Olivia and her boyfriend broke up on a Sunday morning. It wasn’t a surprise, really. Olivia had offered her boyfriend an amicable break up twice before by yelling, “Do you just want to split up?” two times. Although he had asked to stay together then, he had behaved otherwise by disappearing for hours and returning drunk without any explanation. As a last attempt at repair, Olivia had called his parents for help. His father had assured her that he would force his “idiot son” to propose if he only could.
Our house has no windows. On winter mornings, I leave in downpours and darkness at six, then return in the brooding grey of twilight. Sometimes your car is here and sometimes it’s not. On the evenings when you’re around we eat supper in silence, chewing food without flavour. I’m never hungry any more, either. We scrape more food into the dustbin than either of us eat. You take to the sofa behind the barrier of your phone, tapping out messages to whoever. I take the armchair and read books I’ve read before.
Breslin was dead now. Undeniably so. All you had to do was go back and read some of the old columns to see the talent and anger and originality. He was just another one who had made his mark and moved on.
By the time Slap Happy was born, his parents, Jacob and Evelyn Happerson, had abandoned the circus life and were running a successful dry cleaning business in Canton, Ohio. Gone was the excitement of The Big Top, replaced by hard work and the strong desire to provide their only child with nothing but the best. Jacob held out hope that maybe one day he and Evelyn would return to the circus so his son could follow in his old man’s clown shoes, but Evelyn was quick to put the kibosh on any such idea.
Every day Luisa left a new piece of art at the foot of his bed. They were washcloths shaped like animals, a different one each day. She was very talented.
He knew it was Luisa because she signed her work. She left a card that said Your Room Was Cleaned By ____________. It’s my pleasure, and Luisa wrote her name on the line. He suspected she left those cards in all the rooms she cleaned, but maybe she was reaching out. She’d written her name there, by hand, just for him. She dotted the i with a circle.
Within the breath of the hospital door click, he was both alive and dead. A Schrodinger’s situation. He insisted on the glass of water and I had not wanted to go. But I did. He didn’t like me seeing him in that state–which seemed so unlike everyone’s perception of him, he was not the regular vain sort of actor one would think of. Or at least I never saw him that way.
People have asked just how it was that Sandra and me got together in the first place. I mean, it seems a bit unlikely, if you know what I mean. After all, there’s Sandra, small, educated, a right stunner that makes men choke on their beers at first sight, a snappy dresser that causes men’s eyes to wander rapidly southwards in the hope of even better stuff below, and a helpless looking nature which she uses to good effect when she wants somebody to do something for her. Not that she needs it, as she is quite capable of looking after herself whenever there is nobody else around.