Live Your Life Like a Train Wreck.

3 Nov

I don’t even know what to say about this story, “Male Seeking Female,” by Claire Burgess over at Annalemma. It trainwrecked me. Read it.

Please.

The woman doesn’t know which train he’s on. All she knows is that she’s meeting him at an Italian restaurant at eight o’clock.

There is a train wreck. It’s not the train the man is on, because he never gets on a train at all. He goes to the train station and stands in line and can’t go through with it. His bag feels too heavy, packed with two changes of clothes and a roll of condoms. The cash he withdrew as to not leave a paper trail is a treacherous bulge in his wallet, a palpable wad of his deceit. He thinks about his wife at home making lunches for his kids, thinks about how there was a time when he drove five hours every other weekend to see her when he went back to business school so he could support a family, support her. He can still feel the brusque kiss he gave her this morning as she got out of the shower, thinks he can smell her shampoo on his cheek. The emails were one thing, but the idea of sitting across from this woman and smiling at her and perhaps holding her hand across the table (which is what he imagined he would do) makes him feel hypertensive, and when he looks at his hands he can see his veins bulging green and wormy under his skin. He feels very old and wonders about his blood pressure. He steps out of line and drives home, tells his wife the business meeting out of town was canceled at the last minute. His business contact had a sudden heart attack, but it looks like he’ll be fine.

Read the rest of the story at Annalemma.

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