Track 11 – When You’re Smiling

[From Album #1 – Dean Martin Sings (Dean Martin)]

I woke up to a bigger mess than usual, she was gone, again. And right before she left, she spilled beer or bourbon or both in a few places along the floor. She tore up some book I bought for her, as well as a gift certificate for a record store we’d gotten for Christmas. I forget if the clothes on the floor were there to begin with or if she’d thrown them on the floor to make some kind of point, half and half maybe. She had also flung a small bucket with some of her little belongings onto the floor, most of the stuff inside spilled out and scattered. Plus the assorted trash, it was a well-made mess.

The confusion set in as soon as I sat up, well maybe not confusion, but misdirection. I couldn’t really figure out where to start. The clean clothes were now mixed with the dirty ones, did that still make them clean? The sticky floor would be a good place to start, but I had to clean all the small little things first. I didn’t feel like thinking too much about it so I grabbed my phone and went out to get a glass of water.

Her last text message just said she’d be by to pick up her things in the next few days. We’d gotten in a fight, surprise. She’d spent the last few weeks talking shit about my family, not all of my family, just my parents and my siblings, so at least the extended was spared. When we started getting together she was actually particular about that, she’d told me not to bad mouth her family that it was ok if I didn’t like them but that I would have to learn to get along with them. It was a reasonable request which I gladly agreed to. I didn’t ask the same of her, for some reason I thought it went without saying. I sometimes got the terrible habit of being an optimist, pessimism just seemed like way more work and stress. I suppose I should’ve asked the same though. One day it just really got to me and I ripped into her family with complete disregard for her. It wasn’t right and the regret was instant, the regret came before she even had a chance to react. Again I had no excuse, I just wasn’t a good person I guess, that’s what I settled on. I just didn’t deserve her, I scored way below par and she was better off without someone like me around.

I started with the clothes and put them to wash. She would be coming to pick them up, I figured they should at least be clean. Then I started to straighten some stuff up and got a wet rag to clean up the dried up booze on the floor. She walked in at some point while this was going on, I forget when.

“Hey,” she said.

“Howdy,” I told her as I stood up from the floor.

She rushed over to me and gave me a hug, nobody could hug like her and I hugged her right back. I asked if she was alright, she was. We both apologized too much, I apologized more probably. We said we both still loved each other, she loved me more probably.

“I wasn’t really going to break up with you, I knew that as soon as I left,” her eyes were watery but I could tell she wasn’t going to cry.

Somehow that was all I needed to hear, that’s all she needed to say to just make me feel infinitely better about everything. She didn’t have to apologize and for a moment I forgot she already had because her saying she still wanted to be with me was more than enough to dissolve whatever I was feeling before.

I held her close and we kissed, it was one of those long, lingering kisses where you figure you look like they do in movies, or at least you hope that’s how you look.

“Now that’s a kiss,” I said, “you feel that earthquake?”

She gave out a small laugh and smiled, I hadn’t even had time to miss it, but I realized then just how much I wanted her to smile again. She had a good smile, that’s why we got along so well.

“We make a pretty good mess,” I told her, she smiled again, and we started cleaning up the place.



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