I spent the day helping her pack, only for her to lose her keys moments before she had to leave. They were locked inside her car and it took forever to get through to AAA. I felt a strange surge of guilt - the kind you get when something happens that isn’t your fault, but you still feel a little responsible because on some level you wanted it to happen. I knew I hadn’t touched them, but some small part of me doubted… a wickeder, crueler version of myself might have hidden them just to snatch a few more hours of her time. This was a cloying, yellowish thought that intensified as time dragged on. I had the absurd fear that if I reached into my pocket, I would find them, under the Altoids and the band-aides and the binoculars.
That wasn’t the case. She found them eventually, under a pile of dresses in the back seat. We both breathed a sigh of relief, but my heart fell. She was more than ready to go.
She hugged me. “You’d better come visit me,” she said.
“Can I tell you something before you go? I meant to tell you all summer but it never never seemed like the right moment.”
“No,” she said, immediately.
“It’s not what you’re thinking,” I said. “I promise. It’d be easier to show you. Here.”
“Your wallet?” she looked at me quizzically.
“Yeah, um. Look inside.”
“Your ID? What am I supposed… oh. OH. Oh my god, what the fuck, why didn’t you tell me?”
“It never felt like the right time,” I said. “And I’ve told you now, so. Better late than never.”
We laughed. She swore at me in exasperation. She hugged me again, promised to keep calling me by the name she knows me by, and said her final goodbye. I watched her tail lights disappear in the thickening rain, and grinned.
My first book has just come out in a brand new fancy edition. Big lovely pages, a new cover, bonus material. Read the story of Lars and his sister Maja as they try and wait out a three year long winter in their massive and seemingly endless home.
Now’s a great time to grab a copy of The End of Summer, which you can get directly from me.