gone baby gone

by Katya Cummins

he says, “hey, you’re anderson’s girl,’ and i turn and say “i belong to no one, asshole, least of all him,’ and i take another shot that the guy across away paid for, and the guy says ‘my bad, i guess shane belongs to you.’ and i say that shane belongs to no one either, except for maybe irene. he asks, ‘where is that man’ like i would know, and i say the ‘end of civilization’, meaning you’re beyond dead to me, and the guy says that we have a connection that he will never understand. i say, “it’s simple, and old, and cliché, like something from a movie, and you don’t want a part in it.’ but he says,’ show me what you showed him,’ and he means that part of me from high school that shy, angry, little goth girl that no one dared to touch, and i say, ‘i would have to be a lot more drunk for that’, and he smiles like you used to smile, shane, and says, ‘how much more?’, and that’s when i knew to walk away because that side of me is gone, baby, gone.

Katya Cummins earned a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book reviews and other short pieces have appeared at Inside Higher Ed, Prick of the Spindle, Sleet Magazine, Six Minute Magazine, and Under The Gum Tree. She is the founding and managing editor of Niche Magazine, and is currently enrolled in the MFA Program at McNeese State University.

What other words might fit in the slot between gone & gone, as in gone [ ] gone?

    That’s a tough one because this piece is so reliant on rhythm and pacing. To be honest, I can’t think of another word that carries the exact tone, weight or connotation as “baby.” It would have to be a word that doesn’t detract from the emotional punch of the repeated “gone.” It would also be a word, or string of words that take into account the rhythm of the sentence that came immediately before it. There are words that come close: “anderson,” “love,””asshole.” Another alternative ending could be “because that side of me is gone, stranger, gone.” I guess it really comes down to who I want the narrator addressing at the end, and what emotion I want to leave the reader with.
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