TUESDAY: Alexander Leaving (With Apologies to Leonard Cohen)

BY DEB STARK

Copyright is held by the author.

IT’S NOT like you didn’t expect it, right? You knew the day would come when the season would be over, or your paths would diverge or whatever cliché you care to name made clear what you had would only be temporary, only a phase, only a moment in time.

Alexander’s leaving and you promised to stay calm. To act like it’s okay. Like your breath will still come, your heart will still beat and your legs will still hold you up.

Alexander is still sleeping, red hair on navy sheets. Do not crawl back into that bed, just to feel the warmth. Do not pretend the ticket isn’t sitting on the kitchen table, the table you bought the day you were cycling and were caught in the rain and went into that antique store. Where, among crowded rows of gold-rimmed dinner plates, black and white postcards, vinyl records and vintage lace you found that lime green table and decided you both loved it and you should be together and the table should be there too.

Yes, think about those early days. Alexander laughing, Leonard Cohen in the air. When you could smell the love, and taste the joy and wake each morning impatient for the night.

After all, you saw this coming, didn’t you? The days grew more important. Then they grew apart. The nights dimmed, flickered and faded. And now they have gone out.

Do not ask “what happened?” Don’t fool yourself by thinking it’s something you said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do, the towels in the bathroom, the expensive dog you bought, or how often you visit your mother. It’s all of that and none of that and nothing you can fix.

You knew this moment was coming. Bags are at the door, taxi in the drive, backpack in the hand.

Alexander’s leaving and you promised to stay calm. To act like it’s okay. Like you know your arms will still work, and your eyes will still open and words will still come out of your mouth.

Back stiff, embrace loose, kiss dry and light.

Wave goodbye to Alexander leaving. Say hello to Alexander gone.

 

5 comments

  1. Dave Moores

    Wow! Nice work indeed. Would it undermine the author’s intent to give us just a teeny hint of what went wrong? After all “you saw this coming” and the reader is inevitably curious as to why. Brilliant anyway, not a word out of place.

  2. Jan

    This is the best story ever posted on CommuterLit. Period.
    Musically, it was one violin playing a haunting note knowing there would be no return call now or ever.
    Exquisite.

  3. Karen Smythe

    This is a beautiful, moving, painful and yet musically uplifting story. Wow. I’m posting this on my social feeds to share with all of my writer and reader friends!! –Karen Smythe (author of the novel This Side of Sad [Goose Lane, 2017]).

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