“What the hell is your problem?” I shrieked. “It’s only till ten thirty, and it’s just my writing group!”
“I don’t want you there.” The words grated in the air, bearing an unrelenting, uncompromising tone of slow-boiling fury.
“I have a life aside from you, damn it!”
When had things become this way again? Where was my best friend, my confidante, my beloved ‘writer guy?’ That day, when we first met literally in the back end of nowhere, had those sparks only been leading to this? How had–
Ugh, let me start again.
She sat in an old, abandoned building, nearly derelict, with the plaster peeling off and water dripping in from a hole in the ceiling. Pitter, patter, drop. The rain outside broke on the wet pavement, the dull, lugubrious sound fitting her situation in every possible way. The shimmering mist from the water streamed in from the creaking door, twisting sinuously in the moonless night. The oppressive humidity aggravated her purple face, her swollen lips, her black eye. Yet the cool mist alleviated the pain, making it somewhat bearable.
The first time they’d come across each other was during a Writer’s Group meet in this very building, sponsored by an obscure publishing firm on the verge of bankruptcy. Why did that seem so ominously fitting?
There had been something between them. A spark, a connection. His black, black eyes had seemed so alluring, so compassionate, so… like her own.
“So all you do is write?” I asked, eyebrow arched in mock imperiousness at his self-professed passion.
“Uh…” he began awkwardly, “I mean, I read and play a few video gam–”
“Yeah, doesn’t count,” I cut in impishly. “You’re Writer Guy from now on, ‘kay?” I giggled. I hadn’t had such a good laugh in ages.
“Seems so,” he chuckled, smiling. “I’ll have to think of something even worse for you… just any old moniker doesn’t seem close to enough!” I was positively beaming, gazing into the pools of warmth that passed for his optic organs, somehow managing to avoid cringing at how he spoke like a grandfather.
Her vision blurred slightly, the ground doubling itself. Her eyes glimmered in the lightless gloom, and the lone tear wet the crusted blood on her cheek, setting off a single stream with a grieving red droplet at its head.
“S-so! Writer Guy,” I began overenthusiastically, blanching slightly despite myself. “Let’s go out for a romantic dinner, shall we? S’been so long!”
“No.” He held my hand in a too-hard grip, warming me even whilst bruising my hand. “I’m going out with a friend.”
“A friend?” I asked softly, my voice quavering. “Is that what you call girls nowadays?”
I doubled over in pain, my ears ringing, the afterimage of a hand streaking to my cheek hanging disbelievingly in my eyes. “Wh-what the– how–”
“Just go inside, bitch!” He yelled. Did he just hit me? Did he just call me bitch? Me? The girl he had been dating for five years? What happened to that nickname he never got around to finding for me?
That had happened over a year ago. Over that year, it only got worse. She started to keep a knife with her at all times, for deterrence and self-protection. Somehow, she’d managed to weather it all. Until today.
I gazed silently into his eyes, searching for what I had hoped to find, ignoring the high heels that lay abandoned in a corner of the room. They weren’t mine.
He looked back with an almost callous stare. I was struck by realization.
Smiling in release, with tears of understanding in my eyes, I stood on my tip toes and kissed him. “I loved you, Writer Guy,” I sighed, turning to leave.
She had almost moved on. Almost.
Returning from her reverie, she stood up, the drop of blood and salt mixing with the puddle of water on the ground, leaving the puddle twisted, contorted, tainted. She had come here, to where they had first met, for a final reckoning with all those years’ worth of feelings.
She had almost let go. Almost.
And here, a place that pretty much no one ever came to anymore, she’d found him.
She stood in silence, pain in her eyes, mad grief and mourning ringing in her mind. “No. This wasn’t my Writer Guy. This wasn’t the man I fell in love with.”
She walked out the door, slamming it with her heel, turning her back on the man who lay inside, sleeping forever with another woman in his arms. Her knife adorned both their bodies.
Almost was not enough.