Travis Sharp, Some Things We Take with Us When We Leave

You take me to a beach. The sand on the public beaches is required by law to stick between your toes. I didn’t know there were beaches here. I thought beaches only existed in Florida. Of course there are beaches here, you say. The sand is between your toes, too. There is sand in your hair. There is sand in my mouth.

 

I must be at a beach wherever I am since sand is always getting in my mouth. I open my mouth to speak and within half of half a second it is full of sand. I close my mouth and swallow.

 

That is, at least, my excuse for not speaking.

 

The shells catch the light off the moon and make strange shapes, like a linoleum bathroom floor or a yellow wallpaper.

 

This is our last walk together. That is similar to what I said in the email that brought us here. This will be our last walk together.

Why?

Because I’m lonely.

Then stay. Let’s walk again tomorrow.

You’re making no sense.

I know. I’m used to making no sense. I’m used to making nonsense. There is some lack, a canyon-sized lack, right at the end of my mouth. Words fall off the canyon’s edge to their death. Words are fragile things. You cannot glue together the pieces.

I have glue in my car, you say.

You’re not understanding me.

We can glue it back together, whatever it is.

You’re not understanding me. I imagine you getting the glue and applying it to my bottom lip. The glue hardens. The words now slide, not fall, off the edge.

That’s better?

It’s the best that I can do, you say.

I know.

Our first walk together: It was two years ago. It was 3,000 miles away from here. Do you remember?

Yes, I remember.

It was raining but we kept on.

Yes. I remember.

And we left our shoes in the car and pretended that it wasn’t an accident. We said it would be a tradition. And you cut your foot on a shell.

And we said that nothing would stop us. You would get a high-level job in a fashion magazine and I would publish a book within the year. We would live together, and I would have a writing studio two blocks over.

And for reasons I can attribute only to sand, I began to spend nights in the studio. I bought a cot. A fridge. A stove, a microwave, a kitchen set.

And then you stopped talking to me.

And you sent me this email and said that this is it.

Yes, this is it, I say. But what comes out is sand. I vomit sand all over your shirt.

 

Some things we take with us when we leave: you take the microwave, I take the blender. You take the bookshelf, I take the books. I remove those parts of you that remain like taking off excess clothes or shedding a winter coat. All that remains is that indicator of loneliness, an I in large font.

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