The muck of life
She would have gone anywhere with him. She would have washed the sweat stains out of his shirts, scrubbed the grease out of his pants. If only…
If only there were more tapas, more kisses as the door closed, more.
I am writing de profundis. I am writing from Argentina.
The pen fell down on the Days Inn carpet, seeping up the sticky remains of yesterday’s guest. Mari’s eye caught the stain in the carpet, the red too bright, too fresh. Her thoughts wandered, imagining the daughter she never had dropping the candy she never gave her.
It was Aurora. It was surrounded by interstate and cornfields, and it was not Argentina. Mari picked up the hotel pen, the one not covered in red goo, and continued her letter to the Mr.
I’m learning to tango.
She had one cd with her. She had one bottle of wine. Bajofondo. Malbec. It was the closest she would come to Argentina, to her romanticized dreams. Steamy nights. Argentina barrio. Dancing the tango.
You never once complimented me. You never took me anywhere. So I’ve built a new life for myself, just outside Buenos Aires.
Her phone rang just as she was listening to the first track on the cd. The red winking of the phone’s light annoyed Mari, reminded her too much of her Illinois reality.
I have friends now. I dance. I go to the beach every day.
Had Mari answered the phone, had she given her husband just the smallest inch, she would have heard the utter shock in his voice.
“Mari, we’ve just won the lottery! We can finally take that trip to Argentina that you always wanted! Call me! Geez, where are you Mari?” The message went to voicemail, which Mari instantly deleted. She took great joy in this action, this deliberate disregard.
The pen again fell to the floor, laying side-by-side with its mate in the red sludge. Her shift started soon, cleaning the very muck that her pens enjoyed.