Ways to Make Me Leave You

by Christina Dalcher

Inspired by: “Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)”, Alison Kruass & Robert Plant, Raising Sand (2007)

Buy more of those lacy panties—the kind you haven’t worn in ten years because you say Jockey briefs are more practical and the lacy ones make you itch. Shave your legs and blow-dry your hair every morning. Carry your cell phone with you all the time, take it to bed, pretend you’re working when you’re sexting. Ring me from the office with another “I’ll be just a little late tonight, darling, so sorry, order some take-away why don’t you.” Lock yourself in the laundry room when you think I’m engrossed in the game and can’t see the red light over the telephone’s Line 1 button. Hide the perfume I didn’t buy you in the bottom drawer underneath a box of tampons because you don’t believe I’ll ever look there. Forget to throw away the receipt from the Two Pines Motel. Come home with the smell of aftershave in your hair. Come to bed be-lieving I can’t tell, can’t feel the difference inside you. Say you went to the movies with Helen on Saturday afternoon; giveme the plot line of a movie that played two weeks ago. Take two hours to shop for groceries. Encourage me to golf more, go to a game, take a road trip to visit Al up in Boston because it’s been so long since I’ve seen him. Go overboard on birthday and Christmas and anniversary gifts. Let me catch you with that faraway look in your eyes while you sit at your computer. Act guilty. Tell me you love me all the time. Tell me your sister bought you the scarf you can’t seem to stop wearing. Whisper his name when you’re sleeping next to me. Smile to yourself. Lie. Lie some more. Stay out all night on the weekend I’m supposed to visiting Al up in Boston. Stay home with a bad cold on the days you know I have meetings. Get bold. Get stupid. Get the dates mixed up and stay home with a bad cold on a day my meetings end early. Take him to our bed and don’t hear the motor in the driveway or the click of the lock or the sound of my footsteps on the stairs.

Christina Dalcher is a novelist from the northern part of the American South. Her short work appears in Maudlin House, Zetetic, and Five 2 One Magazine, among other dark corners of the literary ether. Thirty-five years ago, she fell in love with Robert Plant.