by Evalyn Lee
It was like having a stream of people mooning her, looking out the window as the train traveled down to Washington, D.C. This was the close-up asshole view of America: the graffitied walls, all the warehouse depots with their empty ledges, the broken glass, the broken pots, and always the dying, grubby grass on the ground beside the train tracks.
Deborah lifted up her iPhone 4s and took a picture.
Then she updated her status to “Single.”
She winced to see the new photo Janet had tagged her in, and not just because it was another reminder of how fat she was, another picture signaling to her friends that she had arms that said yes to sugar and no to the gym—unlike Janet. She hit “Delete” on the picture and then unfriended the bitch. How dare she.
There would be no selfies to post today because this morning—due to the stress of traveling and everything else—she’d woken up with a huge flaming rash across her face; her menopausal hormones were on the rampage.
She began to reconstruct a wish list in notes.
But it was hard to focus.
She had stayed up all night listening to the wind corral the trees around the farm. John swore that they’d never—the incident, it had not occurred in the house—but she had kept on asking questions because her husband’s answers were not credible.
Her mind tried filling itself with erratic facts—that the world’s tipping over from peace to war—but she could not stop the fizzing of conversations and his confession, all exposing the depth of her stupidity. Maybe if she’d known how to do something well, besides being a wife, she’d be heading out to work and not riding the train to go live with her sister.
She didn’t want to cry anymore.
She wanted to value her interrupting mind.
Your mind is what your brain does for a living.
He had been her life.
She looked down at her phone: another hour and twenty minutes to go.
Life is what happens after the unforgivable is said and done. As for what would happen next? She had no idea.
She’d closed the door carrying her suitcase, leaving no note, rolling her life the seven miles to the train station knowing her marriage, at seventeen, had been one long mistake; she had been trespassed.
The train was passing over a river.
She saw a fisherman wearing waders and smoking.
He lifted his hand and smiled.
It was as if he was waving to her; as if he knew she was one of the last leftover romantics, a woman who believed in marriage. It was a wave that told her to keep going, to own the consequences of recent events, and she took it as a gift, an abundance that she would treasure, an offering of life.
She lifted her arm to wave back, but then found she could not stop.