While listening to Sleepy Maggie, Ashley MacIsaac.
Maggie woke alone today, her new-penny gold hair wrapped cocoon-like around her shoulders. In her lover’s still-recent absence, she felt a strange compulsion to breathe carefully, as though afraid that inhaling too deeply would cause her pain.
Slowly, she turned on her side, hand reaching out to where he usually lay beside her.
As the air filled her lungs, she felt herself expand, like a helium balloon; she felt light, as though she might float up off the bed and out the window and into the sky…
There was a bit of pain, yes – but it was almost bittersweet – nostalgic.
She was free.
Loverless, at last, she could breathe again – no one to tie her heart into knots, no big-booted man-child stomping about the place, leaving muddy footprints across her chest…
She laughed, unwound herself from the cocoon of her hair and emerged, a new-winged Lupine Blue, from the long sleep that had kept her docile in his calloused hands.
She doffed her t-shirt and walked to the mirror, taking a long look at herself. Slenderer now that she had been weaned from his steady diet of beer and bad food, she smiled – it was as though a layer had been peeled away, revealing herself to herself again.
She pulled on a pair of faded-green corduroys – it was St. Paddy’s day, after all – her American flag tank top and grey fuzzy hoodie and headed outside.
It was still early – 11:30 – but she knew where she could find her Dad on this particular day, despite the hour. She made the short trek to the pub, where she found him and a few other old Vets gathered around the old oak bar, all laughing and having a pint.
The lot of them raised their glasses and gathered her in to the bar.
“Hey, Da – fancy finding you here,” she teased, nodding to the offer of a pint.
“So, girl – you’re looking particularly fine today – all rosy cheeked. What’s news?”
“Well, i’m done with Sean, for a start…”
Maggie’s Dad looks her over, nods and sets down his beer -
“Well, you know, i never liked him anyway, Mag…”
She laughs and raises her own glass to her lips-
“You old liar, you – you love the good-for-nothing man!”
“Well, sure – but he’s not an artist, is he? He could never really understand you.”
“Sure, Da…that’s true enough.”
They sit in companionable silence, listening to the music and grinning at each other and at nothing in particular.
Maggie savours the ale, licking the thick layer of foam from her upper lip as the sun warms her back. She unfolds her fledgeling wings across the back of the barstool and smiles.
A short (very short) story.