You got a fast car. I remember the day you came home with it, the way you sat at the kitchen counter and spun the keys around your index finger by the metal ring. An impulse, you called it. A split-second decision.
At the time, I pictured myself in the passenger seat, not that battered antique suitcase you hauled down from the attic that evening, your face white with grief. I can still see you, the crescent-shaped hollow in your lower lip where you set your teeth while I begged you, again, to stay.
You got a fast car. It was almost as if you couldn’t stand to leave in a practical vehicle, some sensible used minivan with chewing gum stuck under the rear seats. You needed to run. Make it clean. Quick.
I sprinted after you, ignoring the bite of the asphalt as it tore into the tender flesh of my bare feet. My blood pooled along the white lines of the road, mingling with bits of broken taillights, the debris of someone else’s tragedy. I called out as you reached the end of the street, my hideous keening blending with the whine of the engine into a single ghostly howl.
I often think of that night as I wander through our empty house, automatically stepping over the exposed carpet nails at the living room threshold, the spike strip that didn’t stop your high-speed getaway. I touch the things you left behind, moving with the stunned, stilted motion of an unsuspecting animal doomed in the headlights of your indifference.
I suppose I should thank you for sparing me the indignity of a loveless life. You didn’t pretend to care anymore, your laugh tinny and forced over another dinner of bland chicken, because you need to watch your cholesterol. You didn’t close your eyes and think of the pretty girl from that action movie while I pawed at you beneath the scratchy film of our threadbare sheets.
No, none of that.
I suppose swiftness is its own form of mercy. A guillotine. A gunshot. The sing of steel in the dark.
You got a fast car.