In Which We Halt Before Dropping Down

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My Friend, Who At Last

by LINDA EDDINGS

My friend said her boyfriend broke up with her last night. When pressed to explain the reason why, he told her, “Things don’t feel quite right.” They had planned on moving into an apartment with ceilings just as high as the exaggerated windows, too tall to see out from clearly. Cleaning them is such an ordeal.

My friend said she took the train to Saratoga, and saw cows and horses along the way. When she arrived, her host told her that she was late even though she always comes early. Morning somewhere new is such a lucky chance.

My friend said that her boyfriend had become markedly less communicative. She asked me for ways to alter this trajectory. “I don’t want to just pull away,” she said. I said that it seemed like she was afraid of losing him even more. My friend said she was more concerned she might lose herself.

My friend said the high line is the worst time, since it makes no sense to wander quietly away. My friend said that just once she wants to bring a guy into a bookstore and have him not be checking his phone the whole time.

My friend said that when the most recent guy disappeared, she actually went to confront him. “I just want to know,” she said softly, since that is the best to express pain without showing its true depth. “I’d like to know why you stopped answering my calls and texts without the slightest word.” He sort of brushed back his hair and said that it was August.

My friend said it is best to not expect anything. My friend raises her arms and leans forward to stretch. “You never know what exactly keeps them coming back,” she said, holding a picture of herself as a child in the light.

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My friend said that a psychic explained the reason why some of us are unhappy. My friend said that the earth revolves around the sun. We are like the earth, she told me, only we do not know what to revolve around. Flies spring up in this stagnant swamp. I told her that her psychic was most likely a borderline Scientologist.

My friend said that she has another test, since the bookstore rules out so many men so completely. “I get in a elevator,” she said, “and I press every button. If an expression of utter dread comes over his face, I get out at the next floor.”

A spider dropped down from her web, halting before the linoleum.

My friend said that she struggles with intimacy in a way she never did before. “He holds me in his hands, and it only reminds me of other ways this has happened before. I wonder if I am rushing home from work to something that is never there.” She has alopecia, and wears a wig when we go out. No one notices except for her.

My friend said that her boyfriend’s mother loves her. All her boyfriend’s friends love her. So why doesn’t her boyfriend love her?

It is best to sample each ingredient. These fine things, arranged on the softest pillow imaginable. Tasting one will give you a sense of the whole. Tasting them all will make you sick.

Linda Eddings is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Manhattan. You can find an archive of her writing on This Recording here.

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