Friday, February 15, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: She'll Come Around, Redux


She fell in the puddle in front of his house, and he fell in love. He got his Pa and they helped her dry off. While her folks came, they played with his anthill.

The next day, she said ‘Hello’ passing by him in the hall. She’d never done it before. He beamed all the way through Algebra.

A week later, she’d forgotten he existed. His brothers elbowed him to do something about it. Go ask her out. Go ask if she’s started that ant collection. Go pretend to bump into her.

He did none of it. “She’ll come around,” he said.

She did great in Math, so he tried hard and made it into Advanced Placement with her. He’d watch her from the other side of the room and struggle to figure out the number of degrees in a pentagon. She never offered to collaborate when they assigned group work.

“She’ll come around,” he said.

She liked puppies, it seemed. She got a summer job at the Hearth Animal Shelter, the one with the uncomfortable location across from a cemetery. He lit right up and got a job as the assistant groundskeeper. She never came over to chat.

“She’ll come around,” he said.

She left town for college. He went to the bar when he knew her sisters were there, to overhear things about her. She switched from Mathematics to Education. She was a teacher. She got her own house. She got tenure. She got cancer. She beat cancer. She still got letters from that first year of kids she’d taught. She was thinking of writing a book.

In time, she passed. Her remains were shipped back to the town where she’d grown up. There was a big service with her sisters and cousins. A lot of crying and nice stories. He stayed out of the way, listening and offering the occasional box of tissues.

After the service, he came up and filled in the grave. When he finished, he patted the dirt with his shovel and said, “I knew you’d come around.”

19 comments:

  1. So she came back to him... sort of.

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  2. That's sad...but slightly sinister!

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  3. I'm glad he never got to her while she was alive!

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  4. Patience - 1 ~ Virtue - 0

    A slightly twisted subterranean love affair from the puddle to the ant hill to the final resting place.

    Good one, John!

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  5. Well, there's no point in being proactive if you know you'll get the girl in the end...

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  6. Wow... we know he's happy with unrequited love and minimal conversation, so I guess that's him set for life.

    Creepy work, John.

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  7. The idea that there really are people like that "out there" is the spookiest part of all! Nicely done, John.

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  8. What an incredibly patient young man he is! :) As Peter said, it's probably a good thing he didn't get her earlier.

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  9. This reminds me of a non-jokemy father used to tell me about a little red ball- very similar punch line.

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  10. I was half expecting her to rise from the grave. Kind of creepy to think he'll be there tending to her grave, bringing flowers, talking to headstone... Ok, I'm creeped out now.

    Liked it though =)

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  11. was he a gravedigger or just a mourner at her funeral? If the former it puts a really sinister spin on the tale.

    marc nash

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  12. Such patience. Well on the way to becoming a stalker...

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  13. There is a note of disturbance that becomes more noticible towards the end, but you know I like a patient guy!

    Creepy story though John, it's a bit unsettling to read his almost whispered words at the end. Brr!

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  14. Freaky, John! I like how he always kept the faith, how he was happy she came around alive or dead, and that he became a gravedigger.

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  15. He got closure, and she... dodged a bullet, I can't help thinking. I agree this very effectively creepy -- I guess because he's so fixated on her and yet happy not to interact with her?

    This reminded me of stories I took in school that were written in the 1930s -- all this stuff happening under the surface.

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  16. I kind of felt sorry for him, until the ending. Very dark, but also quite touching at the same time.

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  17. Nice and creepy story! I half expected him to climb in the grave with her.

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  18. A wonderful valentine's day story. I think. :)

    I like the mixture of sadness and hope in this one.

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