New Life

There’s an extremely good chance that today might be a two-for day. I have two songs of different natures that may make good linking stories. We’ll see. However, one has already made a story and here it is. This story was inspired by “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt

New Life

Every female mentor you’ve ever had said you should never ask, never even begin the conversation, but you hear the words spilling from your lips. “Where is this going? Where are we headed?”

You’re sitting outside an ice cream shop in Occoquan, steering a plastic spoon in a cup of pistachio ice cream, smooshing it until it becomes mush, hoping that you’ll hear magic. You’re almost dancing on air because you think there’s no way he’ll refute your love this time. All of the kisses, all of the mind-blowing sex, all of the laughter, the dancing, the kisses. The kisses!

He scoops vanilla between his full lips, his blue eyes regard some distant point rather than you. “If we were going to be anything, I’d think we would have been there by now.”

This is the first bit of honesty he’s shown you. You nod. Pretend to be thoughtful, intelligent, while inwardly you implode. Again. This is the second time. He ditched you once for another, older single mother who he deemed was awesome because she was doing so much on her own, raising a daughter on her own while working and being everything, on her own. How could you, a non-mothering 24-year-old whose total mothering experience was a cat compete with that? You couldn’t, so you didn’t and half-halfheartedly moved on until you both were “single” again.

A frozen smile with icy bits, much like your ice cream, forms on your lips. Silence strains between you because it’s always been you who makes the conversation, trying to draw him out, from a bad past, from his inability to be forthcoming, but now you’ve got nothing except bits of pistachio that you prod with a plastic spoon. It wasn’t his British accent or his blue eyes that held you, spellbound you; it was his sense of humor when he chose to use it, his sweetness when he put his hands over your ears as a siren went past, something from years ago you never forgot, that made you think he was different from every other man you’ve ever known. You stare between your ice cream and the brick wall of the ice cream shop from your vantage point of the picnic table wishing a sinkhole would swallow you up.

It’s a beautiful day, early summer with bright sun, a gentle breeze, a perfect day for love, if there was some. You’ve quelled your tears so many times because of this guy that it’s become a fearsome practice. You’ll go home to your apartment by the Potomac with a view of the parking lot, put on a record, hug your cat, and know that it’s time to move on. Only briefly will you wonder how you ever got back into the place where you needed to move on. There will be some tears and maybe you’ll discover why Billie Holiday’s voice is perfect for the broken-hearted. You’ll play “Good Morning Heartache” for days, maybe with a few helpings of “I’ll Be Seeing You”.

Tomorrow, sitting on a rock while the tidal Potomac laps against the shore, you’ll watch the sun rise, shifting oranges and pinks while a soft fog rises over the river and think: new life.


Sascha Darlington

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