Especially when you're in something, when you throw out your girlfriend for fucking the neighbor stud who lives in his loud studio apartment below you in this heavy two-story cement box with black iron stairs and nothing but parking lot and wire fence with security lights.  

At night she comes to you, she says she slipped out his window below because the door lock would wake him and she's outside your second floor windows, whispering to be let in again, and you stand up in your bed, and look out your window and there she is, she waves at you and you can barely see her in the dark, there's one weak streetlamp out there and part of a ficus tree and a nearby dying bush that obstruct your view and you've been drinking because you didn't want to throw her out but you didn't know what to do and since you've been drinking all you want to do is go back to bed and when you wake up in the morning, you wonder if it was real or not.  

The next night she comes back again.  She calls your name and you climb out of bed.  This time you're more sober, not by much but more than last night.  She asks you if she can come in.  You say, what the fuck you doing here?  I wanted to see you, she replies.  Why don't you go back to your boyfriend, you reply, you got everything out of here.  No, she replies, I want to see you.  

She throws something up at the window, it's small and circular and you put out your hand to catch it but it's dark and you think you feel it glance off your fingers but then it falls below you in the high grass that your 45 year old landlord rarely mows.  She says something else but she says she has to leave and you don't know what to say. 

In the morning you find a box of her papers in your hall closet and you call her cell number but it says that number has been changed to a new number but they don't offer to tell you what it is, so you think you'll put the box of papers to the side for the next time you see her.  

That night she comes to your bedroom window.  You are awake and ready.  As you open the window, she says, Let me come in.  You think about it. You've been lonely.  You've been drinking too much and not remembering very much.  You catch a glimpse of her face, a flash in the streetlight, and it's the face you still love but you can't forgive, you just cannot make yourself forgive.  I love you, she says, we can make it work.  Let me in, she says.  Remember when we went to those mountains and we went for a hike, just around the small hill we said and we got totally lost and I think you got that huge tick stuck in your leg and we stumbled into the pond but got back safely.  

Yeah, you remember them, you say.  

Or that time we got really stoned and made out during the entire classical music thing at the park, you remember that.  I guess, you reply, but you two had been really stoned and wasn't there a fight?  You remember, god, she says as if she didn't hear you, do you remember when you got that huge check and we spent the entire weekend in bed, ordering food from everybody.  

You remember that time.  Those were the times.  

She throws something up at you and this time in lands in the window.  It's one of the bracelets that you had given to her.  Not an expensive one, bought at a street market and merely pieces of cloth wound together, frayed and chewed a bit from age or something.  Oops, I dropped something, she says.  You pick it up and you're tempted.  There's been past indiscretions, you know about them, but they were tiny:  a kiss here, a hug there.  But this one got you.  

She asks again if she can come upstairs, if she could gather you in her arms, she's missed you, she says, she just didn't realize, and you think, yeah, maybe, maybe it all wasn't that bad, and you reach back into your room, toward the bedside table and throw something out to her.  It sails in an arc and lands on the cement.  She picks up your keys and as she comes in, opening your heavily-wrought iron gate door, you remember what a shitty memory you've always had, but then the metal door swings close behind her with its usual loud, loud bang.



Ron Burch's work has appeared in Mississippi Review, Cheap Pop, Eleven Eleven, PANK, and many other journals. His novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books. He lives in Los Angeles.