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"All of This" by David Catney

She’s in the passenger seat of my car.


I haven’t seen her in weeks.


Barely even heard from her.


And now here she is.


In the passenger seat of my car.


This is what I wanted.


And I don’t know what to say. 


This was three weeks ago. It was late and I parked the car in a tiny parking lot. We were sat in front of a pizza shop. We used to eat pizza here sometimes. We used to smile together and eat pizza together and laugh together here. Now it seems like a cemetery. The pizza shop was closed, but some neon signs in the window were still lit up. I turned the car off and sat there. I looked at my hands and felt something like a sense of dread. The whole situation seemed surreal. Thoughts raced through my head, but none of them formed fully and they were all fleeting. Eventually I looked over at her. She was also staring into her lap. I felt a dull sense of rage. I wanted her to say something. She should have been saying things. This was her fault, everything. All of this. She put us in this situation. She should be saying words. She should have words ready. Planned. Thought out. But instead she just sat there, staring into her lap. She would look up at me from time to time, but couldn’t hold my glance and would return her eyes to her lap immediately. I didn’t say anything. I just stared at her. The glow from the neon signs and street lights illuminated her. Lit up her skin and hair with a slightly teal but mostly red hue. At that moment, both her skin and hair looked soft and delicate. I wanted to kiss her cheek and hug her tight. I wanted to crawl under the earth and under a blanket and stay there with her. Stay until death took both of us. Stay until the earth exploded into seemingly infinite pieces, hoping parts of us remained on one of those pieces. I wanted to stay there with her. 


“Are you going to speak?” I said. 


She didn’t speak, but she started crying. 


I reached over and placed a hand on her thigh. 


I felt stupid. 


I took my hand off her thigh. 


I rolled down the window.


I lit a cigarette.


I tried to make sense of everything.


Nothing made any sense.


She was still staring into her lap.


Still crying.


“Are you going to speak? Do you have anything to say?” I asked, again. 


And as we sat there, slowly, she did say some things. She said that she loved me. She said she was sorry. She said that she wished she never did any of this. She said she wanted to spend her life with me. She said she loved me. She said she was sorry. She said that she regrets everything she did. She says she wants to get married. She says she’ll make it right between us. She tells me to just wait and see, that tomorrow I’ll start to see that she’s telling the truth finally.


It all sounds hollow to me.


Everything she says.


It all sounds hollow.


It doesn’t seem genuine.


None of it. 



I asked a few more questions. But I don’t remember what they were. I wasn’t with her anymore. I wasn’t in that car anymore. I was already somewhere else. I lit another cigarette and smoked it in silence. After finishing the cigarette, I drove her home. She kissed me and got out of the car. She said she loved me more than anything, then she went into her house. I drove away. I took the long way home, I think. I don’t know. The radio was playing some music and I turned it off.


David Catney is a writer from Ontario, Canada.

David Catney is on X @davidcatney 

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