Numerically Speaking

By on Sep 12, 2011 in Fiction

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Numerically Speaking graphic


Pounds of dark chocolate that I ate slowly that Saturday morning while analyzing the e-vite that my ex-boyfriend, Andre, sent me.


The pounds gained since I last saw him six months ago.


The ex-girlfriends on the 50-person invitation list.


After the last piece, I dialed my friend, Mattie.

“I’ve been invited to Andre’s 50th birthday party slash housewarming. His artist colony now has 15 members and is officially open to all lost Cincinnati artists with angst who need guidance and inspiration. And he’s invited several ex-girlfriends. But why am I surprised? They are ever-present.”

“Calm down. Stop talking so fast. Are you going?”

“I don’t know. I mean, I know a good many of these artists socially. I really should go. According to the e-vite, the colony is now on Facebook and in the local news. He’s become a celebrity.”

“Well, Jenn, we always knew he was a player. And you know how the song goes. Players only love you when they’re playing. How about we meet up to talk more about this? I’m meeting Jackie at Essencha Teahouse in half an hour. Bring your laptop.” 

“Thanks. I’ll see you soon.”

I stared at the e-vite again.  I frowned at the photo of the Bella Roma rose bushes blooming against the side of the white duplex. I remembered, with regret, transplanting those delicate pink blossoms three years ago. This followed the exhausting task of cleaning Andre’s former house the day after I helped him move. When I’d arrived home, I’d spent 30 minutes in the hot shower, trying to wash away the smells of Ajax, manure and sweat.

At that point, we had been going out for two months. We met at a gallery opening where he promptly invited me out for coffee, a discussion of postmodern art in Pakistan, and sex.


Pounds that I had just lost before meeting him that summer.


Years, prior to Andre, that I had a sex partner, because I felt ashamed of my body.


Dates before I went to bed with him.

The connection was insanely intense, despite the continual mention of his former girlfriends. I allowed him to speak the litany of names. Each time, a jealous fire burned through me.

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Carrie M. O'Connor earned a master of arts in journalism and communications from Marquette University. She has worked as a reporter and freelance writer in Honolulu and Milwaukee. Recently, she was a guest essayist on WUWM and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Her fiction has appeared in Bamboo Ridge and Auscult, a literary journal of the Medical College of Wisconsin.

One Comment

  1. Wow! What a great story. I was reluctant to read it at first, but it sucked me right in and kept me going. Now I know there is such a thing as an on-line page turner. I loved the characters; I was right there in the room with them. Thanks for making me smile on a cloudy Tuesday.