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Updated: Jun 11, 2021

IMAGE: Collage of a woman with her head in the friidge

He leans against the cutlery drawer with the missing handle.

She leans against the leaking freezer, pointing at him with the handle of the cutlery drawer. She holds it like a baby pirate’s cutlass, but her head is fuzzy and she can’t get the voice right.

He touches his broken quiff and says, “That was a party – that was really – was a party really – was a real party - but this - this is the winter of despair, like in Dickens, and it’s also the winter of our discontent, like in Shakespeare.”

She holds her hand against her mouth and, when she is sure no vomit will escape, she replies, “Right. One - stop quoting things all the time. Try to have an original thought. Two - if you must quote, you don’t need to say ‘like in Shakespeare’. I get the references.”

“Not everyone does.”

“You’re not with everyone. You’re with me, and besides, if winter comes can spring be far behind? Like in Shelley.”

They laugh and pause, but neither is sure who initiated the pause or quite knows how to break it. Twenty or thirty seconds are used as they sweat and roll their heads and necks. He thinks about repairing his quiff, but doesn’t have the wherewithal. He thinks his eyes are sweating.

He closes them and asks, “Are we done?”

“Oh God. Oh God, oh God, oh God. What does that mean? What does it even mean?”

She describes a circle with the drawer handle.

He opens his eyes.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m with you. Like I was with you. Like before.”

“It can’t be like before because it’s now. And – and – and I always hated these fucking drawer handles.”

He laughs, and it makes him bring up some sick in the sink.

“We have legendary parties, don’t we?”

“We did. What Patrick did last night will stay with me forever. We need another one. We need a big break-up party.”

“Yes! With a live band and a shit magician and your unreliable sister to do the catering.”

“Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. But we’re still splitting up, right?”

“Christ, yes. I’m bringing someone else to the party.”

“Right. Yes, right. We can probably both do that.”

Written by ROB WALTON

Artwork ‘Decisions' by CR SMITH

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