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She has a pliant diction, and always after speaking to her mother her accent takes on the squished together sing-song of Spanish. When I ask her who it was on the phone she says, “My mother,” instead of “mighmudda,” and I know she’s lying. She moves into the bathroom and I wait to hear a flush, a faucet, or the kick-shuffle sounds of changing clothes but all I hear is the door lock.

When she comes out of the bathroom I say, “If you want to talk to him, it’s okay. I understand. You loved him.” I pause and finish with, “We just need to be honest with one another.” She sits down next to me and puts her phone in her left pocket, away from me; she’s right handed. She goes on to explain that she doesn’t need to talk to him, that all those things are done. I stay quiet. She asks if I checked her phone bill, I stay quiet. “If you saw the bill then you know that I haven’t called him, he called me each time.” I respond that the phone bill also shows text messaging history, even though I don’t know if it does. Mine doesn’t, and I’ve never seen her phone bill. She stays quiet for a moment this time. “He’s going through a hard time you know? We really fucked him over. I’m not leading him on or anything. It’s just nice to talk to him because he knows me.” I ask her which one it is, if she’s helping him or if he’s nice to talk to. “This is why I can’t talk to you, it’s like being fucking interrogated.” I respond that we don’t have to talk and I move to the bedroom to start to think about what exactly is going on.

I realize after three hours that I am not thinking, I am waiting, for her to come in, for her to explain, for her to not be on the phone, to give me a reason to trust her again, because I already do. I put my face into her pillow and it smells like stale menthol cigarettes and things that come in pink bottles. I open my phone and start to read the things that she had sent me when I had been the other man.

I copy these messages and I send them to her from the bedroom, all the way to the living room where I left her. After sixty five seconds she doesn’t come in. Or respond. I go to the living room to find her, then the bathroom. I check for her car in the driveway. I call and she texts back that she’s at the gas station. I ask her to pick up fried pork skins and beer so we can watch a movie.



image: Chelsea Martin