State of the union.

Time to Settle Accounts

July 4, 2011: State of the union. 

“I’m off,” I said to Rob as he read on the deck hammock. The sun was still shining, though with an afternoon breeze keeping us cool, and already the neighborhood was filled with the sound of fireworks popping in anticipating of the Fourth of July.

“Where to?”

“Carrie’s. We’re going to grill, the two of us, and then we’ll be back here tomorrow for the big barbeque.”

“How are things going?”

I shrugged.

“She hasn’t been around lately,” Rob said.

“It’s basically over.”

“Just hanging out?”

“Pretty much.”

“Too bad.”


“Well then I’ll see you two tomorrow,” he said. “Happy early Fourth.”

“You too bud.”

I took the bus to the Red and the Red to Addison and went to Jewel for a few more items for the evening. When I arrived, Carrie was getting dressed after an all-day volleyball tournament. We kissed and said hello, and she made margaritas while I sipped a Corona and prepared the grill. She seasoned some ground beef and I made patties. We put two corns and three burgers on the grill. After dinner we stood in the backyard and bumped a volleyball to each other, Carrie teaching me how to keep my forearms flat, how to bend my knees, how to keep my arms always ready for the return, and how to direct the ball so it peaks halfway between us. We did the dishes and got into bed, and she told me she was worried that if I didn’t start pulling back, the breakup would hit me like a hammer. In the morning I woke before she did, showered, dressed, and kissed her on her arms and her shoulders and her forehead and her sweet lips. “Have a great game,” I said, “and if you decide after volleyball that you’d rather just stay home, that’s totally cool.”

“Thank you,” she said. “I’ll call when I’m done.”

“Love you babys,” I said.

“Love you too,” she said.

Rob was at his desk working when I walked in. He looked up and said, “You’re up early.”


“Fun time with Carrie?”


“What time are people coming over?”

“Not sure. We can set it for whenever. Nobody’s responded so unless you’re having people, it will just be the three of us. I’m thinking we’ll do steaks instead of ribs, since Carrie’s got volleyball and the timing isn’t going to work to do a whole beer-soaked braise. I mean, I don’t know how to do it, I’d just be guessing, she doesn’t want that.”

“Steaks are good.”

“Yeah.” I paused. “Carrie might not come. Not sure. Game-time decision.”

“Not going well?”

I shrugged.

“So I guess it’s pretty iffy,” Rob said.

“‘It’ being…”

“The barbeque.”

“That too.”

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