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New Romantic: Saturday | 2011 | New Romantic: Monday

05.08.11 1:17 p.m.

...That guy that I could never get
Whose girlfriend is pretty fit
And everyone who knew her loves her so
I made you leave her for me
And now I'm feeling pretty mean
But my mind has fucked me over
More times than any man could ever know...  

-Laura Marling, New Romantic


New Romantic: Sunday

When Melanie wakes the next morning, she stares at me for ten minutes between kisses, not speaking. I notice and care nothing for morning breath, because it is her morning breath and I love her.

The discussion continues. That she wants to leave me, that she loves me more than anything, that she is sorry she can't give me what she promised. She says that it is time.

"You're leaving?"

"No, for breakfast."

In the relief, I ask what she would like.

"An English muffin."

"Would you like an egg with that?"


I set to cooking as she brushes her teeth. As the egg finishes, the muffin pops up from the toaster. "Why are you so good?" she asks as I slide her breakfast together with the spatula.

"From a selfish standpoint, I am definitely going to lose you if I act like a prick. But I love you and I love taking care of you. I always have."

She kisses me warmly and nuzzles against me and I think I may yet keep her from the brink. She takes a shower and invites me in with her, noting, "You've got the sexy stubble."

"I do have that going for me, which is nice."

She touches my face. "You've got everything going for you." She kisses me and the water streams over us both. I look as her body, covered only in the steaming water of the shower, as though I am seeing it for the first time.

After the shower, she says that she is going to give us a chance, that she is going to think about it. I say I will let her wait to contact me. At one point, she fills her mouth with aerosol whipped cream and kisses me, a bizarre but swoon-worthy gesture.

She asks after a book I have about a man who plants acorns in a desert and turns it into a forest. We search through my bookcases before finding it and she asks if she can have it.

"Of course. Do you also want the unfinished book of poetry?" I ask, referring to a leather bound journal into which I have been copying poems in an effort to improve my penmanship and with which I had intend to gift her.

"Give it to me if I break up with you or when you finish."

I wince and say with a kiss, "I'll give it to you when I finish it."

We get on the topic of her plans for moving home and I ask, "What are the plans for your goldfish? Is Jinx taking them?"

"No, she is going abroad. I thought you would take them, maybe," she says.

"Not only are you trying to divorce me, but you want to stick me with the kids?"

She leaves shortly after, seeming blissful. She steals a baggie of cereal and some other food items from my cupboard, as she does every week. She says that, had she not been sleep deprived from her night with [Miss X], we would not have had this conversation in this way. Our last kiss surpasses a minute next to her car and she does not let go of my hand. I have no doubt she loves me.

I call friends to explain what went on, regretting that I have to. Melanie said she wished I did not have to tell people, but I do. All I could promise her was what I had been to this point, that I would not write our angst publicly. Jacki asks if there isn't something more active I can do and I tell her that my part in this was talking with her for hours, not trying to convince her to stay with me, but saying all I need to so I do not regret leaving something unsaid. I hate having to talk to anyone about Melanie in these moments because they get this skewed view of her. I enrage people on my behalf, but that isn't what I want. I want badly for someone just to say, "It will be fine, I am sure of it." And I want it to be fine. I tell those who have been my confidantes to this point, saying that this has to be the last time this happens. Either Melanie leaves me and there is no going back or she stays with me and promises to let this finally go, as she promised she had in February. There can be no talk of "in five years" or "when [she is] thirty". In two weeks, she graduates from Bard and I become the only tether she has to New York. While I had been content to have a long distance relationship with her given the Elysium of the last couple of months, I cannot keep begging my lover not to jump from a cliff because she thinks the fall to the rocks might be novel.

I do not hear from her that night, which drives me a little crazy. I am used to hearing from her before bed each night, it is a small ritual on which I rely. But I manage to fall asleep.

Soon in Xenology: Recovery

last watched: Sherlock Holmes
reading: Tao of Pooh
listening: Laura Marling

New Romantic: Saturday | 2011 | New Romantic: Monday

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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