A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2007, vol 3 no 4

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Adelaide Shaw


The Breakup

So, now he was alone with his pain. A red hot poker in his belly. Searing coals ready to sizzle his insides. The episodes were coming at shorter intervals, each more intense.

"It's been three weeks since I've seen you, and you still don't look well," Libby had said, as she began to straighten up his apartment, a mixed look of concern and disgust on her face at the accumulated mess of several days. "When are you going to see a doctor?"

"I did, I told you. Ulcers. Gotta watch the chili peppers."

"I mean a specialist. I think that diagnosis is wrong."

"And what do you know, Dr. Libby Sullivan? Miss couldn't get through any high school science class without my help? Stop butting in where it's none of your business."

His words and tone had the desired effect. Libby left again. Maybe she would stay away for good, this time. He was as rotten as his insides.

There's nothing in it for her. A lot of self-sacrifice and TLC around the clock. Three months? Six months? Too long to watch her eyes cloud up with his pain. Too long to see her lips quiver as she fed him or wiped the sweat from his face. Too long to watch her watch him. Too long to see her love turn to pity. Better that she hate him. It was the least he could do to show his love.

end of summer
a cold draft
in all the rooms