POSTCARDS by CHRISTY MILLER

Georgie, you said, come back to futon. That futon was terrible but I liked how you always specified. I’m beat, I’m going to futon. All I want to do is crawl into futon. You had a bedroom and a job, I don’t know why you never bought a bed. Maybe you have by now, but I sort of hope not.

I can’t sleep, I mumbled, face down on the floor under the kitchen table. This street is too loud.

It’s not the street, you said, it’s the whole city. You live here now, you have to sleep here.

You were my first kiss, on a dare behind the nacho stand at the public pool. Georgie’s never kissed a boy, someone taunted. Probably that McDonald kid with the scar, he was always such a prick. I said that I had too kissed someone, even though I hadn’t, and someone said prove it. Kids are so stupid. So I grabbed you and kissed you, the new kid wearing your grandpa’s class ring on a necklace, you cute little freak.

Come lay on the floor with me, I said. It’s cold and dusty. We can pretend we’re mice.

Even if I was a mouse, you said, I’d take the futon over the floor. Please. Come back to futon.

We went steady for three years in high school and then you moved again. To Nebraska. You sent me postcards of corn fields and the Omaha skyline.

Remember the postcards you sent me from Nebraska? I said.

Yes, you said. You’re freaking me out.

I’m sorry I didn’t keep them, I said. I started to cry.

I’ll send you more, you said, and I cried harder because you were leaving again in two months. Who applies to grad school in England? Who gets accepted?

I moved here so you’d never have to send me postcards, I said. You didn’t answer because it was a sore subject. You didn’t know you’d get in. I knew you’d applied when I decided to move to New York. You said you wouldn’t make promises you couldn’t keep, but you loved me. I booked a one way ticket the next day.

I want to hold you while I’m still here, you said. Get in futon. I crawled across the apartment on my hands and knees, red and bony and aching.

Are you sorry you moved here? you said once I was under the covers.

Yes, I said.

I’ll never be sorry, you said and I kicked you. That’s from Dirty Dancing, I said. Don’t quote Dirty Dancing at a time like this.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner, you said. I bit your arm, wrapped around me, and suddenly felt very tired.

What are we doing tomorrow? I asked.

Let’s take the Orange line and get lost, you said. Pick a number.

Twelve, I said. I always picked twelve. I was born on January 12, you were born on September 12. I always thought we’d buy a house and hang a big metal number 12 in the dining room over a mid-century modern table. Like on those decorating websites.

We’ll take it twelve stops, you said, and wherever we are, we’ll get off and have lunch.

I love that idea, I said. I yawned. You said, see how much better it is in futon? You’re a futon mouse, too.

You’re a futon mouse, I said.

Your mom’s a futon mouse, you said. The next day we took the Orange line twelve stops and had lunch at a hole in the wall deli. Soda was three dollars for a can. A can! The next day I got an email from the other girl you were sleeping with. She introduced herself and said she was sorry, so so sorry, but she wanted to let me know. I forgave you. I thought about your grandpa’s class ring on your skinny white chest and I said, For the record, you’re a fucking asshole, but you’re my favorite asshole and I’m keeping you. I said it like it was up to me.

The next day she told you she was pregnant and you didn’t go to England after all, you just went down the street to her apartment.

I moved back to Virginia. You’re not my favorite asshole anymore but you’d still make the top ten, easy. Anyway I’m sleeping just fine these days.

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About the Author: Christy Miller writes in Los Angeles. She hopes you’re having a good day. 

Story Song: “Side Effects” by Dawes