By Hand

I made my brother teach me to dance for your sorority formal. We practiced in Mom’s unfinished basement, old paint splattered on the floor.

He didn’t even make fun of me. That’s how sad I looked. For months I couldn’t hear the Offspring’s “Come Out and Play” without flinching.

Last night you said I never tried learning you. I said, “What does that even mean?” I’d had a few beers. My laugh followed you upstairs.

This morning you glanced up as I laced my running shoes. But you didn’t speak. You looked back at your uneaten food & cleared your throat.

I thought about giving you a peck on the cheek. I walked over, planning to. Instead I grabbed a sliver of bacon & left.

During the run, I thought of calling you-around mile three. But I never carry my cell on runs. I nearly turned around.

When I got back, the breakfast dishes gleamed in the dish rack. You didn’t load the dishwasher or leave on the table.

Why would you have washed by hand if it’s really over? Your mom and your friends won’t say where you went, but you won’t mind if I look.

Your dad’s in California. He’s now my Facebook friend. I sent requests to the 13 women with your name. Two new friends that aren’t you.

Your dad says you haven’t called. Says you were a challenge. Says not to look too hard. You’ll turn up & we’ll laugh about this.

I read the V-Day cards you gave me. Did I give you any? At least one, I think, that first year. It had a chicken on it, or maybe a hen.

I talked to Mary at the front desk of your old condo. I said, “It’s urgent.” She shrugged, looking at forms. Then she asked me to leave.

I’m still cleaning my dishes by hand. I think about you while I scrub. Sometimes I nearly drop them. Soon, I suspect, they will pile up.

My brother & I rarely talk, but I want to thank him for not laughing at me in the basement. I bet he won’t even know what I’m talking about.

© 2009 David Erlewine


One thought on “By Hand

  1. […] By Hand by David Erlewine Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Best of the Net NominationsNeed Your Help – Best of the Net NominationsJune 10th, 2009: Wednesday Weekly Awards 2008 Nominees […]

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