Mr. Newman

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Love and loss of freedom go hand in hand, I wrote. My eyes drifted from my computer screen to my grandmother. She sat with her shoulder blades stuck deep into the chair and her head uncomfortably perched forward, her hands laced stiffly on her lap. She watched the television attentively.

I’ve seen it happen. But nonetheless I’m ecstatic for Amy; there’s something completely…. I lightly taped the keyboard, waiting for a word to come to me. The unnaturalness of it held it on the tip of my tongue… wonderful about her getting married. After all, it is Amy.

Amy. Engaged? Amy Newman… the name suddenly became entirely unfamiliar. I pictured her long unruly hair in a tight bun like his mothers. I pictured her washing his dirty laundry- spooning red spaghetti sauce onto his ivory dish. I pictured her stapled to my grandmother’s armchair, her eyes faded, wrinkles bulging out of her neck… Amy Newman.

Amy and I became friends in high school- actually my first boyfriend had introduced me to her. He and Amy were very good friends (and I always wondered if she liked him romantically but it didn’t seem like Amy liked anyone romantically. She never had any boy friends, until Mr. Newman). We had been invited to some party- I don’t remember anything about it but that I was constantly thinking about him and not that I wanted to be with him just that he had left his jacket in the basement and that maybe he’d forget it… should I get him a drink? Should I be introducing him to my friends? That night, all Amy and I talked about was him and I realized how much she knew about him and how little I knew. Shouldn’t I know everything? I mean, we had only been going out for a week… was I already failing my duties as a girlfriend?

My grandfather teetered down the front steps and into the living room; my grandmother weightlessly leaped out of her seat.

“You’ve fixed the window?” Her high voice rang.

“The damn thing still won’t close,” He hissed. “The hell with it. Nothing in this house ever works”.

She pursed her lips, but didn’t speak, though I saw her sink deeper into herself. Standing next to him, she was about his height, and I realized that if she only stood up straighter, she would stand above him a good two inches.

You know how I feel about relationships. I guess most of them start with love… And I laughed to myself. I wrote the word like I knew what it meant. Maybe I’m just a pessimist.

Anyway, I’ll see you at the rehearsal dinner. Don’t forget, your tie has to match my dress. I left a blue one on your dresser.

Love you,

Beth





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