Ann Rushton

When my boyfriend smashed his plate in my lap, his dog hung around, licking my wrist, trying to make nice. He was probably hoping that he would get some of my spilled milk, too. We kicked him out the door during the fight, but we had to let him back in—he was whining too much. Probably a good thing. He liked to jump in the complex pool and scare the little kids who did belly flops and cannon balls all day. Another reason for eviction. 

My nails were sharp that morning, I had to cut them. I did while watching a rerun of "The Unit," only paying attention to the redhead. Pretty sure this was what set my boyfriend on edge. The apartment was air-conditioned, and I was sorry we had to break the lease. The place had a little deck off the side but it was too hot to sit out there anyway, plus the security car would come by all the time with its flashing lights.

My boyfriend said he would go for a furnished apartment; he wanted it to snap with color. After we argued I stood in the parking lot, my shadow long like a shroud. His dog panted so hard in the moving car that he seemed to be smiling at me, and I was glad I no longer had to share my pizza crust with either of them.

Ann Rushton lives in Iowa City and co-edits the literary audio magazine, Bound Off.

Detail of aerial photo on main page courtesy of Randy P.

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