THE COLLECTED DRAFTS OF JESSICA’S CHRISTMAS CARD TO HER EX-HUSBAND by Grace Coberly

THE COLLECTED DRAFTS OF JESSICA’S CHRISTMAS CARD TO HER EX-HUSBAND
by Grace Coberly

Dear Alec,

I suppose I should tell you that I didn’t buy the apartment. Randi the realtor called (remember her, with the forehead?) and said the owners were still undecided, but I had visited by myself the week before, and it didn’t feel right anymore. I guess it was too big for just me and Pammy. Too many rooms, too many spiderwebby corners. They ended up selling it to that Polish couple, I think. For now, I’m living with my dad, who says


Dear Alec,

Pammy misses you. She only eats the big chunks when I put her bowl out, not that good digestive stuff the vet recommended. I’m worried about her. God, am I already becoming a crazy cat lady?


Dear Alec,

Remember our first Christmas tree? We were so excited we bought it in mid-November, and all the needles had fallen off by the time we unpacked the ornaments.


Dear Alec,

I was just thinking about our first Christmas tree.


Dear Alec,

I was thinking


Dear Alec,

I almost bought the apartment. I really did. I visited six times in five days, and I dragged Randi with me every time (remember her, with the forehead?). I was going to use your closet for storage and keep both sinks upstairs. I could always use another sink. And I keep dreaming about the plumbing there. I’m staying in my old room at my dad’s house, and the cold water faucet in the bathroom still doesn’t work, so the water is always steaming hot. I have to brush my teeth in the bathtub. I feel like an animal.


Dear Alec,

Great news! Layla from the Tribune invited me back for an interview. I feel like this could be good for me, you know? I’ve been cashiering at Macy’s, but all the perfume is really starting to get to my head. I need a real job.


Dear Alec,

I was going through boxes the other day, and I found some of your old Christmas ornaments. (The tiny convertible, the bird from your mom, the blue Santa, Captain Kirk, and part of your snowglobe collection.) I also took the glass giraffe we found at that antique shop in Beulah, but I think it was in one of the boxes I threw out when I moved


Dear Alec,

How would you feel about paying child support for Pammy? She’s not our daughter, but she eats like a teenager, and she has some sort of infection on her foot.


Dear Alec,

I ran into your brother last Thursday in the home improvement section of Target. He told me you’re thinking of moving to Minneapolis. Why the fresh start? Running away from something?


Dear Alec,

Go ahead and move. Maybe in Minneapolis you’ll meet a woman who isn’t so “high-strung” and “self-absorbed.” Maybe she won’t forget to buy paper towels, and she won’t put pepper in your mashed potatoes, and she won’t cry on the night of your wedding because she had to do the father-daughter dance with a family friend. You’d love someone like that, wouldn’t you?


Dear Alec,

I wish to God I had bought that stupid apartment. It was perfect, and I let it go because of you. Because you wanted a front porch and I wanted a big bay window and you like laminate and I like hardwood and nothing was ever good enough for you. Because you were selfish and you couldn’t love me enough to hang around. So fucking selfish. I should’ve bought it. Fuck the Polish couple. Fuck Randi and her forehead. Fuck my dad. Fuck you


Dear Alec,

Fuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyoufuckyou


Dear Alec,

My dad says I deserved it.


Dear Alec,

I suppose I should tell you that I didn’t buy the apartment. There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but after all that happened, I just couldn’t see myself living there. I guess it was too empty without you. I’m going back for an interview at the Tribune next week, though, so things are good with me.

I heard you’re thinking about moving to Minneapolis. That’s so exciting! Make sure you find a great realtor like Randi (remember her, with the forehead?) who knows everything there is to know about laminate flooring. I’m sure that’ll be a dealbreaker for you.

I know it’s been a crazy year, but I’m doing okay, and I hope you are, too. This is good for both of us. We should grab lunch sometime soon to catch up. Anyway, I have some of your Christmas ornaments that I want to return before I forget about them.

Dad and Pammy say hello. And please do stop by—you’re welcome here anytime. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Love always,

Jessica


Grace Coberly grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Her work has appeared in COUNTERCLOCK, Border Crossing, and Iceview Magazine. An alum of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and the Adroit Mentorship Program, she was also the first-place winner of the LSSU High School Short Story Prize and a fiction finalist in the Young Authors Writing Competition at Columbia College, both in 2017. She is a freshman at Haverford College.

Image credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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