Baggage by Lauren Dennis

It’s hard because he’s such mess, and he knows what a mess I am. It is one of the reasons we’re not married anymore and also one of the reasons we loved each other. When he comes to pick up the girls today, he says words having to do with needing suitcases, but this is all I hear:

I’m nervous to take the girls to Mexico by myself. We used to do this together.

He stands on my front steps, steps he used to walk up every day when we lived together. He is describing luggage he needs for their travel, and his hand gestures are somehow terse and caring at the same time. I’ve always been very attracted to his hands. They slice through the air and form several rectangular shapes, and then it starts to rain. I look at him getting wet and laugh and tell him there are no such bags. He stands there. Me too. What happened to make it so that we are standing in the rain, his motor running in a driveway that used to be ours, kids in the car, ours, but now he’s going by himself to a place we used to go together?

I leave him in the rain to run downstairs. I want to answer his unspoken questions. I return with four small suitcases. He tells me none of them fit the ones he was thinking about. Today, I am not annoyed by this. I think that, if I can somehow find what he is describing, even though we both know it doesn’t exist, maybe we will know more about why we aren’t together anymore. I make two more rounds downstairs, him in the rain, me with subsequently worse and worse excuses for luggage. I shrug on my last round. I wait for him to say:

This was so much easier when we were together.

He doesn’t. I wave to the girls in the car. His new car’s tinted windows don’t show me their wave
back. They drive away. I put away 6 empty suitcases and watch the rain

Lauren Dennis is a mother of two, violently fighting against the confinement that may or may not come with that title. She writes because she has to, and has been published in Scarlet Leaf Review, The Flash Fiction Press, daCuhna, and Microfiction Monday Magazine. She was the featured experimental writer for OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters’ Theme “Tranche de Vie.” She has received formal critique and feedback from the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado, where she resides.