That Night In Boulder City
by Nathan Graziano
They stood in a parking lot outside a roadhouse restaurant, one of hundreds of windowless haunts outside The Strip in Vegas. With his arms around her small waist and hers wrapping his neck, the floodlights pressed a singular shadow against the cool pavement. He pulled back.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
“Because I’m never going to see you again.”
“That’s not true. I’ll call. I’ll write. I’ll visit. Stop saying that.” He glanced at his watch. She would be waiting, sitting crosslegged on the floor in his empty apartment, a large bottle of Pinot Noir and an ashtray on the rug in front of her.
“That’s not true,” she said and kissed him again, longer, framing his face with her hands. “I’m never going to see you again.”
“Then I’ll stay.”
“How can you stay? The truck is packed. And what about her? What about him? We can’t do this.”
“We’ll make it work.”
“You’re just saying that because you’re drunk.”
“I’m not just saying it,” he said. The shadow broke into two pieces, their heads almost touching the moon. A fat man with a handlebar mustache, carrying a carton of leftovers, staggered past them, weaving through the cars. He waved to them, and they waved back.
“Let’s get a room in Boulder City,” he said. “Like we did that night.”
She smiled. “If the Justice of the Peace had answered his phone.”
“I would’ve done it.”
“Me, too,” she said. “And now I’m never going to see you again.”
“Then I’m staying here. With you.”
“Now I know you’re drunk.”
“I am drunk. And I’m staying here with you.” He took her small hand in his, held it, and mimed placing a ring on her finger. He kissed her cheek. “Say the word.”
“I need to go home,” she said. “He thinks I’m out with my friends.”
When he realized she was leaving, really leaving, he reached for hand again but she had left so he grabbed her shadow and stole her shadow and knew, even if he never saw her again, he could always hold her shadow. She turned at her car door and blew him a kiss and drove out of the parking lot. He found his keys and got into his car as the Las Vegas moon was muted by the lights, all of those lights.
Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire . A high school teacher, he has an MFA in fiction writing from The University of New Hampshire. His most recent books include Hangover Breakfasts, a collection of short prose pieces (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), a novella titled Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and his new and selected poems titled My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). His first novel, When We Were Locusts is now available as an ebook. He also writes a Red Sox column for Dirty Water News in Boston . For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com