(Originally published on March 1, 2003.)
They are right outside my door, struggling with something heavy and awkward. She is too pretty for him, a slender girl, with slender features that make her look severe or like a bird. She has this shy, goofy, charming disposition, that, though I have not spoken to her, is evident when she checks her box for mail or brings up the groceries. She makes these very animated, Meg Ryan faces even when (she thinks) no one is watching.
Now he's beside his tiny truck, painted rust gold and packed to the brim with an ugly plaid couch and household items covered in white plastic garbage bags. Because of the drizzle.
His tone is impatient, yet soft. He almost whines at her. She makes the cute faces back at him. He wants to know if there is anything else she'll be taking to her mother's, to please, go get it. He shifts his weight. She pushes up the winding staircase to retrieve more of her belongings--I hear her. From the window I see him remove his cap and slide grasped hands through oily, wet hair and unlock the door to his truck. She hurries. He waits.
Once outside he yells, softly, "I said it's unlocked." She tries the handle again to no avail. Beside him in the cabin, truck door still slung wide, she sweetly says, "You know I hate to move, but next time I'll do it by myself." She says it kindly, matter-of-factly, and he doesn't argue.
They kiss deeply and share a cigarette.
She leaves the truck for her own blue station wagon. She climbs in the driver's side. He honks at her. She honks the horn back. He returns her return honk and pumps down the window. He loudly, and with a hint of relief, informs us that she won't be back.