She sits in an elegant but dimly-lit kitchen, spreading creamed honey on her white toast, its edges and middle crisp with brown grilled lines.  The toast was a satisfactory breakfast, dry and sweet and plain.  Extravegancies were unwanted, un-needed anyways.  Her heart breaks for herself regardless of the tingling, lip-smaking feel and taste of the honey, her favourite spread.  The alone-ness only bothers her in these early hours, in which it is impossible not to acknowledge how quiet a lone kitchen can be, until the toast pops and startles her into a contorted jump.

He has forgotten a pair of shoes, she realizes, looking towards the door.  And all she wants to do is phone him and let him know so that he can pick them up, and she can engage him in a kind of friendly, even flirty conversation, in hopes that he will remember how dainty they were on those first few dates, back when she was still in love with him and he loved her back.  He loved her back!  He did!  For a few precious moments in her life, he cared so much for her that he bothered to laugh with her, he bothered to leave his scuffed suede sneakers in her doorway in the first place.  Her toast crunched in her mouth and crumbs fell to the table, scattering around her fingers.

But I won’t call him, she thinks.  It would be a white flag, a giving in of horrible sorts.  I’ll wait until he notices, and then I will be sitting here on an idle weekday afternoon, nursing a cup of lukewarm cramy coffee with a friend and suddenly I will hear the phone ring.  I will answer it and hear his voice, shy and gravelly and earnest, admitting that he has left some more things that he needs to pick up.  Those sneakers are the only shoes he can wear on weekends.  All of his other shoes were shiny patten leather and only worn to work and evenings out, and there were plenty… laughing friends and glasses chinking in toasts to futures and friends and the littlest successes.  She won’t call him, she will wait until he calls her.  And then maybe he will look at her face and see months of friendship and kinship and courtship cooking behind her eyes.

She calls him and he doesn’t answer.  She leaves a message, awkwardly, about his shoes.  She tells him angrilly that if he doesn’t pick them up she’s throwing them away.  She even kicks them with her foot, moves them around with her slippered toes, lodging one of them under the dining room chair that sits stately in their entranceway.  The leather stripes on the side, once pure smooth white, are a dully, dingy, spotty brown.  They smell like his prespire, a distinctive him smell that she knows, that lingers in her bedroom and her coat closet.  The smell is what hurts her the most now.

He never calls back.  It’s a week and she still hasn’t heard from him.  Two thoughts enter her mind; either he knows I don’t intend to thro away his sneakers, or he never wants to see me again.  Perhaps though, he never recieved the message!  Perhaps his power was shut off and once turned back on, he missed that blinking red reminder!  She calls again, un-sensitive to the time, and this time he answers, groggy.

“You left your shoes here,” she says.

“I know,” he replies, scarcely awake.  “Got new ones.”

“I just wanted to make sure you–”

“You can throw them away, s’okay…”

She hangs up on him and cries.


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