The Keys

by abillionbeautifulbutterflies

She needed to walk her dog. He told her to look for the keys to the apartment building on the top shelf, to the left of the TV. She found them. As she walked across the room he nonchalantly told her, “and you can keep that set.” Excuse me? She thought. What the hell did he just say. “What?” She mutters out. “You can keep those, they can be your set.” She freezes. “Ah- well” She’s frozen. Thoughts and images race through her head like a psychedelic version of the Coney Island tea cups ride. “Ah- I don’t need a set, um, I guess I could use them, I mean ah….(one second, two seconds, three seconds) I really like living by myself”….realizing the incongruence of this statement, “I don’t know why this is such a big deal for me.” She looks up at him. He’s laying in bed, the covers pulled up almost covering his chin. His eyes are wider than she’s ever seen them and he looks so innocent. She can see in the look on his face that she must be freaking out. She starts the back talk. “I’ve never been one to get weird about this kinda stuff. I mean, I’m just really enjoying my independence. You have to understand I’ve lived with a partner most of my adult life, let me see”…she thinks back for accuracy. “Yup- I started dating Jeff…he was my roommate…and then when I moved into my apartment- he came along- and come to think of it, before that- the first place I moved into when I was 18- was with a boyfriend and after Jeff I got married. Jeff did move out at some point, but he was over all the time anyway so he may as well have lived there. Yup- over the last 15 years I’ve only lived without a partner in the last 2.5.” He just silently lays there and watches her. “I mean, I know you’re not asking me to move in. I don’t know what I’m freaking out about.” “You can just use those keys,” he offers. “Ok. Ok. Yeah. I’ve just never been one to get all clammed up about this stuff.” And she walks out the bedroom, out the apartment, down the hall, into the elevator- down six flights, out the door, and into the cold, snow filled city of nearly a billion souls, to be alone. She crunches the snow. He is so sweet. All this time she has prided herself on the fact that the divorce only made her character stronger and then there are moments like those that make her think…maybe amidst that strength is a bit of ruin.