Kelly Burgess

The worst part was the fact that he refused to look at me.

I watched the rain that had collected on his glasses drop off the bottom of the frames and get stuck in his hair. They glinted in the street lights, and I hated myself for noticing these details because I knew they’d burn themselves in my memory. The wind blew my hair across my face, where it got stuck and remained plastered. My voice was aggregated and I wondered why I wasn’t crying. Some guttural sounds pushed out of me and a few tears fell, a parody of actual grief. I thought to myself that if he were to look at me he wouldn’t be able to tell what was tears and what was rain. And I wanted to laugh. I wanted to laugh in his face at this terrible mess. I wanted to laugh until we walked back to the car and went home.

In the car, he asked me to stay the night.

My white sneakers were soaked through and flecked with mud from walking in the rain. I took them off, and there was a small circle of blood where the stiff canvas had rubbed my skin raw. I asked him for a band-aid. He sat on the floor in front of me and took my ankle in his hands. He gently smoothed the plastic over my skin and I knew it would be okay again. A peace offering.

We went to bed. I wanted to kiss him, but I just put my head on his chest and let his fingers run over my back until we fell asleep. I’ve thought about it every day.

Kelly was featured in Romka 9 in 2015.