#116 Melting Down

by Terri-Lei O’Malley

It looked the same as always. The same red and white checked tablecloth and the same Chianti bottles with multi-colored wax drippings down the neck. I have never seen a candle. The wax appears from nothing.

She was waiting for me at our table. “Have you ever seen a candle in one of these?” She held out a bottle.

Her voice turned my knees turned to water. “Aggie, how’ve you been?”

“Good. You?”

“I’m not sure. Every morning, I wake up with the sinking feeling that I’ve left something undone, something important. I can’t remember anything about the damned dreams, but that feeling of dread, certainty that there will be hell to pay.”

“Have you ever had a glimmer of hope?”

“No. Yes. Actually, yes.”


“When you called me and suggested we meet for lunch.”

Aggie reached across the table and took my cold hand in hers. “Angel. I didn’t call you, you called me.”

“That’s not funny, Aggie.”

“I didn’t mean it to be. You called me.”

“I was asleep.”


“It can’t be happening again.”

“I hope you’re right. But it can be happening again.”

“Am I awake now?”

Aggie smiled. “Are you awake, Douglas?”

“I am not. I’m not.”

I rolled over to the other side of the bed. I could still feel the warmth of her hand holding the shreds of me together. She would be there when I called. I flipped my pillow to the cool side and went back to sleep.

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