By Angela Carlton
They called him the snowman. He, with his good looks and intensity and suave ways, but there was also something underneath a cruelness you wouldn't expect. And the girl, she was a bit stupid or “naïve” as they say. When she spoke, she spoke in a hurried fashion with a gush of words spilling out. She came off as desperate, a sad kind of desperate.
When he spotted the girl with her college friends at the bar, she was wearing an off the shoulder halter-top, a hot pink number. Her dark chocolate eyes had a smoky look but when she smiled, she seemed shiny and innocent. He bought her a drink, one double, with a yellow umbrella and told her she was lovely so very lovely. By the end of the night, she was on his lap and much later in his bed, floating.
The girl spent the better half of the next month lingering occupying his time. Snowman said things like “It was meant to be,” and “You're the one!” So she lingered because he filled her days with such words, delicious words. She ate and ate and ate until she felt full and plump and whole. It was the moment she felt whole that it stopped. It was the very moment she wasn't hungry anymore that he vanished.
She phoned him on a Monday and left one message. The next day, she left two. She phoned him again and again. The girl felt the need to leave eight messages by the fourth day and still there was NOTHING.
She stopped counting after 21 voice mails and when her phone never rang, she moved around slowly in the small quiet apartment. She lit candles for no one, and then toasted a bagel. The girl wasn't a bit hungry, but she needed to eat again. Her tears fell on the sweet cinnamon bread as she listened to the tick-tick of the wall clock knowing her roommate would be home after five. She had a good solid hour to digest his lies, those cold hard lies.
She was sitting on the floor now Indian-style flicking the lighter watching the flame burn-burn-burn. She sat in silence in the flat, empty space and thought about how this sort of environment normally frightened her. She hated to be alone. But today, on this day, the girl welcomed it.
Angela Carlton: My fiction has appeared in Fiction at Work, Camroc Press Review, Burst, Every Day Fiction, Long story short, Pedestal Magazine, Pindeldyboz, Storyglossia, The Dead Mule and Coastlines. In addition, I won the Reader's choice award in 2006 with Pedestal Magazine. Currently, "The Beach Cottage," can be found in the anthology Best of Every Day Fiction 2008.