My ex-husband called me the other day. Out of the blue. I hadn’t talked to Rick in twenty years.
He said, hi!
I said, who is this.
I knew who it was.
He said, it’s me. Rick.
Your ex-husband. We were married for five years.
Oh, I said. That Rick. What do ya want.
I was uh…I was going through some old pictures…thought about you, how you been? How are your folks? They still around?
Yeah, I said. They’re still around. They’re here, as a matter of fact. They’re elderly now, I take care of them.
That’s good, he said. That’s nice.
I said, it is what it is. So. How’s uh…what was her name…Sharon?
I knew what her name was.
Karen, he said.
Karen. How is Karen.
I wouldn’t know, he said, we split up. Remember that bouncer at the club? At Patrick’s? She was seeing him the whole time we were together. Behind my back.
Ain’t that something, I said. How people will do that.
Okay okay. I had that coming. Yeah. Me and Karen split up. Years ago. How do ya like them apples.
Rick always used to say, how do ya like them apples. I had forgotten that. I had forgotten how it set my teeth on edge.
I had forgotten how he used to stay out all night drinking and smokin’ dope with his friends, throwing all our money away on high-priced pot and blue-ribbon beer.
I had forgotten how girls with names like Candy and Trish used to call our house in the wee hours of the morning.
I had forgotten how good-looking Rick was. And what a pushover I had been.
Hey, he said, how is Chester? You still have Chester, right?
I had forgotten what a piss-poor sense of the passage of time my ex-husband has. Chester was our cat. I say “our cat”, but I took care of him. I brought Chester here to live with me after Rick and I split up.
No, I said, Chester passed about seven years ago.
Oh, he said, I’m so…I’m so sorry.
I had forgotten how sincere he could seem. And how afraid I used to be. I had forgotten the fear that if I closed my eyes, love would disappear.
Yes, I said. It was very sad. Well delightful as this has been, I’m going to have to cut it short. Unless there are some other scabs you’d like to pick at. Some other wounds you’d like to salt.
Jesus, he said, you are still the biggest fucking bitch on the face of the earth. I swear to God you are.
I don’t need him to tell me that. I know what I am; he hung up the phone and I said to myself, well how do ya like them apples.