A Dinner Amongst Lovers
“I don’t know what I want, but I know in the back of my mind it’s not this. It’s not you.”
It took all the energy he had to keep his grip on his fork as the words came tumbling from her mouth. He took his time to slowly breathe in, and without exhaling, his eyes rose to meet hers. His lungs deflated as he saw the look on her face. Her jaw was set, her brows were furrowed, and her eyes were the dead giveaway. They were misting; the way they did when they would take trips to the SPCA and she would go gooey over the homeless dogs. She was pitying him.
“So, what? You just don’t love me anymore?” he replied as he calmly laid his fork down. “Just like that?”
“It’s not like that,” she said slowly as she clasped her hands together and set them in her lap. “I care for you. I still do.”
“And all this time was just a lie,” he said as his eyes wandered from her face, to the table, to his plate of parmesan alfredo. He took his time inspecting the tiny green specks atop the creamy white sauce his noodles were bathing in.
“No,” she breathed out. His eyes flicked up to her at the sound of her voice. She sounded practically downtrodden, as if the weight of their troubles were upon her dainty shoulders.
“Then what is happening? What are you saying?” he asked leaning closer towards her, his tie inching its way towards his dish of pasta.
“I loved you, a lot. I still do. Something’s just different.” Her small bob of a haircut danced back and forth like a hula skirt as she shook her head.
“What’s different then?” His tie inched closer.
“I don’t know,” she said as she grabbed for her napkin. His eyes darted to her hands and watched as she began twisting her napkin, intertwining it between her fingers.
“How do you not know? How do you just wake up the next morning and not feel the way you did the day before? A thing like this doesn’t just happen instantaneously. You don’t just fall in love blindly and call it quits without any warning. You can’t do that. There was no warning. I deserved a warning. Where was my warning?” His palmed slapped the table causing her to shoot back in her chair. Both their wine glasses vibrated creating tiny, pink ripples inside their glasses. His tie was lying flat in his plate. He could feel every eye in the room bearing down on him. For every second of silence that passed between them another bead of sweat slowly dripped from his brow.
“Life isn’t that easy. Love isn’t that easy,” she finally spoke.
“Oh, that’s a bullshit answer and you know it,” he shot back at her. His voice was more hushed this time. He looked around hesitantly as the other patrons began turning their attention back to their eggplant ravioli and Chicken Furtado.
“I don’t have an answer for you!” she said gritting her teeth.
“Just tell me it was all a lie then. That’s all I want from you. Just give me the truth. Don’t bullshit me. Give me better credit than just being the warm body invading your bed every night,” he said as he threw his napkin onto the table.
“That’s not how I see you. You know it wasn’t like that at all.” She tried to reach across the table to dab at his tie with her napkin, but he slid his chair away from her almost causing a waiter walking by to spill the house salad into his lap.
“Then tell me damn it! What was it? What were we?” He searched her eyes, trying to find just a hint, a hint of hesitation. A simple quiver of her lower lip would have done nicely.
“You’re just not what I want!” Her voice was beginning to rise, but she fought off the urge to scream it at him. “Fuck, I just don’t know how else to explain.”
“Well that sucks,” he said as he stood up from the table. He undid his tie and dropped in on the ground, “because you were everything that I did want.”
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