She always does that. The ice pick comment that burns in my head for days always comes in the seconds before I leave. It's her not-so-subtle revenge for my leaving her codependent sphere of influence. I am fascinated by the clockwork fashion of it, like a magnetic iceberg slipping through the waves toward my frail thin hull. A sick sense of futility is my new reaction to the predestined fight. Onward to battle!

I flip the suitcase latches closed and make for the door quietly. The traitorous floor creaks in the early morning sunlight. So much for my escape. She rolls languidly over and cracks her eyelids. I feel like a fly under a giant pushpin. The question comes next. "Where are you going?" will be beaten into the cold granite of my headstone. It is the byline of my life.

The quickest route to the end is the undoctored truth. I'm off on a three state tour of children's toy manufacturers. Insurance reviews. No, I won't be home in the meantime. Yes, I'll call every night. Me and Jeff from Accounting and Tony from Health standards. I don't know how many trips they go on a year. It's a part of my job. I don't get more trips than anyone else. No, I don't like leaving. No, I'm not lying. I have to go.

That's enough gas on the fire.

All my old friends come out to play. 'Wasted the best years' smiles and tips his hat. 'Don't love me' asks about my health. 'Must be cheating' smiles and chats about the weather. 'Should have left' apologizes for arriving late. That's OK old friend. I glaze in the usual manner, reciting the water off a duck's back mantra. Catching her morning fresh promises a good ride.

I absentmindedly wonder how I got in this rut. I knew she was needy when I met her leaving the therapist's office. It occurs to me that the weeks of bliss and the rush to the altar seem manufactured now. A thin facade dressed in bright Hollywood lights. A glittering track into the slaughterhouse for a poor dazzled cow. Moo.

I find myself at the door, watching the dance of apoplectic rage dressed in the face of a middle aged woman in a dressing gown. She is desperate now, lashing out in strange and fantastic directions. I feel pity. All she wants is control. She wants to polish me up like a knickknack and stick me on a shelf. I would stay, but I am compelled to travel. It is a petty drive for revenge that moves me about the countryside. It's not healthy, but dammit, its my way. The oldest way in the world. An intimate hatred born of strangled lazy love. Crocodile tears track down her cheeks, but the sadness doesn't reach her hard eyes.

"I love you, you asshole!"


An ode to dem bones's homenode and the good people at

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