A silver heart, split down the middle, jagged.
We knew within a week that it wasn’t working.
Which was a damn shame. I hadn’t left my husband for him, per se, but he’d been a big part of when and why, and he was why I’d flown across the country to Las Vegas. He moved me into a too-white apartment with no furniture but a mattress and a few crates, and I tried to keep myself entertained while he was at work, sometimes just cranking up the stereo and dancing madly. But the solitude was getting to me. He never took me anywhere. Our conversations petered out. And you can’t really have a relationship on sex alone.
I left my husband for this?
I would have left anyway. The affair. The miscarriages. My heart was broken long before I got here, long before I left.
I couldn’t sleep. I would slip out of bed and walk through blue three-am light, through the empty living room, and put my palms to the door, imagining all that was going on on the other side.
Never walking through.
“What was surrendered at that gate?” The voice was gentle, but thrummed in her bones. Silently she fished a ring out of her purse. Plain white gold. She set it on the card, and the reader nodded. “Choose your next card.”
A bright-spangled showgirl, holding a cornucopia; chips spill out of it, scattering around her feet.
I fought with my boyfriend; I left, with no real place to go. I slept on the massage table in a new-age shop. I met a man at the mall and went home with him; I froze when it was time for sex, and he didn’t push. I hauled around my duffel bag and slept in hallways, in elevators. I spent my day in a coffeehouse, free refill after free refill, reading and writing and worrying. The little bit of money I’d brought to Vegas was pretty much gone, and you needed stacks of permits to get a job, and you couldn’t get those permits with no fixed address.
I had no home to go to, and no one to let me in.
But I met people. One coffeehouse regular that I bumped into in the comic shop brought me home, and the condition was sex, because the condition was always sex. Lie back and think of Vegas.
Never think of hope. This is a place without hope. Failed marriage, failed journey, failed life.
“What was surrendered?”
She paused, this one being less clear; she closed her eyes and rummaged in her purse. She withdrew a slip of paper and huffed a quick laugh when she saw it. She held up a pawnshop ticket. “Her jewelry. Lapis necklace, rings, bracelets.” She set it down below the card. “I get that back, right?”
He tapped the deck again, his eyes wide and dark. “Next card.”
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