Vallie Lynn Watson

Boys You Sent Away

Veronica told Jacob she was leaving after his father’s funeral, but didn’t, just pulled her car to the back of the same hotel, in case he drove by. She didn’t want Jacob to think she was staying for him. It had been hard enough to come home after ten years, especially since Jacob had never apologized for missing her parents’ funeral. Late the next morning she drove out to Wes’s, and climbed the loose steps to the apartment he still lived in above his parents’ garage.

“Want to take a few hits of acid?” Wes hugged, asked.

“There’s still acid? I was probably with you the last time I saw acid. And it’s noon. And I’m almost middle-aged.”

“The night after your parents’ funeral, remember?”

She didn’t remember, and asked him how he did.

“Right here,” he said, and pointed to the wall across the room, “but the bed was over there. You were so pretty then, lying across it. I was tripping my ass off and wanted you. Bad. It’s been ten years. I haven’t seen you since that night.”

She laughed. “Did you have me that night?”

“I felt sorry for you. Wouldn’t have done that,” Wes said.

Veronica rolled her eyes. “I’ll take some. I’m not going anywhere for awhile, though.”

“My parents don’t bother me,” Wes said.

Later they sat on the bed, held hands, listened to his music. “You found a way to not change a thing,” she said. “Even your room. I like that. One room. You’ve got a special way of rising above the bullshit.”

“I crawl beneath it.” He was quiet, his eyes shut. “Plus I moved the bed, remember?” He waved towards the wall.

At some point Wes asked, “You don’t want to have sex, do you? I can take care of you if you want.” He leaned over, kissed her cheek, said, “But I’ve done too many drugs,” and gestured at his crotch. They laughed until the bones in the back of their heads seemed to protrude, and they talked about those bones for the next four hours.

They were stretched out under the covers when Jacob knocked and walked in, pointed down out the door and said to Veronica, “Your car.”

Wes said to Jacob, “And she wants you.”

“My car?” Veronica said.

“You’re back?” Jacob said.

“She left?” Wes said.

Veronica turned to Wes and said, “I forgot you. I’m sorry. I did.”

When the sun started up, Jacob took her back to the hotel and made her shower. She smelled coffee, toweled dry, dressed. He asked if she was okay and she said sure, she just wasn’t going to sleep for awhile and he said neither would he, now. They went to her car and he drove to the cemetery, past his dad’s grave piled with fresh arrangements, and stopped at her parents’, asked her to stay in the car. He disappeared over the hill behind the stones and came back a few minutes later, nearly hidden behind as many flower arrangements as his arms could hold. Veronica got out of the car and he said his mom would never notice. He sat on the ground and dismantled the arrangements, spread the loose flowers around and across the two flat stones.


Vallie Lynn Watson’s recent flash fiction can be found in Pindeldyboz, 971 Menu, Journal of Truth and Consequence, Product, and Ghoti. She is assistant managing editor for Mississippi Review.