Blue tells me I should come over. He says we’ll just hold each other as long as we need to, nothing more. He says he once drove across two provinces just for a hug. We found each other on a dating site. I’m not as wary as I should be about people on the internet. I google the directions then tell the ex I’m leaving for awhile so he needs to walk the dog. He’s on the phone with his new girlfriend again, so he makes some generic gesture that could either mean “I heard you” or “go away and fuck off.” I’m stuck living with him until I can afford my own place.
I drive to an unfamiliar suburb where the houses all have wide perfect green lawns. I follow the map to a condo community that sports a fake nautical theme, even though it’s fifty miles to the nearest lake. I find the right condo and knock on the door. Blue is pale and gaunt, all angles and edges, different from his online photo. He says that divorce will do that to you. I know that because I’m all angles and edges now too. We sit on the front steps of the condo and nervously pass a cigarette back and forth, careful to avoid touching hands.
We know a lot about each other, but there is an awkwardness between us here in the physical world. We both try to go through the front door at the same time, bumping shoulders. He makes me a cup of peppermint green tea and we sit at a little cluttered kitchen table. He talks very fast and flips over tarot cards, avoiding eye contact. I look around at the spare furnishings left in the condo. Boxes are stacked in the corner, most of the floor is covered in paint speckled plastic sheets. It’s his grandmother’s condo, he had already explained to me, she fell and had to go to a nursing home, so he’s renovating it to sell. Continue reading