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A Winter Farewell  - Lisa Mercer

A Winter Farewell - Lisa Mercer


8.5 " x 11"


A Winter Sickness
Eluney Gonzalez


The house, which you used to call ours and now only hers, sat across a garden choking with weeds and Camelias withering in the cold. The first week of winter – which always comes in November for a week before hiding until January – and she hadn’t covered them in time. So she hadn’t lied. You cluck your tongue, knowing not whether you preferred the truth, then exit the car with the bag trailing the CVS receipt.

You remember that she always hated the doorbell. Since you’d left, she had placed what looked like an entire roll of duct tape over it. You consider tearing it away and ringing the bell anyway. Then you knock: three raps, a delay, a fourth.

She opens the door, regards you carefully. She’s never looked worse; she’s wrapped herself in a clean and fluffy bathrobe. Her skin looks pale, eyes that droop, her lips cracked. You hold out the bag with the words CVS tattooed on the side, and she starts:

“Thank you, Sam, I know it’s a lot to ask the way things have been–”

As she reaches for the handle, brushing your hand, you drop the bag. It hits the ground and one of the pouches of cough drops inside tumbles out. You wince briefly, ask yourself why you did that, but regain composure. She looks at you, disappointed.

“I said we were done,” You say. “I meant it.”

“Jesus, Sam, why did you even come?”

You shrug. Her face now, alone, is worth the drive. 

“I mean, is that all you came here to do?”

You think. Why did you come? It’s not her asking this, it’s you, and there’s no answer that satisfies you. You look at her garden.

“Your plants.”

“What about them?”

“Want me to cover them?”

“They’re already dead, what would covering them do?”

“So you do understand,” you say. She picks up the bag from the floor, looks at you one last time. Whether in anger, longing, or confusion, you do not know. What you do know is that she will call you again. You sit in the car and wait, and when your phone doesn’t ring again, you leave.


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