Why We Broke Up

Matt and Violet were never the sort of people expected to get together. But in the end, the funny part was... they didn't quite know where they went wrong.

Why We Broke Up is a love story told backwards... to find where they went wrong, and where exactly they went right.


5. June 2nd, 2012


I press the middle button on my phone to wake it up for the third time in the evening, while smoke wafts in from the door outside, clouding my mind. I want to step out for a cig, but I know that if Vi ever does show up to our sodding anniversary, she’ll be mad. She hates smoking.

I quit for her, I think, and I get lost in the thought of being able to take refuge in that.

It’s been three hours, ten phone calls and fifteen texts, and I still haven’t received word.

Maybe she’s hurt. Maybe she got hit by a bus. Maybe she’s been murdered in –

I’m being stupid.

I should calm down.

I smell cigarette smoke again.

I can’t resist.

I step outside, and find the wall surprisingly empty. The smell of smoke lingers, and there’s one woman leaning against the wall puffing a cigarette. I wonder how one smoke could have me so wired.

It’s just because Vi’s not here. It’s just because I’m worried.

I feel awkward walking up to her, but my mouth is dry, and I’m desperate, so I ask:

“Got a spare cigarette?”

She looks me up and down and for the first time I notice that she is beautiful. Not in the Violet way. Not in the way that I’ve never seen before, with the rainbow streaks in the hair, and the leather jacket, and the tiny nose and the bright eyes. No. This girl is classic model, blonde hair, blue eyes, smile like a movie-star way. I’d still take Vi over her any day, but she’s beautiful nonetheless.

So I’m surprised when she says ‘Sure.’ And winks at me. Because she is way out of my league.

Just like Vi.

But she’s not coming. On our anniversary, Vi is not coming, and there is nothing I can do about that.

So in trembling fingers, I take the cigarette, and light it. One puff on it is enough to stop me shaking, and suddenly I’m calm, and I take in the scent of perfume coagulating with smoke next to me.

“I’m Alice,” she says, and extends a hand. “What’s got you wiped?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“Anything you do want to talk about, or would you rather stand here in silence pinching my cigarettes?”

I laugh. “Sorry. Just hyped. Thanks, by the way. I’m Matt.”

“Nice to meet you, Matt. Love the jacket, by the way.”

My hands start to shake.

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