The last time I saw Jeremy he was striding away from me, spine unnaturally straight. The tails of his long sweeping overcoat flapped in the November rain. I’d offered him a ride home but he said he’d rather walk. What he meant was I wasn’t getting into his apartment come hell or high water.
We’d had one of our usual fights. Words are important to me and it bugs me when anyone—but especially a bright guy like Jeremy—uses them wrong. He’s like a singer who’s always off-key.
The first thing he said to me that day was, “Give my regards to old Parkway” because I was going to New York for a week. If he said that as a joke, it would’ve been okay but he just doesn’t pay attention. I think if you’re going to use the words of great people you should try to get them right. Plus where the hell is Parkway?
“Broadway,” I said and stepped away from him. He’d just planted a big kiss on my mouth, right there in public. It’s no secret I hate that.
“Broadway, Parkway. Same-same.”
“It’s not the same, Jeremy. Broadway exists, it’s the live theatre capital of America. Probably the world. If you can’t get the words right, why not keep your mouth shut?”
Okay so maybe I went a little far. He sulked for a while but when we reached the box office, I paid for both our movie tickets. That cheered him up and of course we didn’t talk for the next two hours. Afterwards we went for drinks and I paid the first round and he got the second. When we walked out of the bar he shivered and said, “Wow this is real bronze monkey weather isn’t it?”
The way he lifted his chin said he knew he’d got it wrong.
“You heard me.”
“Jeremy, you are probably the smartest idiot I’ve ever known. If you could think just once before you opened your mouth, you’d be a genius.”
After that, things got nasty. We ended up yelling insults at each other, right there outside Tony’s Bar and Grill. Then he was gone.
It’s been a dark cold winter without him. At Christmas he FedEx’d me a box of silk underwear. I sent him a single Cuban cigar. He loves Latinos.
So now it’s Valentine’s Day and we’ve agreed to meet, back at Tony’s. “Let’s kiss and make up,” his card said.
He walks towards me, super model slender, ruggedly handsome. I stand, smooth my new wool trousers, and hope he doesn’t notice the way I suck in my gut.
A megawatt smile lights up his face, “Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”
“Jeremy,” I say through clenched teeth, “the word you want is pistol.”
© Maggie Bolitho
Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Broadway Theatre by Luigi Novi