Sunday, November 15, 2009

Regrets

He kept a crisp blue tarp over the boat, and on warm evenings he'd pull it back, baring the rusted skin of her breastbone under the buzzing gold of the porch light. He'd kneel in the backyard, soaking the knees of his khakis with the sharp tang of dew from his freshly mowed lawn. He'd fondle her between beers, but mostly he'd just sit back on the white resin lawn chair and stare at her while mosquitos danced on his skin.

I think she liked the feel of his eyes on her. She seemed to hum with satisfaction when he ran a hand over the filmy old paint on her sides. He'd loved her well in their years together, I'd always been aware. Something crawled from him and went off to die alone once we'd moved from the river to the suburbs and she'd been laid to rest behind the garage.

He'd spend hours with her, talking in a low even voice while his forehead rested on her aging shoulder. Sometimes, the hushed tone of his voice would carry through the screen door into the kitchen, and I'd run water in the sink so I couldn't hear him whisper to her.

Those were the dark nights when he'd lay on top of the sheets next to me, long after I'd turned off the lamp. He'd turn toward the window with his back to mine, no sound but the crickets and the soft purr of the refrigerator downstairs. I knew he was regretting it again.