The Announcement

When it came to Ashleigh, only one question remained: was I over her?  Let’s just say I was at the top of the hill, sitting in my wagon.

We talked for awhile that night she came in.  And to be honest, it probably was the most we seriously talked in one sitting for all six of our years together.  After deliberating whether we had sex or not – denial is a powerful tool, but so are definitions – and me finally asking her whether she ever loved me or not, we got down to the grits of her issue – she thought the man she loved might be having an affair.

“What makes you think that?” I asked.

It’s the usual coming home late, explaining curiosities away, reeking of booze, not answering the phone.  She was slouched over the table, telling me this. 

“That’s all usual?”

This went on and on.  Occasionally, I’d bitterly revel in the irony of the situation.  The cheater, returning to the cheatee, to talk about her cheater.  And it was in those moments that I thought: I’m getting over her.

When out of nowhere, out of context, and out of breath, she said:

We were supposed to get married.

My angered and inflamed asshole response?  “You win some, you lose some.”  Salt in the wound.  Pepper up your nose.  Garlic in your eyes.

My wagon was moving forward.

I was about to roll down that hill.

Then she started crying:

Sometimes you lose some, twice.

Here’s where it gets tricky.  I thought she was talking about her and Ryan’s future, when in reality, she was really bringing up us. 

Wagon positioned firmly back at the top.

I felt compelled to hold her, and I followed that drive.  She clutched at my shirt and let her tears pour to the point I could feel my shoulder getting wet.  I had no idea what she was crying at more – him, them, me, us, or herself.

“Do you want me to follow him?”  Why did I say that?

Yes.  Why did she say that?

And why does my wagon feel like it’s rolling backwards again?

It was after after our agreement that Kilgore wandered into the pool room to tell me who was voted off the reality show we’d been watching.  I still don’t know if I was more upset that he ruined the episode or that the show didn’t end sooner.

You were right about Kiki’s going tonight.  He blurted, breaking up the entwined sobbing mess Ashleigh and I had become.  I don’t know if he was eavesdropping, but judging by what he said next, it’s possible.  I wonder who’s going to follow her?

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