“How do you feel?” Her question was innocent enough, but the sound of her voice drove me mad.
“I’m fine,” I answered, adding, “thanks,” in an effort to mask my irritation. I knew it was uncalled for, but that didn’t diminish it any. I wanted to be alone.
“Can I get you anything? Maybe…”
“No,” I nearly barked it. “Well, actually…”
“Yes?” She hung there, desperate to feel needed.
“Ah, I couldn’t ask you to do that. It’s too far. Never mind, I’m alright,” I said, letting it linger.
“No, what is it? Anything to help you feel better,” she said, and I knew that she meant it.
“Of course,” she said, showing her worth.
“Even Rainbow Cone?” I lobbed the question right over the plate. She looked at me, puzzled.
“Rainbow Cone? Like…the ice cream place? The one on the south side?”
“Yes, that’s the one! Big cone, all those flavors. My mom used to take me there when I was kid. I can’t think of anything that would make me feel better than one of those big cones. Like a taste of childhood, you know?” It spun in an easy arc heading straight for her bat.
“Well yea, I guess. I mean, it’s a bit far, don’t you think? It’ll melt before I get back here.” She was right. A hush fell over the crowd.
“Oh,” I said, trying my best to look dejected. I wondered if that old place was even open anymore. “Yes, I guess you’re right.”
“Aw, jeez, Dan. Don’t look so sad! I’ll do it. What the hell, melted or not, it’ll still taste good, right?” Crack, boom! She shot it out of the park.
“Babe, you’re the best. Thank you.” I kissed her on the forehead and rolled back over in bed. I could hear her there for a few minutes more, packing up her purse and putting on her sneakers, the jingling of keys. I couldn’t wait to hear that door open and shut. I smiled when it did, leaving me lying in sweet silence.
Never did i dream that the silence would last for so long, that she wouldn’t come back to me. That wrapped up in this silence I would suffocate in guilt, for sending her away that day. Sending her to tragedy, to her death. That beautiful girl who wanted nothing but to love me, an undeserving man. No, a monster.
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.