Cezarija Abartis

This painting, for example: how the stars stab against Van Gogh' s whirling blue night as the lovers trudge beside the Rhône. Physicists now know that dark energy is speeding up the expansion of the universe, matter flying away from matter. A bigger universe should be good, but it really means everything is farther apart and eventually will dwindle away into threads, then nothingness.

So when I ask you not to leave me, the joke is I'm asking you to go against the cosmic grain.

I'm asking you to put down your suitcase and root here, let our branches—if you follow the metaphor—entwine. We will be the tree of the universe.
Here, have a drink. Look, I fixed your favorite, waffles. Don't leave.

I will pay off my credit cards. I will stop smoking. I will change the sheets. I will study for my realtor's license. I will cure cancer. I will practice  the accordion. I will get a Hell's Angel tattoo. I will train my puppy. I will go to church. I will become a Franciscan nun. I will convert to Judaism. I will join AA. I will learn the Lindy. I will take my antioxidants. I will give to the Salvation Army. I will break off with Sidney.

Don't leave.

Cezarija Abartis is the author of Nice Girls and Other Stories. She teaches at St. Cloud State University.

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Detail of painting: Starry Night over the Rhone (Vincent Van Gogh, 1888).

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