I’ve moved to the porch now, where cell reception is better. It seems warm for December, although fall, winter, and spring temperatures in New Orleans can be mercurial. Only summer is a constant: hot, damp, and still.
I’m sitting on the steps, where we sat with martinis and wine after every day of Jazz Fest, where I sat the day you sent the brass band to beg me to stay with you. I’m leaning against a column, my elbows on my knees.
“Well,” I say, “I don’t suppose you’re interested in a farewell cocktail…”
“So…are we just never going to see each other again?”
There’s a pause, but not a long one.
“Not on purpose.”
I take a breath and let it out slowly.
“That’s really sad.”
“It is sad,” you say, and your voice has a pitch that I recognize from past conflicts—higher than your normal baritone, and defensive. “It’s not what I wanted for us.”
This time the pause is long, moving well into uncomfortable.
“Ok,” I say, finally. “So I guess this is where we say goodbye?”
“Goodbye,” you say, and the line goes dead.
I sit on the porch a bit longer. I am surprised at how little emotion I am feeling. I didn’t expect this phone call, didn’t expect that you would want to cut all ties. But I don’t feel the desperation and panic I have felt earlier during this long breakup. Instead, I feel… released.
When I go back inside I realize I haven’t cleaned today, so I pull out the vacuum and run it across every floor and every rug in every room of my house.