3 people and the summing up of a relationship.
“When you talk, it’s like you’re throwing pillows and fluffy things at each other, but once in a while there’s something pointy mixed in, and he isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.”
I wasn’t sure why those words made me think of coffee burns on the tongue and rainy wedding days. Neither the coffee nor the rain could change what they were.
“Can you just leave it alone? I’m fine,” he mumbled, and I could hear the bruises in his voice, and I wondered why I could feel them, too, just under the ribs.
But she could never leave things.
“You,” she said to me, “need to let him go.” Her words coiled around me like the cord of a ninety’s telephone. “I don’t know if you understand what you do,” she said, “but, just… why?”
I was never good at reasons. “I love him,” I said, which wasn’t one.
“See?” he said, “It’s fine.”
She was trembling. “Fine is not good,” she said, “not good enough. You should want better than fine for the person you love. I do.”
There was something broken about her eyes, prodding my conscience like someone poking a possum with a stick. My guilt was terrible at playing dead.
“He says he’s fine. You should believe him,” I said, even though I didn’t. But there was an emptiness in the back of my mind, a black hole where the thought of losing him should have been, and all of my reasons and excuses were being pulled into nonexistence. Soon there was nothing left.
“Is happiness even real?” I asked.
There was no answer.