The Last Time I Saw You

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The Last Time I Saw You by Karen Bowes  

When you wake, it’s 7:30, and she’s gone. You’ve never been alone in her apartment before. You want to snoop. You don’t. There’s a note and a key on the kitchen table. Sweet Emma, it starts, and the rest is instructions on how to feed the cats, lock the door, find something to eat. In the refrigerator there’s a bottle of lemon-flavored mineral water and five or six take-out containers. Some have crusted bits of brown or orange on the flaps. You open a cabinet and find twenty-eight cans of Fancy Feast — meat- and chicken-flavored. You think anyone who puts more thought into her cats’ stomachs than her own must be a pretty decent person, despite her inability to love you back. You stand naked in front of the picture window and see your reflection in the sunlight. The next building is ten feet away. You wait for someone to walk by, to catch you. No one does. You remember the first night you came to this apartment. You didn’t want to come. She said she would feed you, so you went. She said it was a dinner party, but when you got there it was just you, her and a log of cold salami.


You remember hating her. You remember the way her tiny flabby tits would dangle back and forth inside her plaid blouse whenever she leaned forward in class. And she was always leaning forward in class — in direct view of the professor — while she stretched her arms behind her back repeatedly and made lusty, soul-wrenching comments such as, Sublime! This painting absolutely moved me! And then she would sit back in her wooden desk and cross and uncross her legs and flip her hair around, pretending she needed to adjust her scrunchie, but you knew better. She was going to make the rounds in that classroom, starting with Dan, the lonely, overeducated Jew, then moving her way down the aisle, in order, to Sergio, the forty-something unhappily married man, until she got to you, the mousy underdog, the girl who would wear anything. And when her last ditch attempts at heterosexuality finally failed, floundered, fell asleep at the wheel, and she began feeling full-fledged gay and there was no one left to fuck but herself in the head, there you were. You and her and you say, Truest of all is you, asking innocent questions repeatedly. Things like, When did you know? Did you always know? What do you like the best about me? Don’t say it’s because I’m pretty. I know, I know.

The Last Time I Saw You ran incorrectly under the author name Theresa Fletcher on October 16th and 17th.

©1999 Karen Bowes and