Author : Duncan Shields

I’d like to remember her the way most ex-boyfriends remember their exes. That is to say, when I’m drunk and missing her, I want to remember that space right under her ear, her easy smile, and that way that she’d hiccup if she laughed too much. When I’m angry at her and hurt, I want to remember that time she kissed the bouncer just to piss me off or how she’d constantly complain no matter how awesome our life was.

Instead, all I can remember is her left hand in the sunlight, hanging out the car window on August 22nd.

I don’t see her face in the memory. I can feel my ear pressed against her chest.

I think the wipers weren’t top of the line. Maybe their schedule had been just that little bit too tight. That little fragment of her hand in the sun had slipped through their nets. I wondered if there were anymore. It’s hard to search for memories that may have been missed during an erasure solely because they had been misfiled. I mean, where did you accidentally put them?

Was the time you wiped strawberry juice off of her unbuttoned white blouse filed under ‘stain removal’ somewhere in your head? Were her instructions on how to get to that store on fifth that sold the cheap eels filed under ‘maps’ and never looked at again?

I like to just let my mind wander and see if it comes across something that stands out by not standing out. I wouldn’t know it if I found a picture of her face. I wouldn’t know it if I remembered a few seconds of her speaking. The only way I’d know is if I had no idea who that person was.

Not knowing her would be the only clue that she might be the woman that I lost.

Sorry, the woman that was taken from me.

Even if it was a cheap rush job, it was still miles away from a bank account like mine. I figure her daddy must have been rich and didn’t want me following her. His little girl had been slumming with me. I had no idea why he didn’t just take her away and shoot me in the leg or something but maybe he had. Maybe he’d tried to take her away a few times before.

Maybe this was the only option left to him. If he could afford a wipe on a gutter rat like me, well, I must have been tenacious and he must have been obscenely rich.

I think the ring on her finger in the memory I keep looking at is an engagement ring. I see its lazy arc up into the sunlight before the flash of light again and it’s over.

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