December 15, 2013 by The Citron Review
The Friday night after Thanksgiving, we had all been shuffling through the new snow from one house party to another and up and down the steps of the high school where we had become friends. At some point, your girlfriend offered to give me a ride from wherever we were and back into town – back to the Tavern. I don’t know if I slumped wasted in the passenger seat or if I tried to kiss her while she maneuvered the slick roads. But I remember that her car smelled like cinnamon. I remember wanting to drive all night.
Sometime later, I saw her car in a parking lot and wrote those words in the grimy mix of snow and dirt on her window.
That’s what I’ve been told.
I apologized to you once already, but you called me at my dorm a few days after Thanksgiving break, demanding that I apologize again.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “I guess I drank too much.”
You were 800 miles away and when you said, “How would you like it if I drove up there and kicked your ass?” I laughed. You began to shout.
I was late for class, but I sat there and listened to your rant. “You wrote I want to fuck you on my girlfriend’s car window! What kind of person does that?! “
“I’m sorry,” I repeated.
“Fuck you,” you said. Then you hung up.
We worked together that summer, your girlfriend and I. She was so sweet, and you were so arrogant, and I wondered why she loved you. But she did love you, and she drove me back into town that night so I wouldn’t have to walk, and later, I saw her car and I wrote those words.
What kind of person does that?
Over the years, bits of memory have returned like random meteors, knocking me off balance. I remember shots of vodka and smoking weed. I remember staggering out of the Tavern toward her parked car. I remember trying to climb inside.
I wish the memories didn’t come because not remembering makes it less awful. When one of them flashes to life and slams into me, and I feel like a monster all over again, I silently make amends: it was just a few words – just a few seconds of stupidity.
It’s been twenty-five years, and I’ve done worse things since, so why can’t I stop thinking of you and her and that night I got drunk and high and wrote those words?
Maybe it’s because I apologized to you.
But not to her.
Glenn Erick Miller lives in northern New York with his wife and two children. His writing has appeared in journals such as Literary Juice, Confluence, Burrow Press Review, and The Glass Coin. He is a recent winner in the Adirondack Writing Center’s annual awards. Besides writing, he has been a counselor for at-risk youth, a college professor, and a photographer. He is currently working on a novel for young adults.