I gave her everything and she left anyway. Oldest story in the book. You always hear that, but never what the second oldest story is. I probably lived that one, too. The last time I saw her she wore a thousand dollar coat I’d given her, a desperate gift laden with the hope she’d recognize it as proof of my devotion, or what she’d lose by leaving. It didn’t work. She tossed it in the backseat of a taxi, a nonchalant gesture—not rageful, calculated, or for effect. I knew then she was really gone. That single motion held all the discardedness she brought to her life and now to mine. The coat didn’t matter. It was just something to get rid of down the road. I didn’t want her to see me watching her leave. I went back in the house and poured two fingers of bourbon. I heard the cab drive away as I looked at her dead husband lying on the floor.
"Thousand Dollar Coat" © 2021 Chris Offutt