Helen, Saint of Piety

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Though we hadn't been in contact for more than 20 years, my high-school-through-college sweetheart called me.

"I got your number from your mother," she said.

"Wow," I said, surprised by the call, yes, but more shocked that my love for her, apparently dormant for two decades, had exploded three miles into the sky.

"So I finally got married last year," she said.

"I heard," I said.

I was always trying to quit Facebook because it turned every dead relationship into a fucking zombie.

"And I'm pregnant."

Why would she tell me this? Was she still so pissed at me for leaving her that she wanted revenge?

"Congratulations," I said.

"Thank you," she said. "Do you remember what we were going to name our first daughter?"


"Well, I was hoping—I'm having a girl—and I wanted to ask you if it's okay to name her Grace?"

Had this woman always been this kind? Had she always been so respectful? This loyal to an innocent childhood fantasy? This weird?

"Of course," I said. We talked a few minutes more but didn't move past the welcome mat into our real lives.

The whole time, I wanted to ask her why I'd let her go. I wondered how good it would feel to get naked with somebody 20 years after the last time. But I didn't want to destroy our lives. I wanted to be the only person who could live without nostalgia. But, of course, I'm full of shit. I am, stone by stone, built of regret. recommended


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I just discovered your columns in The Stranger and am so happy to have access to another media outlet that publishes your work.

Your last line, "I am, stone by stone, built of regret," evoked this thought bubble: "Aren't we all?"

Looking forward to more columns, wherever you land.
Posted by Susan Kernes on January 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM · Report this
OutInBumF 2
"I am, stone by stone, built of regret."
Posted by OutInBumF on January 3, 2013 at 9:59 PM · Report this
Like it. I just read "What You Pawn I Will Redeem" on the subway (nyc, the A) and completely fell apart crying. That's the second time this month. Shit like that should be regulated. Today after I recovered I asked myself "How did he write that story?"
Posted by ww on January 3, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this

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