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I Hear From Her For The First Time In A Year




Justus Humphrey




I sit down at the computer and check the email inbox: “Get a Huge Member,” “Your Order Has Shipped,” “30% Off This Weekend Only.” And suddenly there it is. Even if it weren’t the only thing that isn’t junk it would still stand out. Two words. A name. A name I didn’t think I would ever see in print again. I’m so over her. I know this is true because I’ve told myself so many times. I never did love her. It was just one of those things. Sure it was nice while it lasted, but no big deal.


She talked at the movies. Not conversation, but talking back to the characters. “Ha. Yeah right.” “Don’t trust him.” “We’ve heard that before.” I hate that. I hate people who won’t shut up at movies. But in her I found it endearing.


Why is my heart beating so fast? It doesn’t make sense because I really don’t care about her anymore. If she has decided to contact me after all this time, that’s just fine. I can be friendly, nonchalant, jaunty. “Oh how’ve ya been?” “How’s your mother?” “Oh good.” “Long time, sure.” “I’m wonderful, thanks for asking.”


Her tendency to talk so fast and with such vivacity that she would begin her second sentence before finishing her first always made me smile.


Why did she write? What does she have to say? Why now?


Maybe she realized the mistake she made. Maybe she’s written to beg my forgiveness and ask for me back. Well, I’m sorry sister, you missed your chance. I’m gone. I’m so over you that I barely remember what I ever saw in you in the first place. What was your face like? I can’t seem to place it. My pictures of you all somehow burned in one of those tragic photo fires in a sink you so often hear about on the news.


I realize now that it was never going to work. We were too different. My relationships are like wells: they may only spot the landscape, but they’re deep. Her relationships are like a shallow stream crossing the landscape: friendships everywhere, but none with any depth. Including ours. I think when she ended it, the only thing that bothered her was knowing I was bothered.


When my muscles begin to respond to the messages sent from my brain I move the cursor and click her name.


“SARAH BARNETT has discovered the wonders of BLACKBOOK ONLINE, the new way to keep your friends close. SARAH would like to invite you to join, too. Just click the link below and you’re on your way to hassle-free organization of all your important phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and more!”


JUSTUS HUMPHREY is in his final year of his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks where he teaches composition. He is hard at work completing revisions on a novel.


"This story began as a a writing exercise based on recieving a message that disrupts a character's life. Hearing from an ex has a lot of potential to bring up past emotions, so it seemed like a good situation to explore."