Cinderella’s Big Score

Young Duo

“You’re packing quickly.”

She took a long drag and blew a diorama of the city skyline into his face, interrupting. He blinked and fanned away the swirling remainder.

“I hope you’re carrying more than luggage out of this apartment.”

He was following her from room to room.

“What I meant to say is ‘make sure you’re picking up more than just your shit.’ You’re going to need plenty of momentum too if you’re planning a future somewhere else.”

Maybe the clock ticks, whatever suits.

“I thought you’d quit smoking.”

She clicked closed the first of three suitcases. A clamped sock was two-thirds free before it was spotted and dissolved into the larger alloy of laundry, and she moved on with an audible exhale of airtight certainty.

“The silent treatment inside a literal smokescreen – lethal disguise. Killing two birds and yourself all at once?”

She flicked ashes on his bedspread as the second suitcase sprang open and, between hipshot criticisms and reloads, it swallowed tiny girlish things: a tin of opal barrettes. It took picture frames that were purchased but never sold to any specific memory, and twenty records of which 18 were good enough. A music magazine, promoting a sassy young duo, was slammed in like the cymbal crash at the end of the second coda.

“Don’t be stingy with the discourse unless you’ve got my rent.”

The second pair of latches barely clicked shut, contents pushing into the hinges, scarf tassels exploring the seal.

“I’ll yell ‘Taxi’ if you hail the cab. Hitchhiking is probably more your volume.”

The third suitcase yawned and then she was gone, barely noticeable as she slipped away with the rest; and by the time he remembered the names of the two missing albums, the smell of her cigarettes had disassembled the rest of his twenties and college radio.

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