Selected Stories

“The Long Goodbye” - Excerpt

Nimrod, Winter 2001

Darcy, my wanting-to-be ex-husband, butters his toast as he flirts with our three daughters. Clair, Sonia, and Jane, our youngest at nine, adore Daddy. Even though he moved out and moved in with a woman attorney fifteen years my senior whose pool he serviced. When the girls get angry over my punishments for staying out too late or not completing homework, they grumble about how I must have driven Daddy away from them.

Darcy comes every day for breakfast to spend time with the girls. Ironically, in his betrayal, he has become a more devoted father. This morning Clair and Sonia are a blur of long hair, short skirts, and backpacks. When they are out the door, Darcy pours a second cup of coffee and clears his throat.

Oblivious Jane sits quietly arranging spoonfuls of cereal — flakes, banana, nut, milk — before she will put a bite in her mouth. Her slow deliberateness drives me mad some mornings. A clump of opaque tape is attached to the side of her glasses where she broke the arm off. Funds have been too tight to buy new ones this month.

As betrayed as I felt by Darcy’s leaving, I’ve adjusted to his absence and look forward to hearing his key scratch in the door each morning. To my shame, a few times after the girls have left for school, I have allowed him to lead me to our old bedroom. After eighteen years of marriage, it is as simple a thing as that I find comfort in his intimately known body.


Cited in BASS