backyard crowing


working on my weakness: dialogue

autobiographical, written for my online fiction course:

A young woman laid on her bed one fall night, staring at the ceiling. As she listened to her boyfriend talk, she thought about the last time she had visited him. They had gone out to eat, and then he invited her back to his apartment to play video games. What he meant was that she would watch him play video games, ask questions about them, and get no response.

"I didn't take my ADD medicine today," his voice came through the speaker.

"Oh? Are you feeling okay?"

"Oh yeah, I'm fine. No biggie, I just need to take it before I study. I couldn't concentrate in class today."

Then he spoke of his brother, the drug dealer turned priest. She thought of the night when she walked to his apartment and phoned him to come open the gate for her. He groaned and said "Okay," and suddenly she did not care much about the home-cooked meal inside. It was only Hamburger Helper, after all.

"My brother is hilarious," he said. "When I broke up with that one girl, he was like, 'Whatever, that chick had cankles anyway.'"

"What are cankles?"

"You don't know what cankles are?"

"No. Should I?"

"No! It's when a chick's calves and her ankles are connected because there's not enough muscle there."

"Oh!" she giggled. "That's so funny!" She looked at her legs and frowned.

Her mind drifted again, this time to the first day he told her he loved her. That was two weeks ago, and two weeks after they had started seeing each other. As they laid in his bed, he told her that he had never been with a girl who had waited so long to have sex with him. He said his parents had slept together on their first date, and he wanted to know why she had never taken the plunge--with anyone. She told him she could not decide if she was waiting for love or marriage, and after a few "I love yous," he said, "So I guess you're...waiting for marriage?"

"My roommate's being a jackass again," he said.

"I'm sorry. What's wrong this time?"

"He's just a jackass all the time. Any little thing sets him off."

"Well you need to kick him out, you've got the evidence--he gets high in the apartment, that's all you have to say."

"I know. But then how am I going to find a roommate? I can't pay both of our rents. This sucks."

She took a deep breath, holding the receiver away from her mouth. This had to be fast. Drawn out is horrible for both parties, she thought. She sat up straight.

"Patch, we need to talk. This isn't working for me, I'm sorry. I don't think we should see each other anymore."


"I'm sorry, I just can't do this anymore. You want to see me or talk to me every single day, I'd be happy with seeing you once a week. My grades are falling."

"What do you mean? You mean never see each other again ever?"

"I don't know."

"Can't we be friends? God."

"I don't know."

"That's crazy. What? Look, we'll talk it over tommorow. Let's do coffee."

"Nope," she smiled weakly, "this is it."

"Why?" he said, his voice wavering.

"We want different things."

He thought of the cankles joke. Did she have cankles? Would he have noticed? Damnit, what a stupid thing to say.

"I sort of thought this was coming," he said.

"You did? Well, that's good then, I think."

"Yeah, I figured it would happen sooner or later. I just didn't know how to do it. I really should have taken my pill this morning, I'm just really tired you know, and I didn't take my pill, and--"

"I have to go," she said, her finger on the phone's off button.


She hung up the phone and laid back down and closed her eyes. "Enough," she told the ceiling.

- sunday, May. 4, 2008


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