Water
By Dave Shaw

It is night. She texts him and asks him to go on skype. He texts her, says okay. He logs into skype and she is online. She calls him. He looks at her face and she is smiling. He smiles. They talk to each other. He tells her about his band and the girl he is seeing. She tells him about her boyfriend. She tells him about work, she tells him about her friends that are no longer really her friends. He listens, he smiles. They talk for two hours like this. Sometimes it is only silence, only smiling. She tells him more things about her boyfriend. He tells her it will be okay. She cries, only a little. The colour of her eyes changes when she cries, he knew this already. Her eyes have always done this. He tells her he wants to see her. He asks what she is doing tonight. He asks what she is doing tomorrow night. She tells him she can’t see him. He asks what she is doing two nights from now. She smiles at him, she says she’ll let him know.

It is morning. She texts him, she says thanks for listening last night. He texts back, says sure. He says he was serious, what he said. He says he wants to see her tonight. She tells him she isn’t sure, tells him she doesn’t think that that is a good idea. She asks if they can just skype again tonight and he doesn’t respond. He drives to work and doesn’t think about anything. He texts her after work and says fuck skype. She tells him he could come over, she says they could go for a walk. He says okay. He drives home and showers. A friend from work texts him and tells him that there is a work party tonight. He says he might go, he’s not sure.

He drives to her house and he parks far away. He texts her and says he’s here. He walks slowly to her front door. She is outside, she is on the front step, sitting there. She says hi. She is squinting at the sun. She stands, walks toward him. He looks at her and she is smiling. They walk down the street and talk about things. They don’t talk as much as last night. She tells him that he owes her some kind of secret. He asks what she means, she says he owes her something because of all the things she told him last night. He says oh. He tells her he will have to think of something first. They smile.

They walk around two blocks and then go into her house. She asks if he wants anything. He asks her if he could maybe have a glass of water. He tells her the renovations to her kitchen look good. She shows him the training book for her new job, at that restaurant. They look at it. They talk about things. He tells her there is a work party he should go to tonight. He is trying to be more social, he says. She laughs at him.

She tells him he should go, he says she is probably right. He thanks her for the water and puts the glass in the sink. They walk to her front door. He puts on his shoes. He looks in the mirror next to the front door. He looks at her and he smiles. They hug. His chin touches the top of her head. They fit. She says bye. He opens the door and walks down the driveway, down the street to where he parked.

He gets in his car and puts the key in the ignition. The radio is tuned to the muffled sounds of people talking in french. He adjusts the dial but can only find deeper, harder static. Heavy noise, he thinks, way gone. He looks at his phone. He adjusts his mirrors, his seat, his mirrors again. The static fills the car and develops a shape, a mass. The static squishes time into extended, elongated shapes. He checks the time on his phone.

When he gets home he opens his macbook and types an email:


When I was sitting in your kitchen I drank the water you gave me slowly because I didn’t want to have to leave your house. I wanted to sit and talk with you in your kitchen all night. I know that I was only really there so you could tell your boyfriend that someone came over. And that is okay, I am okay with being used like that, by you.

When I was trying to be serious, what I wanted to say was ‘a glass is never empty, it just gets filled with something else’, but you kept laughing and I was embarrassed.

When I was hugging you goodbye I wanted to say ‘nothing is ever empty’ into your ear but I could smell your shampoo and felt like I didn’t want to talk at all. I wanted to hug you and smell your shampoo in your hair.

When I left your house I waited in my car. I wanted you to text me and tell me to come back. I knew you wouldn’t but I still waited, just a little while. I felt shitty. I knew you were sad and I knew I was not the guy who was supposed to make you not feel sad, but I wanted to be.


He saves it as a draft.


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Dave Shaw live in Winnipeg

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@davveshaw