David James Parr
Plaid Monday - Beauty Marks is now on Kindle
While he is telling me that we are breaking up, Mark is wearing a yellow plaid shirt that I haven’t seen before. Usually it's a white shirt to catch the blonde in his hair or a green shirt to show off his eyes, but in the two years we’ve been together, not yellow and never plaid. “Plaid” is the word we use when we’re feeling off-kilter but can’t explain why. So after he finishes telling me that he is leaving, the first and only thing I say is, “Where did you get that shirt?”
Mark looks down at the shirt and then back at me as if I’m a story problem, a foreign language, an abstract painting—all things Mark hates. He tosses up his hands like a frustrated French chef whose soufflé is crumbling.
“You never listen to me,” he says when all I’m doing is listening to him. “It’s like we’re two cars, okay?” he continues. “Two cars going for the same parking space.”
“Which one has right of way?”
“It doesn't matter,” he says, but I can’t picture it. One of us must have right of way. Maybe I need a compass, a protractor, a calculator: all things I hate.
“The one who saw the space first should get it,” is my point.
“We both saw it at the same time,” he says.
“The one in front should get the space.”
Mark shakes his hands impatiently in the manner of swimmers shaking off water, then takes a deep breath as if preparing to dive back in. “Then I’m the one in front,” he counters.
“Okay, then you get the space.”
“Thank you,” he says, and I realize that I’ve just agreed to breaking up.
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