Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 43

Esme's cell phone as it was continually ringing at the hospital. I knew it was Esme's mother and that she was worried because she had been calling for two hours and Esme always answered her phone.

When her parents got there I was a robot, the emotions and life sucked out of me. Her mother turned to me, her mouth quivering. “I thought you were going to get married.”

No one knew. No one in the entire world knew that I had just broken up with her. I lived the lie. I accepted the condolences from her family, mine, our friends. I helped her family clean her things out of the house and out of her office in Bethesda. We looked over picture albums and cried. We boxed things and sent them to Goodwill. I was the young boyfriend who had had his promising relationship torn away from him. I was someone to cluck your tongue at while shaking your head sadly.

I was an imposter. A charlatan. A man who did not deserve a cup of tea.

Miko could not or would not tell me anything about Esme. She just shrugged and seemed sullen. I looked sadly at the back of her head as she wandered up the stairs to the bedroom. Her hair was black like ink and became blacker as she retreated into the darkness of the stairwell. We didn't talk much after that.

A couple weeks later I woke up feeling slightly hung over one Saturday. I had had too light a dinner at a friend's house and had some port which gave me a terrible headache. I went down the iron steps in front of the house, listening to the familiar pang each made as I plodded down them. I wanted an iced coffee from the place around the corner.

But about halfway there, I saw someone crouched down looking at something on the ground. I was curious so I stopped, leaning over slightly. It was a Japanese beetle, a brilliant shade of blue green, slowly meandering its way across the sidewalk. The person crouched down, a girl, took note

Vera Kurian | 43