Dog Medicine

Dog Medicine by Julie Barton Read Free Book Online

Book: Dog Medicine by Julie Barton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Julie Barton
weakly denied any infidelity. Then he defended himself fiercely, calling me crazy and overly sensitive, calling Jane a liar. Soon, we were fighting terribly about the truth of these rumors, about the truth of everything that had ever gone on between us. We would break up, then reunite, and break up again. Sometimes when I was with him, I found myself clearly thinking, “I don’t want to be with this man.” This should’ve meantthat I could walk away. But nothing surpassed my need for Will’s approval. Nothing. It was a desperate grab, something I did not know how to control.
    I remember several dramatic, sob-strewn scenes in restaurants, on sidewalks, and in our respective apartments. Once, a bartender asked us to go outside because we were fighting so loudly that we were disturbing other patrons. I pined for months, unable to think of much else. I looked for him everywhere, and the fact that I pretty much never had a chance of accidentally running into him in Manhattan left me feeling stranded, alone on an island of millions.
    Then he would show up at my doorstep at 3 a.m., like a miracle, several beers in, and we’d fall into each other’s arms. We’d have sex, wonder aloud why we were not together, and pledge our undying love. Then in the morning the flaws would re-emerge, the hurts resurface, the arguments rewind, and we’d call it all off again. I’d be crushed. Devastated. Imagining suicide off the roof of my building. Too torn apart, I knew, for my sorrow to be just about the demise of our romance.

T OTAL E CLIPSE, P ENNSYLVANIA AND O HIO
    A
PRIL 17 AND 18, 1996
    My mom and I barreled through eastern Pennsylvania. We pulled into a rest stop near Allentown where, as if scripted in a stupid movie, there stood Will. He was on tour with his band, a tour funded by the bass player’s dad.
    â€œOh, my god,” I whispered to myself when our eyes locked outside the vending machines. He walked over to me and pulled me to him, pressed his whole body into mine. My mom saw us and said nothing, just walked back to the car.
    â€œI left New York,” I said into his collar. He smelled like cigarettes and beer.
    â€œOkay,” he said.
    â€œI’m sorry,” I said.
    â€œShhh,” he pulled me close again. I still loved him. I loved his body. I loved how slight and strong it was. I had wanted to hold that body every morning and night for the rest of my life. But soon the cigarette smell became unbearable, and my mom was waiting for me. “I love you. I’ll always love you,” he said. I wiped my tears on my sleeve and pushed him away. His bandmates smirked as they ambled past us.
    â€œMe too,” I said. I walked to my mom’s car. She sat clutching the steering wheel with the engine already running. I’d barely closed the door when she floored it and pulled away.
    â€œYou okay?” she asked, as she sped back onto the freeway, looking over her shoulder into her blind spot. “Of all the luck. I can’t
believe
we ran into him here.”
    â€œYeah,” I said, buckling myself slowly. “Just drive.” I closed my eyes and prepared to return to sleep. I couldn’t look back.
    My mom and I didn’t talk for several hundred miles. I slept, then woke and sat with my head turned away from her, my nose an inch from the window until I fell asleep again. We stopped an hour or so later and spent the night in a roadside motel.
    I woke in the motel, disoriented after a vivid dream of New York and Will and the life I’d abandoned. My mom tapped my shoulder, saying that it was checkout time, almost noon. “It seemed like you desperately needed some real rest.” I imagined her watching me sleep, monitoring my breathing as if I were a newborn in a crib.
    â€œOkay,” I said. I stumbled to the bathroom, peed with my eyes closed, brushed my teeth, and followed her to the car. I curled up against the car window, my eyes

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