Absolute Best1

贡献者:处处都是 类别:英文 时间:2021-05-04 18:38:14 收藏数:13 评分:0
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She told him in February. They were both sitting-both
freezing-by the bank of the Charles. His ungloved hands were
curled like paws into his jacket sleeves, and wind kept blowing off
the fur-lined hood of her coat. He was in the second year of his
doctorate. She was a year out from undergrad but had spent the
past eight months hanging around, doing research for someone in
his department.
They'd been together three years. The first she'd spent waiting for
him to commit, the second waiting for him to get past the whole
astronaut thing. "Fucking NASA," she'd complained to Corrie. "This
asshole thinks I'm gonna be psyched about him floating around in
the ether while I change diapers?" She called him "this asshole"
when he wasn't around, "sweetheart" in his company.
This last year had been better-after watching a six-part docuseries
about the real lives of astronauts, he'd given up the fantasy and
resolved to stick out his PhD. Just a few more years, she'd told
herself, then he would graduate and they could start their lives.
They'd talked vaguely of moving West. She'd settled into their
temporary existence as one does on a couch with not quite enough
room.
Then, New Year's Eve. He was blind drunk, couldn't keep his
erection, so he rolled off of her but pride compelled him to continue
touching her anyway, letting one hand roam over her body. He
paused at her belly, spread his fingers wide and whispered, "I want
to put a baby in you." He had never said anything like it before, and
suddenly she could see their future stretching like summer before
her, long and shallow. A trench. She'd been made to wait too long:
her belief in them had curdled. She could no longer reconcile "this
asshole" with "sweetheart." She knew she would have to leave him,
but it took her five weeks to get up the courage.
So now they were freezing, their breath making fast-dissolving
clouds as they talked and talked in circles until finally she said,
"Please, Graham, I'm really sorry, I really am, but I just can't."
She quit her research job, moved back to her mom's in Connecticut.
He drove down twice that spring to try and get her back. The degree
of his heartbreak surprised them both. He couldn't sleep, couldn't
focus. He was atrophying, the meat of his arms and cheeks
dissolving gradually. It was so hard telling him no because for years
his attention was all she'd wanted. There had been another guy at
one point-a cheerful, boyish Iowan who'd adored her-but that
had come to nothing, really-a nervous kiss, a few long walks. In
the end she hadn't been able to leave Graham, his moon white back
with its constellations of freckles, his advice, more Machiavellian
the more he drunk he got, and his voice. Just the sound of his voice.
After Graham drove away the second time, she dragged herself up
the worn carpeted stairs to her childhood bedroom and literally fell
to her knees. There was the black, black floating despair, the void in
her center like a blooming wound. There was the burden of being
the one who knew there was no saving it. He could only love her
because she was gone. She thought of something he'd just said
(threatened?) before he left-"I'll treasure the woman I marry. I'll
give her everything." Not a chance, she'd thought, not without a lot
of therapy. His drama, Jesus. Something she wouldn't miss.
She worried that he would call and text, but still she didn't block his
number. Surviving the loss of him was the only noteworthy thing
she'd done as an adult so far-blocking him felt like cheating.
But she needn't have worried. He never called.
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