He talked with his hands, specifically his pointer-finger and his thumb. She couldn’t stand a man who did that, still, she smiled and nodded as if she heard what he was saying.
In reality, she heard nothing, nothing except the last words he’d said to her nearly eighteen years ago. Sure, she was being petty, discrediting the man that he probably was because of the sins he’d made as a boy. And he’d been nothing but a boy to her girl back then.
She was two years ahead of him in class. He’d started his college career after taking ‘sabbatical’ from institutionalized learning in order to study the ways of the world, and he was worldly. That is what had drawn her to him even though for months she had brushed him off.
But like he clearly was in business, he wasn’t a man to take no for an answer when there was something he wanted, something he was told he could not achieve.
She hadn’t known then that she was nothing short of a prize, proof that his charm could win the heart of even the most prude of prudes. She had won herself the unintended label back then.
Sad thing was, she had allowed him to tarnish it … she allowed herself to tarnish it. Owning her mistake was one thing, listening to him tell her how it wasn’t that serious and that she just needed to lighten up was another thing.
The memory of how his pointer-finger and thumb pinched together those many years ago as he dictated to her all of her social failings and the reasons he would no longer be considered the ‘one’ in her ideal ‘two’ still bruised her insides. He’d gotten more than the prize of her company, he’d gotten a bit of her soul, and then he rejected it.
“Did you catch those numbers?” He said, pulling her out of her painful revery, the heat of his hand upon hers made her rear back as if he’d burned her. She batted her eyes, pressing the tears away, and forced a plastic smile, all while hating herself for still feeling the sting after that many years.
She was better than this! She had prayed about this. She had rejected this ache and yet facing it seemed to slice open the wound with the efficiency of a brand new blade. More than facing it proved the problem it was the way he spoke to her now with ignorance, as if he didn’t know her, didn’t remember how much she’d loved him.
She felt the muscles in her face bending into a hateful scowl but faked a cough instead. She had to comfort herself with some credit she owed him back then. He had left her, humiliated her, broken her heart into a thousand pieces, but he kept the extent of their coupling in the dark where they had once laid.
No one knew but them.
She pasted on another smile and swiped away the tears, blaming the water of her eyes and the pink of her face on the non-existent tickle that had assaulted her throat.
He stared at her curiously for several silent moments before splaying his fingers across the table top, his eyes turned down. When he returned his gaze to hers, the man of nearly forty was gone, but the young man she’d hidden and left in the dark was there, his eyes solomn.
“Marlow, I’m sorry.”
Her iron-clad ways, the stoic woman who cut deals and left others to rot with purposeful percision refused to show her face. She wouldn’t come and play pretend, not while his mask was off, pointer-finger and thumb no longer pinching together as if to cut off her sense of reason.
Marlow touched her brow with chilly fingertips and forced herself to nod. She had no words, not at that present moment.
She didn’t know what to say. Better, neither did he.
A RELUCTANT FIN
*These are my results from Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt July 3rd 2017. Twenty minute time limits cause for a break in the thread. I say that this is a reluctant end because these two truly need closure even after nearly two decades. Thanks for reading along.
~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!