Fidgeting. I’d never seen him fidgeting so much in all the time I knew him. He must be really nervous. Hell, he deserves it! He sure made me very nervous over the past few days. Why the hell did he have to say what he did? Why did he ask if I’d like a yellow wedding set or a white wedding set? I’ve been incredibly nervous ever since he said that, waiting for him to call. He never did. Not once in the past three days did he ease my mind. Well it’s his turn to be nervous.
I guess he can’t see me from where I’m sitting. This is where I sat when I first saw him a year ago. I had just finished crying again. Ever since Tony’d left I’d cried nearly every day, and that day was no different. I had gone to the mall during my lunch break with my eyes full of tears when I sat here and started watching people. I always wondered what kind of stories other people have, and when I saw him answer his phone, I wanted to know his story. His eyes lit up when he heard her voice. But then I watched him crumble. He crumbled like a beautiful sandcastle getting hit by a wave. It took her all of four minutes to destroy what he’d worked so hard to build with her. I watched him hang up the phone and sit there, looking at his phone in disbelief. I saw a few tears start to trickle down his face, then he silently collapsed onto the table. In one motion he folded his arms and dropped his head onto them on the table in front of him. I looked away for awhile, but my eyes kept getting pulled back to him. I’d watch for a few minutes until I saw his shoulders tremble just a little. I’d look away, but in only a minute I’d look back and see his shoulders tremble again, harder. After a while, a smaller tremble, then a larger one. For fifteen minutes this happened until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I just had to know what she’d done to cause so much pain.
I got up and walked over to his table. I couldn’t hear anything but really fast and erratic breathing. “Is she sleeping with somebody?” He didn’t respond at all. No new motion, no new breathing pattern, no sign he’d heard me at all. I reached out and grabbed the back of the other chair at his table, pulling it back as loud as I could. The breathing pattern slowed. I remembered how Tony’d hurt me and how nothing registered for awhile. It brought tears back to my eyes. “That’s why he left me. He’s sleeping with another girl.” Finally, a recognizable reaction. The man in front of me looked up, and for once I saw more pain in somebody else’s eyes than I felt in my own heart. I also realized he hadn’t heard a thing I said. “Is she fucking another guy?”
“What?” I didn’t know a person could paint such a dark picture with just a single word.
“I was sitting on the bench and looking at all the happy people, remembering what it was like before he dropped the bomb. He's sleeping with his roommate's sister. I was remembering what it felt like to worry about too much pda. I was remembering what his hair smelled like and what I smelled when I snuggled into his chest. Then as I was watching people, I saw you on your phone. I saw your face light up when you answered, and I saw you crumble as the conversation went on. I watched all the blood drain from your face. I tried not to watch, but when I looked back a few minutes later I saw drops falling from the table and knew what you had just heard.” Through my explanation, I saw the haze brought on by his broken heart clear just enough for him to understand what I’d said.
"No, she's not sleeping with another guy. At least I don't think she is. It's stupid, really. She wants a cat and I want a dog. I love cats. But they don't run over and curl up with you as soon as you get home. Stupid, really." Sure, it’s stupid, but I’ve heard of worse reasons for couples in love deciding not to tough it out.
I remembered the first day Tony’d hurt me that all I wanted was a friend, and I was sure this person would be feeling the same thing soon. "Hi, by the way my name's Christine." If I could be a friend to him, maybe he could be a friend to me and we’d help each other out of the same hole.
- I once got paid to spend the summer telling lies to little kids. I ran a mountain man program at a district Boy Scout camp. I told my guests I was born in my log cabin and I traded for everything I had. Late evenings I shot muzzleloader rifles with campers and then told ghost stories around the fire. Oh, how I wish that would pay enough to be my career instead of just a one-time summer job.