Wish You Were Here

Listen, she said, you can almost hear day breaking. But then she was always saying things like that. She was the crazy one. The one who jumped on tables at bars and got everybody to sing the theme from Friendly Giant. When we lived together we had three chairs, just like Friendly, but they were all for curling up in.

I got a postcard from her today. This is the reason why she is on my mind today. For all the other days I have other excuses. The postcard was from Belgium. A picture of the Mannikin Pis, and on the back her familiar scrawl: I've eaten so many chocolates I weigh two hundred pounds and you couldn't love me anymore even if you tried. I couldn't love her any more than I do. This is all the card says. Not who she is with, or where she's going next. Not that she's coming home.

Listen, she said, if you try hard enough you can hear couples necking at the drive-in miles away. You can hear a man walking his dog because he had a fight with his wife and had to get out of the house. You can hear my mother crocheting antimacassars. You can hear someone writing their phone number on someone else's cigarette pack. Listen, she said. Concentrate.

I sit in my chair with my two empty chairs and I concentrate. I close my eyes. I can hear her on the other side of the world. She is laughing. It hurts that she's laughing, but I can't stop listening because I love the sound. Listen, I say, can you hear me listening?

Sara O'Leary, Wish You Were Here
Exile Editions, Darkhorse Series, Number 5
Distributed by General Publishing
ISBN 1-55096-041-5

Found on the front of a postcard to someone who used to live in the basement apartment of our house.