“I remember, I couldn’t even tell him ‘Happy Valentine’s Day,” she said.

The sweat from the beer can felt good on my hand. We had been sitting on the porch for a while. Neither of us wearing shoes.

“Why do you think that is?” I asked.

“I mean, that’s weird, right? To be dating someone and not be able to say, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day?”

I finished my beer and stood up. I ran my left hand through my honey-colored hair.

“Well, it’s not good,” I said. “You need another drink?”

“I want whatever you’ve got,” she said.

I went inside and got a couple beers from the fridge. I stood for a moment, my feet cold on the linoleum floor. I stared out the window looking at her. I know how she’s feeling, but I don’t tell her.

I walk back outside. The heat hits my face as if taking bread out of the oven. I hand her the beer and sit down. She lights a cigarette as I open my beer.

“It was easier for me to express my feelings on a fucking postcard than sitting next to him and actually talking to him,” she said.

She took a long drag from the cigarette as I watched the sky behind her turn a different color.

“What kind of things did you write on the postcards?” I asked.

She didn’t reply right away. I could see the far away look in her eyes. I took a couple heavy sips from my beer and felt the cement underneath my feet.

“Song lyrics, lines from this Bukowski poem,” she said.

She wasn’t looking at me when she said this. We watched a group of motorcyclists go by, interrupting the silence. She quickly drank the rest of her beer and walked inside for another.

When she sat back down I asked her about the poem.

“Why do you want to know?”

“I like Bukowski too,” I said. “Jesus, just curious.”

“You know ‘Bluebird’?”

I could feel my heart pounding. My beer can was warm and empty.

“One of my favorites,” I said.

We clinked our beers and pulled away. She was trying to smile, but I knew she could not. She was trying not to cry.

“It’s nice enough to make a (wo)man weep,” I said. “But I don’t weep, do you?”


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