I tossed your clothes out the window, let them rain down on you along with my rage, while you stood looking up, begging for yet another chance. I’d hoped that would be the end of it. Every last trace of you gone. But weeks later you’re still here: Your red 49’s t-shirt from our first date. The yellow cashmere V-neck I’d given you last Christmas; the socks, underwear, sweats I’d made room for in my dresser, putting my own in cardboard boxes so you’d feel at home. All of it, tangled in the branches of the Sycamore outside my second story walk-up. Memories no amount of wind or rain can seem to dislodge that continue to taunt me.
The tree has gathered its own celebrity on Instagram. It’s trending on Twitter, with my privacy as collateral damage. Google “crazy tree lady” and there I am. Despite being a serial cheater, you come off as the victim, while I’m reviled as if I ate puppies.
I sign up for Match, E-Harmony, Tinder, but not even guys from Farmers-Only dot com will date me. Women who once threw their unmarried sons my way now shuttle them to the other side of the street. And before you ask, no I can’t just move. Mine is one of the few rent-controlled buildings still left in this neighborhood.
I try to explain all this to the arson unit as they inspect the charred remains of the tree along with two nearby singed Subarus. One of them seems understanding, sympathetic even. I notice he has no wedding ring and offer my wrists for the handcuffs.
Jayne Martin is a Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfictions nominee, and a recipient of Vestal Review’s VERA award. Her debut collection of microfiction, “Tender Cuts,” from Vine Leaves Press, is available now. www.jaynemartin-writer.com.