The Second Note
So I waited and I asked about the woman who had dropped off the Garner. The owner looked at me without recognition while I opened up the book to show him her name. I pulled the creased note out of my bag and pushed it across the counter.
"She left a note in the book and I thought she might want it back. It’s kind of personal, I suppose.” I started to pull the paper back towards me. I realised I didn’t want this man playing a role in a heartache that I had taken as my own.
He lifted his eyebrows and turned around. “I’ve got a stack of them,” he whistled through his teeth as he spoke.
“I’ve got a pile of them here. They were in lots of the books. Most fell out when we put them on the shelves.” He placed the folded papers on the counter. “I’m not sure who she is. We bought the books by the box at a market a couple of weeks back.” He waited while I picked up the notes. “Not sure what to do with them, really, you take them and figure the rest out.”
I walked out quickly, holding the papers close as if they might disappear if I became too pleased about having the chance to read them. I opened the small folds of the top letter.
'I know that the girl you’re sleeping with is living here. With you. When you didn’t want to live with me. She made me a sandwich at the coffee shop I eat my lunch at. Imagine that! I gave my order before I realised who she was. She opened her mouth and I realised she was German. You told me you’d met a German girl. I know that she’s the girl you’re fucking because, in this small town, there’s no room to jump to conclusions. I couldn’t cancel the order because I was trying to convince myself that I was okay, that it didn’t matter she was asking whether I wanted salt and pepper, or telling me that they only had sour-dough bread. I had a coffee in one hand and the sandwich she gave me in the other, and was trying to open the door to the cafe, when she came over and opened it for me. I thought ‘I’m strong, she’s nice, that’s lovely because you’re such a nice guy and you deserve someone who’s sweet.’ Even my thoughts wavered though – as if appearing in a blurred scroll across my line of sight. Then I sat in the car with that scorching hot coffee and that massive sandwich and I shoved it huge piece after huge piece into my mouth. Wanting it to not exist anymore. I drank the coffee so fast I burnt the skin behind my teeth so badly it began to peel and then I started the car and cried all the way back to work. I’m saturated in my grief over you and your new girlfriend has made my lunch.'