by Cara Marks
She wanted to love the things he hated – IPA, jogging, yams, Plato – as a faux facet of moving on. She stopped straightening her hair. Brushed on fat red lipstick and never shut off the espresso machine; gardened in a mauve tunic and goulashes, braless; baked cheesecakes and danced to Paul Desmond and Wu Tang in the kitchen at 3am, when he’d have been straight P.O.ed and bedheaded.
The city still had his charm, crept into corners of brick buildings and stoplights. His charm, being, the smell of salt water taffy and cigarettes floating through her open window, the same red bicycle on 4th Street, golden hour on Lonsdale and the memory of his hand in the pocket of her thighs, legs crossed, farther from the knee. In her ’84 Rabbit, baby blue, at the stoplight, overcome with the inability to hold in her heartachy 23-year-old weepiness, with a sprained wrist and frizzy hair, she hummed to jazz. Her mother, the uber-religious, said charm is devilish, charm is fake and Prince Charming a fraud. But she’d chosen him over her mother, and moved here, and now, of course, he’d gone.
Post-run, she cracked open an IPA and mashed yams into a paste. She picked rosemary from the pot on the patio and broke it into pieces, rubbed it in her hands. The beer tickled her tongue, hoppy. She’d always wanted to go to India. She adjusted her bra, then decided upon removing it. It hung, dilapidated, on the windowsill. On the recipe card she read from, an old one of his mother’s, she wrote: We understand absence only in terms of rejection, and wondered if she were right in doing so.
Cara Marks is studying Creative Writing and Philosophy at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Her creative nonfiction has been published inMcSweeney’s Internet Tendency and The Martlet, and her poetry has appeared in Nudity House and is forthcoming in Highway Magazine.