Marc Macdonald

The road is filled with anger and frustration, but I find emptiness choking me like a winter scarf pulled tightly. The air conditioning's on high and the DJ says, "It's a hot one out there," as if I didn't know.
My mind stutters from one image to the next, focusing too intently on the painful and zooming past the idyllic. I fly past us sledding down a snow covered hill on day-old pizza boxes and linger at the image of him standing next to the couch, wondering how I'm going to react to his being there. In what used to be my apartment. With what is still my wife. And I find myself thinking about how I reacted and my hand throbs again, the knuckles still scarred.
I remember the first time I ever saw her. The tan skin. The floral bikini. I remember the feeling in my stomach every time she said my name.
But again those memories fade and I find myself stuck in the moment she told me a trial separation might be best. For us. That she needed to find herself. I still hear her telling me how she wanted to be single for once. Then telling me a week later that she's dating someone. I remember going through the list of things we needed to do and think about, the rules regarding this newly separate life. I remember that I asked about visitation of the dog, and then sobbed for the first time in years.
Then I see the image of my clothing peeking out of boxes taken from the English office at school, the pocketed t-shirts and khaki shorts peering out of the backseat of my car at what was just months before and nervous about what will be.
The radio goes to static, then corrects itself as my car hobbles slowly forward. I hardly notice over the noise of the images in my head.
There're those same boxes sitting on the floor in my new apartment, me drunk and calling the number again. And again. And again. Until she asks me not to call anymore. Tells me she needs more space.
I stop eating. I spend hours running and writing, sleeping in the afternoon and staying up all night. Thinking. Looking at photos of our past and trying to evoke the tender feelings that were once all I knew of her.
I think of concerts and camping. Nights out with our friends and two-hour long phone calls at 3am with her friends laughing in the background. Her creating a Sims family with us and our son Brady and maybe even a second dog. Our first anniversary and the trip to Traverse City when we got the really tacky room with the hot tub in the corner.
Then the memories take me to my first night in the brand new apartment. I look around my room, the drab and boring whiteness of non-existence lining the walls. Cob webs and cracked plaster. And I close my eyes, not because I'm tired but because it hurts too much to stay awake.
My mind brings me back to the car, to my surroundings and the traffic threatening to move. I'm not ready yet. I want to be here, alone, with the radio on and the air conditioner cooling.