The Living Daylights by Mary Grimm

Last night I thought I would text Julian. I liked to have an excuse to text. The excuse didn’t have to be foundational or believable, but I needed it in the back of my mind to give my texts credibility. Julian didn’t like it when I texted him late at night. He said it was clingy and that he needed his sleep.

But that is when I am my truest self and so I continue to text him between midnight and two a.m. He would be in bed but he wouldn’t be asleep. He liked to look at Instagram on his phone, preferring videos that demonstrated cooking techniques, or of children saying cute things about their dogs, or sometimes people doing yoga poses with a droning voice in the background. Right before he went to sleep, he got up and opened the window, even in winter. He had to have an inch open at least or he said he would drown in the stale indoor air. So when I texted him I knew exactly what he was doing and how he would look, lying in bed in his underwear, propped up on two pillows with another to support his instagramming arm.

My text would pop up over Jamie Oliver who was saying “give it a little stir” and Julian would cluck in annoyance. Not a metaphor, he made a sound just like a chicken. When we were together I had put up with this, although even then I hadn’t liked it. I had put it on the list of things that I could mull over when we broke up, as I was sure we would, the list that would comfort me in his absence, that would say, “You’re well out of it, babycakes.” 

Mary Grimm has had two books published, Left to Themselves (novel) and Stealing Time (story collection), and a number of flash pieces in places like Helen, The Citron Review, and Tiferet. Currently, she is working on a YA thriller. She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University.