Realism: Gustave Courbet to Jerry Springer

The Narrative Dress

Ridiculum Vitae

Maruch Santiz Gómez

Dinh Q. Le

Steven Brower

Karin Sander

Journalistic Criticism


Slow down


When she left

A love affair, part I

All things i couldnt say

The case of the young lovers

The nickname

The silence of Najmalabad

En Español

El kitsch y el cuerpo/2

La muerte de los Señores

La Giaconda y la guardia

Giovanni Tornatore

Martín Ramírez

La escatología de la pintura

When she left

by Keith Miller

When she left, Susan decided to leave Mr. Big behind. David had not really wanted a cat but quickly he was more attached to Mr. Big than she ever was. Anyway, to carry the cat-box would have been trouble and since she was leaving, grabbing only what she really needed and could easily carry, she knew the cat was to be left behind. It was also a gesture to tell him that all these things from their life together were no longer a part of her: cat, furniture, books. It would have been only decent to tell him that she was leaving but it was obvious how that would work out.

They met, on the plane, both arriving to New York for the first time, optimistic and on the verge of new lives, and since then they had been together and every argument had ended with her self-doubt and guilt. Often she felt a sense of guilt or shame for something she knew to be o.k. Nevertheless, David wound her around to the same feeling of doubt and anxiety she felt when talking to her parents before their death, and this time she was firm. If she could not walk away from a discussion with him without that feeling, especially when she was to tell him that she was leaving for good, going back to her hometown, then she would not have that conversation. He would not get the satisfaction of making her doubt the decision she knew was right. She was leaving and he could figure that out. He would have no number to call her and she had just changed her email: she would be out of his reach, finally.

Mr. Big, of course, felt slightly less certain about things. He had heard the conversations flair into glowing silences, occasionally laced with forks hitting plates with a bit too much of a clink; he had watched as the silences turned either to heartfelt make-ups and passionate love making or accusatory gestures and almost shouts. The cat knew that something was wrong, but since David and Susan so often ended these stalemates with tear-stained, euphoric sex, he could only assume it was part of the order the couple had established in its mating and domestic ritual. That everything was so wrong, he could never have guessed.

Nor could he have told Susan that she should slow down. That she should look on the small thrift store-bought table between the TV and the small sofa, where David spent so much of his time. Susan would not have thought to look there because she was leaving, making a clean break from David and his things. This included the TV and the sofa and all the other furniture, all bought within the last four years as they slowly made this apartment their home and site of their disintegration. She was leaving while he was away at work, he wouldn't be back for hours, and she wouldn't be back at all.

The anger drove her on to fill two suitcases, each on wheels, one bought in the same thrift store as the coffee table the other brought with her from Indiana. She was upset but resolved, focused. She placed things neatly folded groups, even the socks and the underwear. She convinced herself she was fine. She saw only the things that she wanted and would take with her. Mentally see-sawing to whether or not to leave a note explaining everything, she finally decided that he was the one who always ran from any confrontation. He never wanted to talk about it. And if he was so quick to avoid these discussions, if he always had to turn them around so that she was somehow wrong, she could only silence him through her own tacit departure. She would not even give him the satisfaction of a goodbye note. (If you don't believe I'm goin', just count the days I'm gone, she might have sung.)

All this thinking about the note might have made more of an impact had Mr. Big been able to tell Susan what lay on the coffee table for her. Despite her hurry she should have seen the piece of paper folded in half, with the single word facing up, clearly written in a stiff, angry hand: SUSAN. Had she caught sight of her name on that note, she could have opened it and found out that David had in fact not gone to work that day. While she was finishing her shift he had been less neatly packing his belongings into his suitcase, which she might have noticed missing were it not for her intense singularity of purpose.

Had she paused to survey the room and opened the note she would have read: S- I can't take it anymore. I'm going back to LA. I would have stayed to tell you but it doesn't seem to matter anymore. Everything we do is wrong. I still love you but it's just too much. I will call you when I have a number.

Sorry. This time it's me. -D.

She would never read it and Mr. Big would always regret that, would even die in that apartment regretting it.