She came by every day; two, three, four, five, six times. He counted them; once to get coffee, once to go to the restroom, once to go to the warehouse, once to get a package, another time to go to the restroom, once or twice because he called her name.
He loved to say her name…tasting it on his tongue; melted syrup candy apple. He would hold it there and suck on it before pushing it out between his lips where it was free to be heard by his ears: the sound hope might make. It would hang in the air before him like block letters on a Sesame Street skit…twirling like tops, each letter exploding into confetti perfume.
Her name…he would whisper it in her wake. He would say it under his breath whenever he heard her voice. His fingers would type it. His pen would write it. He’d scribble it on bright bits of paper, fold them tiny and stick them into pockets for finding later. He would scream her name into the emptiness of his car, eyes closed. He would choke on her name at night, fist frosted warm in the hollow darkness.
Her name…when he said it she would come; magical. Smiling…always smiling. Sing-songing his name right back at him…”Iiiii—zzick!….Iiii—ziick!” Such a song! Dancing her fingernails on his desk…tap, tap tapping…always. He’d raise his thighs to meet the underside of the desk and imagine he could feel her drumming touching him through his pants; her fingers there, against the skin of his thighs, graceful and polite.
Tap, tap, tap, “Iiii—zick! Iiii—zick!”
Every question she asked of him Isaac would respond with one of three phrases;
1. No problem.
2. You got it.
3. I can do that.
All answers in the positive. He could never tell her no. If she had asked him to pull wings from a bird with his teeth he would’ve.
Isaac turned 30 one Saturday, at home, alone, with his ailing father. He thought of her while heating up his dad’s soup on the stove, saying her name in his head with every stir; a sweet cadence.
He wondered what she was doing on a Saturday…this Saturday…while he was losing his most important decade.
He thought, She probably isn’t making soup.
He paused a minute, over the steam, stalling the spoon. “Yes,” he said aloud, with confidence. “There is no way she is making soup right now.”
Isaac carried the soup over to his dad on a tray. Catatonic in front of the television, bent over in brown robe, mouth open, blue light reflecting dead against his eyes.
“It’s my birthday today pop. I’m 30. What do you think of that?”
His dad continued breathing.
Isaac fed him the soup. It took roughly 25 minutes.
Afterwards, Isaac washed the bowl, went to his room, closed the door and wept her name.
xTx can be found at: www.notimetosayit.com.