She saves up things to tell him but he's changed his numbers and addresses. She buys him ideal gifts which stay in sacks. She starves and lives in the anguish of his absence. At Border's she sees a novel from a writer they talked about and buys the book to give to him some day.
She is meticulously sad and cleans a lot; her marina condo shines, white walls and buffed tile floors, in the south Florida sun. There is an absolute at her center: with the man, nothing is over. Nothing counts but that, neither saying nor doing nor who he is fucking today nor if. There are unperformed rites and something left wounded and unkilled.
She weighs ninety-seven pounds. She runs and swims every day for him. What she does in the subtropical heat isn't exercise but burning herself alive from inside out. If he could see how shaped, how turned on a lathe of pain were her long arms and legs, how pared down she is by her regimen.
She is a mother from a distant life and on a vanity table is a color photo of her grown daughter, Jody, a screenplay writer, smiling in the sun at the MGM/Columbia/Sony lot in Culver City. In the foyer hangs a lavender watercolor but otherwise the condo is emptied out. Its owner is happy in the empty dark of evening or with the bright day or with a setting sun making striped palm shadows on the walls.
She could be going blind. There is something darker in the sun on the sea. Her pier bench throws a paler grade of shadow. In the design of things, she thinks, there is less contrast. The Coke can is dull maroon, the mangroves dull blue the condo high-rises bleached. The surf is colorless.
Today she's gunned down. Six mile run, two mile swim. She's shot, slumped on the pier bench. A fisherman, bad leg, drags past, puppets out to the snack bar, lip jutting, swaying like a metronome, dragging foot, towing a wagon with a bait pail of live shrimp and a rack of rods. Her swim goggles make a necklace. Her hot flesh smells spicy from sunblock. In her absolute center is one idea: Nothing's over with the man.
However unavailable is he, up north, he is fixed. She is beautiful for only him and lives in an anguish that is all him. And nothing is over yet.