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March 1, 2018 Fiction

Raw Honey

Daniel Le Saint

Raw Honey photo

We talked about a lot of things when we were high. We talked about a lot of things when we were sober, too. 

She said she wanted to have my baby once. Well, those weren’t the exact words.  Mary had said,

I thought I wanted it but I wasn’t sure because I didn’t know whose it was. Then I was thinking when I get home we could have one of our own. 

Or something along those lines, I can’t remember exactly. She was in jail then. A voice would come on the line every 15 minutes asking if I wanted to accept the charges. She told me a lot of things in those 15-minute segments. We were both sober then. When she got out our life resumed and there was never a dull moment. Shortly after it was my turn. I had violated probation and was sentenced to a year. She never accepted the charges.

I didn’t know when she died. My wife and I were lounging on the couch after work one evening, sharing a bottle of wine. Our pug, confusing itself for a cat, was pushing its wet snout against our shins from the floor. Shannon’s coworker had posted a meme on facebook about the struggles of single life, and we started reminiscing about our exes, laughing at the stuff our former selves used to put up with. 

She searched for her ex-husbands page and couldn’t believe he still worked at the same bicycle shop as when they had first started dating.  

I guess some things never change, she said. 

When I searched for Mary’s profile I found the memorial page. It had happened three years ago from an overdose. Old names that I had nearly forgotten, people that had once enabled us, had posted condolences. 

Shannon asked me how it made me feel. I thought about it, waiting for an emotion to come. I told her how stupid I thought she was. My wife said she couldn’t imagine me as a drug addict. 

I said, me neither.

Shannon texted me this afternoon and asked me to stop at the store on the way home. She wanted raw honey for her tea, not the kind that came in a bear, and by the way we were also low on dog food and toilet paper. 

I went a few blocks out of the way and drove pass the house I used to live in. A big two family that had since been sold and renovated, the shrubs removed from the front yard, the peeling blue scraped off and painted over beige, the gravel driveway blacktopped. It had been one of her parent’s rental properties. They had let us stay for free. 

I pulled over and stared up into the second story window thinking of all the nights we had shared, passing hot metal between us. The times when everything made sense and felt right. The times when we couldn’t find anything else to sell and I waited in the basement listening for the sound of the door to close, not wanting to hear anything else, not wanting to want and wanting. The time the police had come to collect on my warrant. 

She had said a lot of things in our time together.  Can remember, late one night in the midst of a binge she had said that no matter what happened, that for the rest of her life she would never forget me, the time that we shared together.  

But she is dead and will never remember anything. I let off the brake pedal and continued on to the store. Dog food, toilet paper. I struggled to remember the third item, and then it came to me. 

Honey, I said to myself. 

Raw. 

So stupid. 
 

image: Daniel Le Saint


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