The Day I Fell Apart by Annabel Owen

I swirl the froth on the top of my coffee cup with the tip of the silver spoon.  It looks delicious; light brown chocolate sifted carefully over the white milk.  Usually I would really enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee, but today I don’t even want it. I want something else.  I want the boy sitting next to me.  I can practically feel my heart pounding in my chest, reminding me of how his was racing when I hugged him at my front door.  I can still hear it, fluttering against my ear as I pressed my head to his chest in an embrace I never wanted to let go.  I try not to look at him, letting my eyes rove around the café instead.  I can feel his eyes on me, though, and it burns until I am forced to look at him.  I know why we’re here.  I also know that there’s no point telling him how I really feel because it wouldn’t change anything.  He wants to know though, I can tell.

A million thoughts race through my head, many different sentences of the truth that I could tell him; but I don’t.  I don’t say any of them.  He looks at me, with those brown eyes of his.  They are full of love and care; concern even, all deep emotions.  It’s like I’m the only thing he sees.    If things were different, I would shimmy closer to him, clutch his arm and rest my head on his shoulder.  They aren’t though, and I have no right to do those things.  He asks me how I’m feeling about everything and I can’t even find the words.  I can’t tell him that I hate it.  I can’t tell him here in this café that I love him so much that I don’t want him to be with her, it’s not the right place or time.  I can’t tell him that I didn’t expect him to find someone so soon after we had poured our hearts out to each other.  I can’t tell him that I don’t specifically want a boyfriend, but I want him.  It’s too late for all that.  I can’t mess with his head and suddenly change my mind.  It’s not fair on him if he is happy with her.  We only brush over the topic that we came to discuss; I keep changing the subject in order to relax myself.  It doesn’t work very well.

It’s not until we’re in the car when he says; “I’m going to tell you something and I don’t know if it will help anything.  I just, I am sorry really and I really want you as my best friend.  I still love you.”  I take a deep breath and just nod.  I can’t even speak because I’m afraid that if I do, my voice will be too shaky, too forced.  I can’t say it back.  When I say it, I want to look him in the eyes; I want to put everything that I have on the line for him, because he deserves that.  I think about how every time he brought up our situation, his voice was gentle and soft.  I remember how he apologised, so sincerely and so worried about me.  God it kills me; it’s so not his fault.  I get out of the car and he gets out to hug me.  “Thanks for coffee,” I say.  “Thanks for coming,” he says.  All I want is to reach up and kiss him but I can’t, and who knows when the next time I can will be.  I open the garage door and wait anxiously while it opens.  I can hear him getting back into the car behind me; I know he’s watching.  Usually I would turn around and wave, but I don’t.  I duck under the garage door and I don’t look back.

I walk straight to the kitchen, grab a shot glass and pour myself some vodka.  Then I shot it.  It almost comes back up but I force it down into my empty stomach.  Then I play some music and let the tears roll down my cheeks.  I sing the lyrics at the top of my lungs and pour myself some white wine.  It tastes like shit without any food in my system but I gulp it down anyway.  I just want to drink until I can’t feel anymore.  My heart aches and I cry until I can’t breathe.  I stare out to the pool, but my eyes don’t focus on anything.  The tears keep coming and I heave and splutter, sliding down the kitchen cupboards and collapsing onto the floor.  I cry until I can’t cry anymore, then I pick myself up and have another shot.

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