My goodbye

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…”

“No.”

“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 guarded. “It’s not what I wanted for us.”

“Me either.”

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 sever 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.

 

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