Originally published on Tumblr.com, https://ivegotstoriestotell.tumblr.com/post/83453171964/him-i-would-run-into-her-on-the-day-im-slipping, on April 21, 2014
I would run into her on the day I’m slipping. I’m in my baggy, faded black sweatpants and a ratty Chicago Bulls t-shirt. I had decided to put off shaving till later. Stupid. My waves looked good though. And my Chucks? They looked all right. Them being a little dirty never bothered me. It’s Saturday morning on laundry day. She shoulda bumped into me yesterday. I was looking clean in my navy blue blazer and bow tie. A little dressed up for causal Friday at the office, but you couldn’t tell me nothing.
I was a block away from my apartment, two blocks away from the laundry mat. I had rounded the corner and spotted her. She looked up from her phone in time just to see me. She slowed down and she smiled. I did the same even though I was in more of a “hi and bye” mood. I mean I did have all my funky laundry in this cart.
“Hey Kelly! How are you?” she asked. She has this soft, raspy voice. Sort of like Macy Gray, but just a little softer. I tried not to think back to the times that voice would whisper madness in my ear between fits of giggles to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep. Or the way she held onto my arm when she was nestled next to me in bed – one hand on my bicep, the other’s fingertips resting in my palm.
“I’m pretty good,” I said. I squeezed the handle of the push cart. “How are you?”
“Pretty good too. Can’t complain. Laundry day?”
“Yep,” I nodded. I looked her over again. She looked good, but she always looked good. She had her hair pulled up into bun and was wearing those teal feather earrings that I hated. She tugged on the end of her teal and purple shirt. Her flowing purple skirt shifted with the breeze.
She smiled and stared down at the cart like she was remembering all the Saturday mornings we spent in the laundry mat. She had kept trying to convince me to go on any other day, that it would be less busy, but Saturday mornings worked best for me.
“So where are you off to this morning?” I asked. “You’re all dressed up all early.”
She giggled and looked over her outfit. She met my eyes again. “I’m not dressed up. Something slight. I got a breakfast date.”
“Date? Heard you,” I said. “Don’t let me hold you up.”
“Naw, naw, it’s not like that,” she started. “I mean not really…”
“Margaux,” I interrupted. “It’s cool. You don’t have to explain.”
I fought the urge to say that we’re not together anymore. We hadn’t been together for seven months. We dated for a year and a half. We sort of mutually parted ways. Towards the end of our relationship she had started asking a lot of questions about marriage and babies. I could tell she was trying to figure out where my head was at. I wasn’t ready for all that. Maybe in two or three years. I knew she wasn’t ready for all that right now, but I think she was looking for someone more interested in that stuff.
She bit her lip and frowned a little bit. I felt a pang in my heart. I squeezed the handle of my cart and my eyes drifted to my dirty clothes and dirty sneakers. I looked back up at her. I wasn’t here for this awkward silence. I wondered if just walking away would be too rude.
“I guess I should go now,” she said. We both kind of sighed. “I hope you get your favorite machines.”
I grinned and nodded. “Me too. Have fun at breakfast.”
“If it goes bad, how ‘bout I send you a text?” she asked.
“Word? Oh, have a bad time them.”
We laughed. We said goodbye. We finally headed in our separate directions.
Miraculously, my favorite washer, one of the best, was open. I put in my headphones and listened to some music. An hour later, I got a text from Margaux:
Why every time I see you, I miss you a little bit more?
I couldn’t help but smile. We had run into each other a few times before, but that was more “hi and bye” stuff than short conversations. This was the longest we had ever talked. I replied:
Breakfast was that bad, huh?