The Parting

A short story about love and betrayal. I have several more short stories and poetry that I will add to this project in the fullness of time.

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1. The Parting

 

“You lied!”  Tears streamed down my face.

“You fuck.  You lied to me.  Why?”

You never replied.  Your face as cold as stone, hardened by the years.  Yet still I cried.  I hated these moments, unable to speak, allowing your silence to dominate our conversations.  So angry the pain would rip itself from within me and burst from my eyes as blood from a wound.  Even my hands, applied as makeshift band-aids failed to stem the bleeding.  How many times had I bled to death this way?  I dare not count.

We sat in silence.  My emotions consuming me while I waited for an answer.  It never came.  They never did anymore.  I just sat on the grass, my legs folded beneath me remembering all those times we laughed.  The times we cried.  Always they where together.

No more.

Our lives had taken different roads split as if by an axe into wood, forcing us apart.

“I saw your mother today” I said, an attempt to break the silence.

“She said I looked well.  Asked how I was coping.”  In my heart I knew I wasn’t.  Life would never be the same.  I could hardly recall the last time I had had a coherent conversation.  Yet here I sat attempting to draw one from you.

“I think she invited me to dinner.”  You never replied.  I could picture your mouth shaping the words but still you sat in your silence.

My memory wandered and I saw you as for the first time.  Silent.  An old movie played in my head.  Grainy like a video played too many times.  Yet your smile always remained as crisp and as fresh as the original celluloid film.

The memory cued, I reach out to press play.  Playing the memory over once more sitting back in the easy chair of my mind.  You were drunk, attempting karaoke.  A smile passes across my face and for a moment you may have mistaken my redness to be rosy warmth of the sun and a smile on my cheeks.  I couldn’t recall the song; I doubt I knew it back then.  That isn’t important.  It had been the way you stood.  The way you held your body arched at the hip, attempting not to fall.  Wobbling like a jelly that has just been placed on the table.  Head to one side a bottle in hand.   My eyes slowly latched upon your lips as a gate on its hinges.  I felt the click of the handle; I knew I would love you forever.

That was three months before I had met you.  Two weeks before I saw you again.  Sat chasing slammers as you wished your friend well and made them feel they were still young at heart.  And by pure chance there sat a friend, a way into your life, someone that would introduce me.  You hadn’t really taken to me at first.  We had at one point sat in silence.  My eyes fixed on your hands as you played with the straw in your drink avoiding contact with my eyes so as not to be drawn into conversation.

You had never been the silent type, apart from in that moment.  Yet here we sat as if in prayer.  The video stopped, the screen went blank white noise fuzzing in my head.  I returned to the main feature.  I pictured your mother vocal as always.  How she tried not to mention your name.

“Should I go?”  I asked trying to provoke a reaction.

I leant back and lay on the grass.  Allowing the sun to burn into my eyes and slowly dry my tears.  A sticky residue remained on my skin.  I moved my hands over the grass as if through a plush carpet.  It was cool to the touch even under the sun.  I imagined your head resting next to mine a smile fixed upon your face.  For a moment it was real, we where in each other’s arms.  But I knew it was just a memory and I still needed an answer, an explanation.

I began to take hold of myself, trying to control my emotions.  Sitting back up I shook my head letting my hair fall down across my face.   I brushed myself down.  Trying not to look in your direction.  Ran my fingers through my hair, forcing it into a ponytail tying it tightly.  Finally prepared, I brushing back my tears and breathed.

I looked at the grass again.  Like an infant stares at their feet when being punished.  I pulled a stem of grass from beneath me.  Rubbing it through my fingers until slowly it broke like dried skin and turned my fingers green.  How many times had I sat here asking you these same questions?  I needed to let go.  I just couldn’t without hearing your voice, your answer.

“Not like you!”  As if in answer to my thoughts.  “You just left me without a care in the world, no second glance you never looked back.  You fuck!”  I hated you as if our love had never existed.

“You never even said goodbye.  Do you know how much that hurt?”

I fought back the tears, once was enough.  I refused to show you my weakness.  But I couldn’t contain them and again the blood began to flow, my face turning red as if stained and bleeding.

“Why?”

“Why did you have to leave me?”

“Why?”  My voice slowly raising as onlookers averted their eyes.  Trying not to see my sorrow.  Ignoring the truth before them the memories it would invoke.  I punched the soil, as if into your chest cracking the skin on my knuckles.  Slowly I ground my fist into a ball and pressed as if to your heart.  Dirt and grass grinding eating into my skin as it must have done to you.

“Do you remember the first time we kissed?  You said you wanted it to last forever!  You refused to let me go.  And as we stood there, your grip tightening, we just looked into each other’s eyes.  And in that moment I knew.  I really knew.  A heartbeat that lasted forever.  I knew I would love you always.  Do you remember?”  I didn’t look up, but could picture the smile on your face.

“And we just stood there not breathing, suffocated by the moment.  You asked me not to leave.”

I paused, taking hold of myself, the emotions growing inside.

“Did you really mean it?  Was it really true?”  Yet I knew you wouldn’t answer.

Again the silence.  At nothing we stared.  My eyes puffed red still bleeding.  I lit a cigarette.  Drew heavily on the smoke.  Holding it until I needed to breathe.

“I know!  I’m sorry.  I said I would quit!”  I pushed the smoke from my lungs and drew another breath. Rolling the filter through my fingers.

“It helps me.  Ironic isn’t it.”

Again I inhaled my lips smacking as I drew it from my mouth.  For a second I felt no sadness.  Just memories of you smiling.  I could see you face your eyes fixed on mine.  But then I remembered and that world was no more.  I pushed the cigarette into my skin.  It crackled, like meat in a pan, my eyes filling with tears again.

“I’m sorry.” I said.  “I don’t mean to make you sad.  I just miss you so much it hurts.”  I could feel the pain as my skin began to smart.

I looked up for the first time to try to catch your face, but as always it wasn’t there.  Slowly I got to my feet.

“I almost forgot.  I brought you these.” and gently I pressed the flowers against your name as if allowing you to smell them.  I laid them at your feet.  Words etched into stone.

I wiped the tears for one last time.  Breathed in deeply and held my breath.

“I still hate you, you fuck.  But miss you with all my heart.”

I turned on my heals and composing myself stepped away from the place you now lay.  It pains me still to see you but I know you will never go away.

 

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