The End of Another

Artwork by Andreea Paduraru

Love him? Had she ever loved him? She was so angry. At him. At herself. At all of them. And no one. She could feel herself already making excuses for him. The rejection spilled over into everything she was now saying. Now she was back in credit: “WHO SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?”

The pause for thought hadn’t stopped her shouting.

It was madness…how could he? Was it because she wanted some attention tonight? Or the tears, maybe the tears were too much. She knew it was too soon to open up to him like that, but she couldn’t help herself.

At first her heart had burned with the excitement. Now the pain. It didn’t matter what emotion it was, she was addicted. Had she loved him? She didn’t care much now, she just wanted to expose this feeling she had to the world, to force the feeling out of her body as if it was some kind of demon infecting her every fibre. She was convincing herself again that it was actually her fault. Her subconscious knew that it would make the feeling worse.

And better.

“I know you didn’t want to do this over the phone, but I never said we should get serious.” His pause said she had, and she knew it. Her words contradicted the three weeks they both knew had happened.

A car drove past and broke the silence. Boys laughing amongst themselves as they left the kebab house didn’t help. They reminded her of ‘them’.

“Can we just talk about this in person? Can’t I just come to yours?” she begged, knowing his answer before he finished drawing breath at the other end. The expectation although met, still disappointed. Something about it being too late. She hadn’t cared to listen to his reason.

Another attempt. “But I don’t want to end tonight this way”. She didn’t want to end it any way. The pang of loss started to hit her now, she could feel her heart emptying slowly like a thick water balloon, the rush of blood hitting her stomach and delivering a cold blow of discomfort.

“I’m coming over.”

He resisted, but she knew he couldn’t stop her if she wanted. She would do it. She would go over and expose him. It would be more difficult if she were there in person.

But that wouldn’t really work. She knew she’d lost already. Her breath started catching, hinting at the tears that would come. A fight was on between her emotions and her pride. Those boys nearby would notice if she broke. So she got angry again…

He didn’t like that. A new confidence had sprung up in the man’s voice. This was different to the boy who answered the phone. She had only pushed a little, but just enough to give him the conviction he needed to stop all this babble.

She clutched. “I’ll call you tomorrow”. His acceptance masked the truth. They wouldn’t speak again. He wouldn’t answer, and she wouldn’t attempt it twice. He should make the effort if he cares; she was the victim here.

The anger dissipated into a false-realisation: it was her fault.

The phone was still in her hand, but he’d hung up. Had she loved him? She felt rejected. She felt alone. It was 1AM and she was drunk, but she knew herself. She would get over this, it had happened before with others.

But was it her? Why did she always have this conversation with herself? Did she love him?

No. Maybe. She wanted him to love her. She wanted to feel him need her, she didn’t know why, but that’s what she was addicted to.

An hour passed waiting for the night bus. The upset had gone momentarily. Where was the bus?

A shutter crashed through the night. Disturbing her thoughts. A burly man left the building opposite, locked up and paused for a second realising he wasn’t alone. Startled and wide-awake again her eyes met his as they played out a meaningless staring contest.

The pause lingered for a good few moments. Then the man turned. Prepared to lose the game of the eyes. He lifted the collar of his thick leather jacket, snorted aggressively and slinked off into the black.

That was creepy. She stood up. Resigned. A taxi would have to do, the value finally balancing out in her mind to make it worthwhile. It would be a little walk to get one in this rain, but the vision of home embraced her.

It was little more than a few steps before her thoughts raced back to the man and that stare. Clouding her peripheral awareness she stumbled, a slide, she knew she was falling before her foot even gave way. Her whimper did nothing to delay what was now an inevitable crash down to earth. Like her night, her capacity for love, her life.

Her knee slammed into the concrete, wrist stretched out instinctively to dispel some of the impact force, but it just twisted awkwardly under the weight. Seconds passed. She could feel the dirty water seeping through her tights as she half sat on the floor, one leg supporting her position.

Then it happened, she couldn’t fight it anymore. Her tears became lost in the rain.

 

Andi Wills

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