Elizabeth Ellen

The first time she flew to see him, his roommate made a countdown to her visit on the dry erase board in their kitchen. At midnight she followed him into the kitchen for a glass of water and there she was, naked on her back, legs spread in the air, a 0 between them. She wondered how many numbers had been smudged away in the interim, when the countdown had officially begun.
It has been seven years. There was a time in which they lost count completely. It was unclear if they were moving toward one thing or away from another.
Each time they meet now he has a new set of commandments for her. Consequently, she is heady with direction. She is unswervingly focused and alert on her heels.
Now he is saying, "Let's have this conversation in eighteen months."
He tells her this and then he repositions her thigh until it is flush with his cheek. She closes her eyes, already envisioning the countdown in her head.
Tomorrow she will drive to Office Depot. She will ask the woman behind the counter for guidance. She will make a study of dry erase boards, then return home with one, hang it in the kitchen. She will write today's date at the top, calculate eighteen months forward and write the number under today's date. She will stand hands on hips, satisfied with the number. She will remain alert and focused, knowing she is moving toward something again, rather than away.