calls her, unable to say anything, and so instead gives real-time descriptions of what his cats are doing.
On the last day of summer camp, Backwards Day, they say, “This is the first dance,” and she thinks, “What a relief — I have another hour to worry about being asked to dance.” It’s a few minutes later before she realizes that, in fact, it’s the last dance, and she is out of chances.
People drink and then sing and then he returns home to find that she, true to her word, has gone. He throws the letter into the trash, hoping she will find it. Later he pretends to sleep through the sounds of someone else coming home and throwing up and falling down.
He does not kiss her goodbye and so her mouth catches on his jaw stubble and runs down his neck, leaving a sluggy trail. She walks her computer through the airport x-ray.
He looks for something of his, and finds her passport and her condoms and the little stuffed lion that used to belong to the cat. He finds her journals from years and years ago, but the letter he wrote her is not there.
She gives her therapist a plant with little yellow flowers.
He wants to drive down to the Smoky Mountains or, if he gets a hankering for sun, the beaches of North Carolina. “Not that anyone deserves anything in this world,” he says. “But still I, like the rest of us, feel that I do.”
The doctor finds a lemon-sized tumor in what he calls a cul-de-sac. “Well, I’m dead,” she says. Later, at work, when she calls to tell him, he asks her, “How big is a lemon?”
He takes a few slugs of vodka straight from the plastic bottle, and she puts on Very Best of Elevator Music, Volume Three. He has a giant snake tattoo on his left bicep. He tells her he likes her because she’s smart — because she’s great for conversation.
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