X

By Dave Clapper

Either I make a lie of the promise she exacted of me or
I lie when people ask, "What happened between you and
X?"

"We just drifted apart."

And everyone knows that's a lie, because they saw the
suddenness of the "drift," but they respect the rules
of lying and leave it there. I moved around a lot as a
child, so perhaps I missed the class in which the rules
of lying were taught, but everyone else seems to know
them, so I pretend I do, too, and change the subject.

My therapist doesn't let me off that easily.

"Do you miss X?" she asks.

"No," I say too quickly. She raises her eyebrows.
"Well, yes and no. I miss the relationship with X, but
I don't miss X. Does that make sense?" She nods and
writes something down.

It's gray here. The sky is as watery and fluid as
what's right and what's wrong. Things were done--things
happened--that shouldn't have. And if we pretend they
didn't happen, that exacerbates the wrong. And if we
acknowledge what happened, that makes it worse, too.
And it constantly drizzles, drizzles, drizzles. I wish
the skies would open up completely and wash everything
away. But they don't and won't.

Do I miss X? At times, I think X must have been a
figment of my imagination, but then I untie the rowboat
from the dock and take it out to a surprisingly shallow
place in the middle of the bay and I see the open eyes
of Y sweeping back and forth across my face with the
tide, saying, "It wasn't enough that you fucked her?"
and I know that X was very, very real. But I promised
her I wouldn't tell.


Dave Clapper lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two sons.
He has been published in InkPot, 3AM Magazine, Pindeldyboz, and Tryst,
among others. He is the Editor of SmokeLong Quarterly.

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