Ten Minute Lunch

By Jon Hillenbrand In Poetry

Today I spent ten minutes eating my lunch on the rickety wire furniture adrift in the shadow of a building.  These autumn days chill shadowed areas to blue, but I was not shivering because of the cold and the shadow was cast not by the sun, but by the presence of my former love inside.

Part of me feels resentful that my ex girlfriend now works in the same small town that I do.  Part of me loves it.  Part of me wants to tell her to get lost and give me back my town.  Part of me feels that I shouldn’t be afraid to eat at the Potbelly’s across the street from her file cabinets and paper clips.

But today, all of me was shivering against the pressure of my phone calling me to text my mind back into her hand.  Maybe it’s analogous to holding one’s hand over the grill just to see how long you can take it.  My eyes normally scan every face in an Evanston crowd, especially on five hours of sleep, but I wavered between hyper-vigilance and feigned indifference.

Walls and floors always announced her approach with the confident cracks of wood heels.  So every hot stepper drew my eye away from my palms and toward the fractured concrete.  How silly of me looking for the tan coat, it’s stiff wool bounding her soft hug which blanketed me on similarly cold fall days.

Ten minutes to think and pray and hope but not text her number, a loaded pistol, dangerous and powerful.  Ten minutes to not lift it to my ear.

What do you think?