Our Story in Three Endings

by Matthew Robinson


I didn't answer the door but you kept knocking, your flesh and bones betraying the solidity of the wood. You said you knew I was home because you could smell me through the door. I smelled like sandalwood and ginger, you said. I smelled like every ounce of yesterday, six ways from Sunday, you said. I smelled like the memory of creaking floorboards, you said.



I sat on the hardwood an arm's reach from the door. Hands folded, elbows on my thighs, lips pressed against my joined thumbs, I listened to you rap your knuckles raw. I breathed through my nose into cupped fingers. The trapped carbon dioxide, before wilting into vapor, smelled like everything that I would never share. We held our poses until time preserved us.



The house shone yellow in daylight, blued under the deepening shades of night. A close-cropped lawn unraveled to the street. Halfway between porch and pavement there we lay beneath a single stone. The epitaph read: We were a story without a middle.