A journal of narrative writing.
Equinox Crashing
Page 2

* * *

The summer slowly continued. I counted the days until I got paid again.

“You don’t bring me flowers anymore,” sang Lorraine.

“I never brought you flowers,” I told her. “Not once.”

“I know that,” she said. “It’s just a line from a song.”

“You want me to buy you flowers?” I asked.

“How about dinner instead?”

“I could make you dinner,” I told her. “What do you feel like?”

“I feel like going out, somewhere nice, maybe steaks—someplace where they make you sit at the bar for at least one martini before they even consider finding you a table. You know, the kind of place where we have to get dressed up and the bartenders all wear vests and the martini olives have blue cheese inside.”

“I know a place like that,” I told her, “but if that’s where we’re going, you’re springing for dessert.”

“You’ll get your dessert,” she told me.

* * *

I went out of town for a week to visit a friend. The whole time I was gone, all I could think about was Loraine and all of the different ways I wanted to make love to her. I envisioned doing things leaps and bounds beyond the standard three, maybe four positions that had, up until then, been our mainstay—complicated stuff that I hardly even knew how to ask for. Imagining making love to her became a distraction and I left a day early, packed up my backpack and drove all the way back to Wisconsin.

When I let myself in Loraine’s place I found Boris in the kitchen wearing shorts and frying an egg. Loraine slept under the sheets. I wore the backpack that she bought me for seven dollars. I didn’t think there was much to say, but I woke her up all the same.

“What the fuck Loraine?”

“Sorry Charlie,” Loraine said. She looked it. I walked through the living room and into the kitchen as she struggled to put clothes on under the sheets.

I gave Boris a dirty look, took a deep breath, and scratched my fingers. Boris was a big guy, and probably could have taken me in a fight without too much exertion. Neither of us really wanted to fight though. Actually, I did want to punch him, but only a little, just to recover some of my dignity, not to do any real damage. Boris looked mostly ashamed. I walked back into the living room and started gathering up anything that was mine, stuffing it into my backpack. Boris took the egg off the burner and slipped out the front door without a saying a word to anyone. He carried his shoes in one hand and closed the door gently behind him with the other.

Loraine pulled herself together. “This was just a stupid mistake,” she said.

“Boris or us?” I asked.

“Boris was the mistake. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Were you behind on rent?” I asked her.

She slapped me across the face and then recoiled. “I’m sorry,” she said, taking another step back. “I wish I wouldn’t have done that.”

“Done what?” I asked, rubbing the side of my face.


“Listen,” I told her. “I just want to get my stuff and get out of here.”

“We have a good thing going,” she told me. “I just messed up is all. This was just a one time fuck-up.”

“I’m leaving,” I told her. “The air stinks in here.”

“Wait,” she said. “We can talk about this. I know we can talk about this.”

“And you were wrong about the elephants,” I continued. “They can’t paint shit on their own and you were a goddamn idiot to think they could.”

I moved toward the door, but she stepped in front of me, putting her arms out to each side, blocking my way. Her hair fell over her eyes, but she didn’t dare lift a hand to push it aside. I still wanted her so badly—I couldn’t help it. I wanted to pick her up and carry her back to the bed and make love to her on the soiled sheets, make love to her so loud that Boris could hear from where he sat outside in his car.

“We can talk about this,” she said again.

“About my leaving or about the elephants?” I asked her.

“Just take the bag off and sit down for a minute,” she pleaded. “Just give me one minute to explain.”

I turned around and made like I had given in and was going to sit in the living room and listen to her talk. But then, I turned a sharp corner through the kitchen and made a break for the backdoor. As I opened it, I could hear her running through the living room.

“No, Charlie, no!” she yelled. “Stop!”

I gave her a backward glance as I pushed through the screen door. She looked so upset, in that one moment, that everything inside me felt drawn back toward her in a way that was hard to hide. I heard the morning birds chirping, thought I could forgive almost anything, and then half-smiled at her, there, from where I bolted through the threshold of the doorway. I half-smiled at Lorraine—one extended arm—reaching back—my body spinning, almost dancing toward her, as my foot stepped out into nothing.