Breakups are always a source of inspiration for writers. This one happened quite a few years ago, but I’ve never written it from *his* perspective!
He drummed his fingers tips on the table. Nerves were getting the best of him. Outside, rain fell in sheets, impenetrable like the night that was closing in around the cafè. He pulled his jacket close around his chest, and shivered.
The waitress bounced over to him, smiling her best I Know It’s Miserable Out But I’ll Do My Best To Cheer You Up smile. Ordinarily, he would have noticed her perky prettiness, but tonight he had other things on his mind.
‘What can I get you?’ she asked.
‘Just a cappuccino,’ he said.
‘Sure thing. I’ll leave the menu here, just in case.’
He nodded, willing her to disappear.
He knew where this meeting was heading, and he was dreading it. This meeting was an admittance that he had failed. Failed to make her happy, because he was too busy making everyone else happy. He knew tonight would be the end of them. She was tired, bored, defeated by it all. His family had finally won.
He couldn’t see it ending any other way. He now knew how weak he was, which had taken him by surprise. He was always the strong one, always doing for other people. He didn’t like how weakness made him feel – emasculated – and he pushed the feeling down, down, down deep inside. Filed and buried and locked away.
The bouncy waitress returned with his coffee, and he half-smiled his thanks. He stirred in the two sachets of sugar, and licked the froth from his spoon. He thought about what he would say to her, how he would say it. He could see her face collapse as she heard his words, her eyes pooling with tears. Tears stumbling down her cheeks, wishing they hadn’t been shed.
The door swings open, ushering in an icy swirl of rain and cold air. She looks around, sees him, and makes her way over to him. She is unhappy, he can tell. Her shoulders are drooped, her mouth refuses to lift its corners in a smile when she spots him.
She pulls the chair out from under the table. He moves to kiss her. She moves to avoid his kiss and sits down in one fluid movement. It’s almost as if she has been practicing avoidance. She stares at him, challenging him to speak. He cannot. Does not. He wants to say: Babe. We can save this. We can get us back. If you could… I could…! But he cannot. Does not.
He realises, finally, that they’re broken. They cannot be pieced back together, they cannot be repaired. It is done. And his world implodes in slow motion fragments around him.