The Sweat of the Brow (xx)

“Hello, Martin,” she says.

She doesn’t offer a visual connection. Neither do I.

“Katie,” I say, “how are you?”

‘I’m well, Martin,” she says. And, after a moment, “How are you?”

She and Sam had been thick as theives, a few generations ago. When we’d started dating I felt like I was dating them both. Then something happened between them. All Sam would say was that Katie had gone a different way. I don’t think they’d spoken in fifty years.

“I’m okay,” I say. “I’m okay.”

Silence between us. I think I can hear her breathing. Or maybe it’s mine.

“I’m sorry I didn’t go to the funeral,” she says, like she’s trying to get it out of her.

“Okay,” I said. And, “It’s okay.”

“Martin,” she said, “I’m so sorry.”

And we sit there in silence for a while, and there’s no breathing.

And I hang up.


~ by davekov on 29 October 2011.

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