The Seven Five Nothing

The Seven Five Nothing are a collection of hyper-short stories, each written in a single sitting with no editting.

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20. The Last Perfect Night.

I watched her hands as she rested them on her hips. They were perfect. But then she pinched, pulling a little fat between her finger and her thumb. She didn't have to say anything about how it made her feel - I could see from her reflection in the mirror. She was disappointed in herself.
'Come on,' I ushered, an attempt to distract her from her thoughts. 'Let's get ready.'
She turned around, her hair half hanging in her face, dismissive as she walked out the bathroom. I sighed. Sat on the edge of the bath, reaching out badly, desperately trying to connect.

She walked through the kitchen in her underwear, scooping up the dress she had gotten out, throwing it to one side. I knew she'd changed her mind and in a moment, would be climbing into her jeans.

It'd been a month since we'd seen each other - and this was meant to be fresh, meant to be new. Taking a break is fucken hard thing to do - so many raw, unanswered questions. So much unclear ground on which to stumble.

I'd called her, suggested we go for dinner. It'd been a month of living in the hotel, and you know what, I hated it. It felt like stasis, like being in suspended animation. This was us, catching up, walking softly softly, maybe going forward, maybe not. Taking it easy. But it only takes the smallest thing. The smallest moment to throw all that to one side.

I walked into the bedroom. And sure enough, she was pulling up the jeans.
'What are you doing?' I probed.
'Getting dressed. What does it look like?'
The snapping was uneasy. I didn't like it. I watched her for a moment, as she huffed to herself, her cheeks reddening with the frustration. I knew I should leave her alone, give her some privacy, but I didn't. Instead, I found myself picking up a perfume bottle on the dresser.
'I bought this for you.'
'Yeah...'
'You've hardly used it.'
'No, I used it.'
'Yeah, but not very much. Don't you like it?'
'What?' She was irritated. 'I've used it, okay?'
I put the perfume down.
'You know what,' she said, taking beat to pause. 'This was a bad idea.'
'What do you mean?'
'This, tonight. It's just bad.'
And then I knew. I knew it was coming. You just know that way.
'You should go.' She looked me right in the eye for the first time that whole night. 'Im sorry.'
'No.' I was indignant. 'I'm not leaving.'
'You have to go.'
'No, this is bullshit!' I fastforwarded, straight to slamming the perfume bottle against the wall. When you've been through the motions a thousand times before, you start taking shortcuts.
'Get the fuck out.'

I stormed out of the room, angry and flushing heat deep in my neck. This wasn't the way it was meant to be. It wasn't what we had decided. It was about to be about something else entirely.

'You know what,' she said, a firmness in her throat, 'you always find a way to fuck things up.' I turned around to see that she had joined me in the living room.
'Fuck you,' I spat back.
'No,' she yelled. 'Fuck you.'
'Hey - I came here because I wanted this to work.'
'Really? Then why are you doing this?'
'Me? You're the one who's so out of sorts with me, you can't stand to be around me.'
'You're right - not when you're being a prick.'
Beat. We had slipped back into it. Back into something we were both trying to avoid. It was so easy to do.
'I can't do this,' I muttered. 'I have to go.'
'Just walk away again...'
'Isn't that what you want? You don't need me here anymore, do you?'
'Of course I fucken do.' She was so angry, so confused; we both were. 'I just; I just...' But she didn't finish it. Instead, she walked back to the bedroom, and found myself looking at us, in a picture that hung on the wall.

Ten minutes later, I sucked up my pride and apologised. She didn't want to talk, but I did. And so, as I poured out all my anxiety, all my heart, she sat, giving me her time and her patience, and just listened. It fucks with your head, when you're emotionally raw, trying to talk your shit through; you sound so fucken dramatic, but maybe that's just the honesty talking. Maybe when we really unfurl our hearts, we realise they are painted with deep, vibrant colours.

I didn't count the hours of our conversation that night - it went on til the sun came back up. And by the time we were done, we'd smiled, and cried, hugged and sat alone. It wasn't a perfect end to a beautiful relationship; it was just us. Fractured, confused, and yet somehow, inspite of all that, still finding a space to be whole. To be friends.

'I should get some sleep,' she uttered. It was painful to not be included in her statement, but I got what she meant. It was obvious, and really, I owed it to her.
'Okay.' I smiled which set a small chain off in my heart, forcing a tear down my cheek. She swept it away with her thumb, then replaced it with a sweet kiss. I'll never forget how that felt, because it was the last one she ever gave me.

As I walked out the house, I was in pieces. Heart shredded, crying so hard I thought I might never stop. But, deep down, I knew, eventually, I was going to be okay.
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