Patrick alone. Patrick alone on the seashore with the sand in his
shoes because he will not take them off because that is what she would
have done, she would have run barefoot or even naked down the moonlit
stretch of sand, she would have dived into the icy water and mocked him
for remaining on the shore until he joined her, stripped and ran and dived
in, freezing cold and so very happy…
Patrick crosses the same fifty feet of beach, over and over, with
the sand in his shoes and a warm coat buttoned tight and his hands in his
pockets. He is warm. He is warm and he does not care. His feet hurt.
His fingernails dig into his palms, leaving marks, perhaps even drawing
blood, muffled there, deep in his warm pockets.
Patrick remembers. She slept like a cat in the afternoons, curled
in the sunlight, naked. He has not slept in the bed since, and the last
depression is still there, the pit, the hole where she slept. He
remembers the O of her mouth, the shocked opening as he, before he, after
he slapped her. Not hard. And she came at him with claws outstretched,
she dug into him, she was fierce and pitiless and when she was done he was
punctured, pointless. She had shredded him and left nothing but the
frame, the stick figure that could only walk, endless on a beach. No room
for a heart. Nowhere to put it.
There are no stars tonight. The sky is dark and empty. The sky
is full of black holes, and the stars have fallen through, dying.