I hadn’t expected to get dumped. Especially while naked. Dumping a lover who lay beside you naked had to be about the lowest thing you could choose to do to somebody.
The evenings Grandy hadn’t called, I wore T-shirts with Daffy Duck on them, pants with elastic waistbands, and my hair scraped back into a ponytail. He never saw that side of me because I took care to go classic when I met him uptown for our dinner-and-theatre evenings. I made my own dresses with flattering seams and plackets on a Singer sewing machine, and after I first met Grandy waiting in the rain for a taxi, I started a subscription to Premier Bride. I planned to sew my own gown when the time came.
After several months, we ended up back at my place for the first time. That’s when Grandy announced he was moving to Cleveland in a few days.
I reached for my bathrobe. He chattered on about his new job; what his ex said he should do for their boys once he got settled; what flights were direct to which cities from the airport; where he planned to brunch, drink, play golf. He already had transferred his gym membership. I noticed his wallet, bulging and masterful, atop my bureau dresser.
Mama reared me to be a good Southern hostess no matter how my guests behaved, so I fried eggs over-easy, brewed a pot of coffee, and sliced oranges in the kitchen, my hands on automatic pilot. I tried to steady my shaking hands; I tried to swallow, but my throat had gone numb. At some point while Grandy was hastily downing his breakfast, I noticed him gesticulating and wisecracking, and I imagined tilting his head back by a forelock until his mouth fell open, then lopping off his tongue with my pinking shears.
“So, we’re good to go, are we not?” Grandy pats the top of my head as he stands upon my threshold. I smile up at him, then gently shut the door on his heels. Flip the deadbolt.
I am fingering the slurry of $100 bills and the dozen credit cards in his wallet when he starts ringing the doorbell. Silly man. He goes completely hoarse before he finally gives up pounding.
From early on, Shoshauna Shy saw the words everybody spoke appearing in the air as if typewritten on an Olivetti. If they paused, there was an ellipsis; if they were listing groups of objects, there were semi-colons. With the advent of computers, the words are no longer in Courier, but usually Garamond, font size 11, and italicized when they are emphasizing something.
Cover Photo by Ken Mayer