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December 25, 2011

Rewind – short

Read this first! Done? Sweet, you rock, thank you.

 

Here’s a quick evening’s work, a short unpolished story written just too get back into writing again. It’s the skeleton of what should be a more fleshed out story, but it’s not original enough to be worth spending much more time on, so I’m posting it as is…

Rewind, 2008-08-04 © copyright 2008-2011 wetwebwork

There were only so many times I could go through it before I resigned myself to accepting she had made her mind up. But I tried. I made sure I wasn’t half asleep on the sofa with the washing piled in the sink. I tried having the flat clean and dinner cooking. And that seemed to be going well, till it came time to clear the plates and she stopped me; she had something she wanted to say.

So I skipped back a couple of hours, and then an extra one to give me time to get some flowers and call her at work and see how she was. But it was always there, obvious once you knew it was coming. The hesitation in her voice, the assurances that she would be home soon. That she would prefer we didn’t go out, that, when I finally pressed on the fifth or sixth attempt that evening, she had something she wanted to discuss. And try as I might, the conversation always came up.

Resigned to that, I tried different approaches when the conversation began, always jumping to the point when she lowered her glass and took my hand. It had been the easiest start to it, I discovered. Better than the crossed arms, the turned back at the sink, the awkward silence from the bedroom before she could hold it back no more, the slap that I managed to only have to face the once. No, the lowering of the glass and taking of my hand was the point where I decided to try and change her mind through all the arguments I could think of.

I skipped back to the lowering of the glass as easily as you might rewind the the beginning of the song, and it became bitterly familiar, which didn’t help. At one point I thought I had bought some time, she would see, she would try, but after getting ready for bed, she knew she was making a mistake, and there it was again. Postponed, but as inevitable as the morning sun.

Call me a selfish, but in the end I decided I’d had enough and dumped her. Yup, as she lowered her glass, I said had something I needed to say. Reluctantly, she crossed her arms, and waited.

“This isn’t working, is it?”
“Why do you say that?” she asked.
“It’s not that I don’t love you, I do. I’ve never lied about that. I do. But. You’re not happy, are you?”
“It’s not you…”
“But it is, it’s us. We tried. But I think you saw something in me that wasn’t there, and I’ve tried to be different, tried to be what you wanted, but it’s not working. I think we’re best off ending it now while, well, before we hurt too much.”
“I wish it hadn’t come to this,” she said.
“But it has. I can’t change that. I’ve tried, I’ve tried like you’ll never know.”
“I know you have. But there’s times when it’s like that’s all you’re doing. Trying to be what I want, not what you want. And I appreciate that, but if you’re not happy, if you’re not being you, well, I don’t want to be always wondering what you want. I want to be what you want, and you to be you. Really, I wish it could have been different, but maybe we’re just trying to hard to please each other, and ending up unhappy ourselves.”
“Maybe.”
She stood up, and I decided to let her say would take some stuff and come back for the rest. To let it just happen. This wasn’t the worst of the ways to end it. It was bitter, it hurt, but at least it was civil.

She found a bag easily enough, prepared that morning as I had come to discover, and I poured myself another glass of wine. I’d ride the silence out, wait for the awkward goodbye, and let her go. But this time she stopped.
“You know, what attracted me to you was your confidence. You remember when we met? You just knew what you wanted to do, and that night was how I wish it had always been. Nothing could touch us. Then it changed, bit by bit, you always seemed to be tip toeing round, trying to please me, trying so hard all the time. You changed.”

She looked at me, and I twisted the ring on my finger, remembering. That first evening had been easy, everything after that I had lived a thousand times, and was harder to recall, so many paths, so many repeats, so many failed attempts, so many successes I selfishly relieved over and over because, well, why wouldn’t you?

“Say something?”
“There’s nothing to say.” I smiled, pulling the ring loose. “Just go. It’ll be okay.”
“Sure. I’ll be in touch about my other things. Don’t go throwing them out?”
“I won’t. Of course not.”
“Thank you.” She tried a smile, but it didn’t come easy. And then she left.

I looked at the ring, turned it over a couple of times, then slipped it back on. One more time.

“You sleep okay?”
“I did,” she said. Turning from me in the bashful way I had come to know so well.
“Get you anything?”
“I’d kill for a cup of tea.”
“Sorry, no milk.”
“You don’t have milk? This could be the end of a great first date.”
“I don’t think so. If I had milk it would be too perfect.”
“Maybe. So… shall I wait here while you get some?”
I laughed. “Maybe you’re just going to have to go without this once?”
“Just this once.”
“No promises. I’ll do my best, but…”

 

All characters appearing in this work are completely fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Really.

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