Timothy Willis Sanders

Mary paired her wrists on Pat’s chest. He locked his fingers over the small of Mary’s back. He listened to the crickets. The humidity caused window units to click and whir on. The motion-sensing light above Mary’s garage went out and they were suddenly surrounded by dark. Pat wondered if he was sweating too much.

In the morning, Mary would be in New York City with her ex-boyfriend Marco. As a send-off, they ate chicken enchiladas and watched a DVD, Jules and Jim. Pat waited until he was outside to say goodnight and goodbye. When he approached her for a hug, she folded herself in his arms.

Pat closed his eyes and listened to the crickets alternate songs – one would sing and then the other, and then all of them sang together, but in grinding, shrill chirps. He listened to the chirps absently and worried she felt disgusted by the moisture on his chest and armpits. She stretched out her arms, unlocking his fingers. His arms fell to his sides helplessly, like shoelaces cast apart. The motion-sensing light above the garage snapped on and the crickets fell quiet.

–There’s something you should know about me. But I’ll email you about it when I’m in New York.
–What is it?
–No, it’s better if you read it.
–Are you still with him?
–No. I’ve told you that.

Pat pulled his lips into his mouth, trying to summon a better guess, and hoping he wouldn’t have to apologize for the first one.

–You can tell me.
–No, it’s better if you read it.

Mary inched backwards, towards her front door. The crickets began to chirp. He put his face to the sky.