She couldn’t believe how very nervous she felt, sitting in the café. Everything was painfully familiar, and she wished she found a way to make herself at home in a place that had almost been that once, back then… Home.
Her fingers apprehensively ran on the different cardboard menus, she still knew by heart. Except for the few novelties that had been added since she had last sat in the corner of the small coffee house.
Let’s make this quick and painful! She thought to herself.
She had broken his heart, the year before, after all. It was just a matter of how painful he would make this ultimate encounter. She suspected he would go for “very” painful, but she could always get surprised. He wasn’t a bad person, but when he hurt, he was the kind to be prompt to hurt back. And he knew her better than anyone else. Her soft spots, her weaknesses… He knew exactly where to hit her.
She hoped that being in such neutral ground would be enough to spare her a little. And she would soon find out, as he was walking out of the backstore, and back into the little shop, making orders waltz above the clients’ heads in a well controlled ballet she had always found endearing.
But his usual easy going ways stiffened when he spotted her in the corner, by the window. She could even read a “Fuck” slipping from his lips.
Fair enough, she thought.
Waiting her table obviously wasn’t part of his bucketlist, but he didn’t have much of a choice. Her fingers clutched tightly the soft leather of her purse, on her lap.
Well, well, wellllllll… Look what the cat dragged in!
She managed a half smile, mostly out of politeness. His tone was like the thunder before a storm that was just about to break on her. If anything, that vaguely sketched smirk might be the reason he would allow himself to let her know everything he had on his mind.
Pulling a chair in front of her, he sat, arms crossed on his chest.
You’ve really got some nerve, coming here after all this time!
He had this way of keeping a disturbingly calm voice, but his gaze was boiling with rage, and her face burnt, as he went on telling her how horrible she had been, and letting his long setting anger pour on her, as the other customers kept sipping on their lattés and nibbling on their pastries undisturbed.
How could he understand her back then decision to cut ties, anyway? When dr Murray had given her the final diagnostic, she had a mere two or three months to go. And she didn’t want to burden him with a dying girlfriend. Yes, she had disappeared from his life almost overnight. But it was for his own good. How was she to know she’d beat the odds, after all?
When he suggested that she was probably sleeping around even before she dumped him, she saw red. Reaching in her purse, she grabbed a pen and her notebook, and scribbled a couple of words, before pushing the pad his way on the wooden table.
I can be a jerk? What’s this shit?? Are we going to play Pictionary, now?
Slipping her hand to her throat, loosening her big scarf, she revealed her neck to him. The scars, still recent and barely healed, ran on her skin like reddish snakes, from her chin to somewhere under her blouse.
The sight forced him to silence. She wasn’t quite sure if he was just in shock, felt sorry for her or was plain horrified by her wounded flesh.
As fast as she had exposed her neck, she pulled the scarf tight again, and took back her notepad and wrote again, tearing the page off this time. Picking her purse from her lap, she stood, and stormed towards the door after leaving the ripped note in front of him…
Just wanted to tell you I still love you.
Ironic, she thought, walking out. Since she would never talk again…