Andrew Stancek

Champagne Kiss

When I open my eyes, Glinda is still gone. At the Parsons’ house the terrier is yapping, deranged again. I roll out of bed and fall on the floor. Among the dust bunnies under the bed I see the glint of the thin gold bracelet I’d given her for our first anniversary. She said she loved it but I knew she was lying. I leave it lying in the dust and stumble to the kitchen. Bubblegum ice cream, scoop, I smack my lips.

I introduced my first girlfriend to Father when I was six and that night he said, “Lots of fish in the sea.” When I was ten he left to get a pound of butter and four years later sent a postcard with a grinning shark.

I should have bought her a Rottweiler instead of a bracelet and then she would have stayed to feed it. She killed the Boston fern, too.

The peony drapes in our bedroom will go to Goodwill today and I’ll never shop at Whole Foods again.

If I grow a beard she won’t recognize me when she comes back. Most of her make-up still clutters the bathroom counter. I draw a smiley face on my reflection in the mirror with her Veuve Clicquot lipstick. A fly licks the outline but I refuse to kill.

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Andrew Stancek entertains Muses in southwestern Ontario. His work has appeared in Tin House online, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Vestal Press, Necessary Fiction, Every Day Fiction, fwriction, Pure Slush and Camroc Press Review, among others. He’s been a winner in the Flash Fiction Chronicles and Gemini Fiction Magazine contests.