By Erin Bedford
Here we are, facing each other, arms loose at our sides, uncrossed for a change.
Here is the desk that I found at the good antique place on Queen Street: a solid thing from the thirties, warm maple with white water rings, a key taped to the underside of the first drawer, and one leg just slightly shorter than the rest. So, as you typed out your stories up here by this window, a rhythm of faint taps on the floorboard always kept me company downstairs. Two hundred fifty I paid for it, but it’s yours now. We decided yesterday. The last of the things to be set on one side or the other.
Let’s get this over with.
Here is the strain in your neck and face, everything pulled back and sharp, as you manage almost all of the weight by yourself. Just my fingertip here under the edge would be enough.
You could let me help.
Here we are, awkward-dancing toward the staircase, heaving and pulling and swearing.
This is tougher than I thought.
Here I am trying to be less superfluous, just like always, while you take tentative backward steps.
Just tell me what to do.
Here is the first stair. Carefully, now. One down, two, now three. You’re rushing, and red in the face.
Goddamnit—would you just wait?
Here is the landing, where the stairs turn back on themselves, where we stopped the last time we did this. On the way up.
I don’t think I can do this.
Here we are maneuvering. Tired, out of patience.
Okay, I’ll go first.
Here is the front yard, and the now-empty window up above, where you used to sit and work, where you watched the sidewalk like television when you needed a break, where you waved to me as I left for the office every morning.
That’s it then.
Here is the U-Haul—picture of a giant squid on the side of this one—with all of your things inside. You’ll drive it away in a few more minutes, and I will hold my hand in the air and say goodbye until the sun eases overhead, and disappears.