Tag Archives: Guilt

Corners

He is on the corner everyday. Eight am sharp. I’m sure to catch the morning rush. Even the homeless know something about customer volume.

Today, he displays the anything helps sign. The crude black letters stretch across a degraded piece of cardboard, the crease lines wearing through from months of folding it. Or maybe years.

I take a long draw on my cigarette, feeling the nicotine plugging into my nerves. Rolling down the window, I blow out the smoke, my mind briefly drifting back to the evening before. The smell of Jon’s cologne on the sheets and the light graze of a touch. My lips curl into a smile.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the homeless man starting to edge towards my car. In annoyance, I realized he had seen my open window as a signal that I hadn’t intended.

I glanced at the light, hoping the green circle would save me from an awkward interaction. But with no luck, I quickly stubbed out the cigarette and started cranking up the window, cursing under my breath about not paying the extra cash for automatics.

I gently shook my head as he continued to approach and mimed a “Sorry.” His dry face slowly morphed into a scowl. I looked back at him with a mixture of exasperation and guilt blossoming in my head.

He stared back; his volatile deep blue eyes seeming to pierce into me.

For a brief moment, I felt compelled to see if I could find change or something to hand over to him. His open scrutiny bared on me like a spotlight with every driver around me watching the show.

But that feeling soon vanquished at the sound of a horn blaring from behind me. I hit the gas without a second thought, relieved to see the bright green burning ahead. Once I made the turn, I could just put the whole moment behind me.

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THE ARGUMENT

“What is it, Sherry?”

“I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I just…I just.” I was at a loss of words; it hurt horribly inside. How do I say this? A pain was ripping through my heart. My body cowered from the feelings.  “I just don’t think this can work out.” Eyes down. I waited for a response.

“Oh.”

Just an oh. A one syllable, round word. Oh. A quiet oh, a lonely oh.

“It’s me then?” he said more lively. Looking up in mid sentence, I caught his eyes. They had just become so distant. Those baby blues that I had loved so much were disappearing in a fog of water. As he stood before me he looked ragged, torn, a skeleton of a man. Not the man that I had met months ago. The total opposite. Yes, maybe it was him.

“No,” I said it quickly, wrenching my head back down.

“Then what is it!” he snapped back at me. He started pacing. “You can’t just start something like this and expect me to play this game with you!  I’m so sick of this Sherry! You’re always going back and forth. Do you love me or not?”

He was yelling now.  Was this how it was supposed to end? Being yelled at to answer a question that takes some people years to answer? I closed my eyes to make the sight of him vanish for a moment. My heart was throbbing in my chest. Why couldn’t I just turn back time? Go back to seven months before this and make it all stop. Not letting him buy me a drink. Not letting him make me laugh. Not letting him make me feel wanted. It hurt.

I shook my head. “That’s not the question you should be asking me, Sam. Not now.” I looked up at him, eyes pleading to break from this subject.

He looked out the window, staring into the darkness that had fallen over the hills. Those beautiful rolling hills; the reason we moved here. He looked so drained. He turned back to me. Cold.

“Okay, Sherry.” His voice was so quite, restricted. He nodded slightly. “When you finally decide the questions that I should be asking, please don’t expect me to ask them. Because, for one, I won’t even be here.”

With that he grabbed his coat off of the chair setting next to me and walked sternly out the front door. The room seemed to dim as he walked out.  I closed my eyes.  I wanted to escape from this place but had forgotten the way out.