In Produce, there was Leticia, my ex, examining a cantaloupe. In a diaphanous yellow halter and black short shorts, she looked great, her cart full of vegetables. She shook her head. “You don’t look too good,” she said, “you should get some sun. Ta-ta.” She steered her cart toward the nuts and granola bulk bins while I headed to the cash register. In the Outdoor Shop, she appeared from behind one of the mirrored doors holding two pairs of nylon running shorts as I tried on a Buzz Off hat and shirt. “Be careful, those are expensive,” she said. Now I noticed the birthmark on her cheek, the delicate blue veins at her temples. It had been a year since she threw the pan at me and broke the window, a year since she yelled, “The one time I ask you to clean up your mess, you ask me to help?”, a year since I built a bonfire in the backyard and burned up all her Aveda Cosmetics and her drawer of sexy underwear, a year since we split apart like two avocado halves—”Are you living with anyone” I asked. “Never again,” she answered and took her shorts to the cash register—a year since she delivered all my jeans, shirts and shoes to the Salvation Army and dropped our shelves of food in the bin for the Church at the grocery, a year since I robbed petty cash and ran our old Dodge into a tree, a year since she kidnapped the dog and the parakeet. At the stoplight waiting for the signal to change, suddenly Leticia stood next to me. “Why did we break up?” I asked. “Why did we ever get together?” she replied. And as I made my way through the diner to the last seat at the counter, there she was, her hand on the swivel seat. “You can have it,” she said. “No, you can have it,” I said, and this went on awhile until a tall bald guy sat down between us, “Would you mind?” he asked. “Enjoy your chicken pot pie,” I said, walking away. “Enjoy your chicken pot pie,” she said, walking away in the opposite direction. Later when I opened the door to my apartment, on the couch, there was Leticia; in the bathroom mirror, Leticia swabbing her face; in the bedroom, Leticia sprawled on top of me; in the kitchen, Leticia brewing up the coffee as I hunkered down over a piece of cake, fierce as a hungry squirrel.
Home » Seeing Letitia by Jeff Friedman