Polly Epilogue

13 Dec

I dropped her off in front of her house sometime past four. Her husband stood silhouetted in the doorframe, a brief and passably-manicured lawn away from me, but still too far away for me to make out his face. Polly walked to him with unswaying, demure steps, the sort of gait that forestalls questions about whether she had spent hours in various states of nudity reclining on the ragged upholstery of another man’s passenger seat, regardless of how pressing those questions are. As I drove home, I thought about other times.

There was the time we’d pulled into the unattended parking lot of an anonymous Dayton park. We’d been in her car then, where the passenger seat had seemed roomy and comfortable. By the time a policeman pulled up behind us to investigate our thoroughly steamed windows, the conversation had moved to other things.

There was another time in a parked car, mine this time, a few safely suburban blocks down from her house. Things hadn’t had time to move past a few hungry kisses before flashing lights appeared in my mirrors. We told a few transparent and embarrassed lies.

Having no deadline except a half-hearted desire to be home before the sun rose, I drove home slowly, two discreet miles per hour beneath the speed limit. Following her pattern, Polly remained silent for a day, and then for several. Weeks went by. We spoke seldom, somehow always avoiding the topic of ourselves, despite my best efforts to steer the conversation in that direction. Carefully, I watered the bamboo stalk she’d given me.

Eventually, I forced the topic. If she wanted to keep me, I said, she needed to pay more attention to me. Her decision came easily and quickly, and afterward we spoke even less. I’d stopped wearing her ring weeks before and, at her request, returned it to her at a party a few months later. I ran into her as I left the bathroom, and she took the ring and slipped it into her pocket. “Do you remember?” She smiled. “We had our first kiss in this bathroom.”

Did we.

No, I didn’t remember. I asked her for my pendant, which she’d promised to bring. She hadn’t yet admitted to losing it and claimed it had slipped her mind. I walked past her to the rest of the party. Months later, she reneged on a promise to visit me for my birthday. I deleted her phone number and email. A few more clicks and, as far as Facebook knew, we were no longer friends. I could no longer stomach seeing her updates; no matter what they were, they’d have nothing to do with me.

The next year, at a festival in Goodale park, I’d see her once more, clinging with both hands to the arm of an old friend. She smiled slightly at my unspoken question and shrugged. I asked him whether they were dating, but he denied it: “Not while she’s married.” Later, I’d see them kissing passionately. Probably I should have phrased the question to ask whether they were fucking.

The temp agency I’d been using could no longer find me a job. I called the agent who’d given me her business card. She’d left the agency some weeks earlier, leaving no forwarding information and taking her clients with her. Except, that is, for me. I packed all my belongings into fourteen numbered boxes and, over the course of several weeks, moved them and finally myself back to my parents’ house. Since I’d completed the trifecta of single, unemployed, and living with the parents, I figured that that would be the best time to try to start dating again. I reactivated my Match profile.

My first correspondence was with a voluptuously curvy and slightly unstable Indian girl from Dayton. Perhaps predictably, she had doctors for parents. For our first date, she invited me out to lunch. Sure, I thought. What the hell.


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  1. asdffdsa

    January 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Happy New Year!