Nobody But Me

September 6, 2013 by Donald E  
Published in Marriage

Who cares? “So to speak – that stuff they call food. They only
give it to you to keep your hands busy.”
“So the devil won’t find work for them?” she says, not looking
my way, and I think maybe I have made a big mistake after all, sticking
myself into a situation where I can’t do any good.
“Actually,” I say, “I didn’t bring the devil with me on this trip.”
“Who did you bring?”
What does that mean? She makes me as uncomfortable as a
teenager. “I didn’t bring anybody else,” I say, conscious of sounding
defensive. “Nobody but me.”

Who cares? “So to speak – that stuff they call food. They only
give it to you to keep your hands busy.”
“So the devil won’t find work for them?” she says, not looking
my way, and I think maybe I have made a big mistake after all, sticking
myself into a situation where I can’t do any good.
“Actually,” I say, “I didn’t bring the devil with me on this trip.”
“Who did you bring?”
What does that mean? She makes me as uncomfortable as a
teenager. “I didn’t bring anybody else,” I say, conscious of sounding
defensive. “Nobody but me.”
“Good,” Augusta says, and I seem to have accidentally passed
some test. What will the next one be?
“Look,” she says. “I know you feel awkward. Skip that. I
haven’t got time.”
“If you say so.” I’m willing to try, but why won’t she look at
me? I’m not the only one feeling awkward. She’s marching along
under the digital clocks and the signs for rest rooms and snack bars as
if everything hinges on getting to the baggage claim in the next three
minutes. “Have you got a bag?” she asks.
“Wait a while. Stop. I mean it. Stop a minute.” When I stop
walking she has to turn around and come back.
“What is it?” Finally she’s facing me, with annoyance written on
her face.
“Slow down.” I stand and look at her, refusing to move and not
letting her get away from my eyes.
“I want to get out of here, I can’t talk to you here.”
“You don’t have to.”
She blinks and looks away. “Okay.” She turns again and we
resume walking, saying nothing, among the people who all look
terribly Midwestern to me; an amazing number of them are blond.
Fourteen years, I keep thinking. At one end of the fourteen
years, Penn Station; at the other, the St. Louis airport. In between,
what? Work, marriage – career, so-called – crises predicted, or dictated,
by advice columns and the books one sees in the front windows of
stores. Being here, where I once went to college and fell in love with
Augusta, makes me wonder if it was all a detour.
I hardly look at Augusta beside me; the strangeness of being
next to her is enough. All these years I’ve been calling this thing
between us love whenever I thought about it, and now I don’t even
know what comes next or what we’ll ever say to each other. In the
habits of marriage I’ve forgotten this kind of separateness – jittery, on

0
Liked it

Tell us what you're thinking...

comments powered by Disqus