a really short story
|“Well John, I love her,” Steve stated matter-of-factly and john almost jumped from his seat, outraged. He struggled to keep his temper in check. He took a deep breath but his frustration clenched his teeth together. Steve looked at him, confused, as John made the effort to speak.
“Why?” he grumbled.
“Why would you say that, Steve?”
“Well,” he hesitated, “its true.”
“Don’t tell me that, don’t tell me that!” John began to lose control.
“I’m sorry but- ” he began to inch away as he was interrupted.
“No. No, stop that.”
“John I- ”
“How long? How long has it been since the last time?”
“Its different this time,” he protested, “I can feel it. Its different.”
“I am tired of your bullshit!”
An uneasy silence filled the air causing Steve to shift uncomfortably in his plastic seat. He scratched the top of his moist forehead, slightly covering his face. John examined him closely, rubbing the sides of his temple with his fingers. He had yelled, but he new the outburst was little more than the tip of the iceberg and he had to contain himself.
“Hey John, I apologize man, “ John was about to protest but Steve shook his head and raised his arms, “Ho, I should have never brought you into this.”
John scrunched his lips, studied the man sitting across from him, and finally sighed. He closed his eyes and spoke, “Don’t.”
“I just-“ Steve began but was cutoff.
“Its alright. Tell me, I want to know.”
“What do you want to know?”
“I don’t know, just talk to me,” John said, eventually adding, “Like you always do.”
Steve ran his hands up his face and clutched at his hair. He began to speak incoherent fragments, “Its like I- She said- I thought that-. . . I’m confused,” he cried desperately, “What does she want?” He was distraught, confused, and on the verge of tears.
“Don’t cry now, not again”
“I wont; I wont. It-Its hard,” he looked up longingly expecting empathy, “you know?” but was hit with an explosion of frustration that had been building up.
“No, I don’t Steve!” He growled the veins on his neck and forehead throbbing with intensity, “ I don’t ‘know’!”
A chilling silence flooded the room and engulfed them. Steve slumped self-consciously into his seat and John leaned on the table in front of him. His nostrils flaring, he punched the table and ignoring the pain released, “Damn it.” It was not directed at anyone in particular except maybe at himself. He slowly relinquished to the chair below him grasping at the armchairs as if to keep from collapsing. His chin lay on his chest and he did not bother looking up as he groaned.
“Eh. What I meant to say was that I don’t understand.” He waited to see if Steve had gotten the hint but he pushed again. “Explain it to me,” he pleaded as he laid a supportive hand on Steve’s shoulder. He looked at him encouragingly and finally Steve nodded and spoke.
“I don’t understand her. I love her man, I love her, but I don’t get her.”
“Tell me more, give me examples.”
“She’ll say something and I’ll think that I understand it but instead I’ll be totally off. I mess everything up. Then she tells me that she meant the complete opposite. I’m confused. Do you know what I mean?”
The words resounded in john’s mind and they hurt him. He knew what Steve meant. He was very familiar with such experiences and the words poked at old wounds. It hurt him more than he dared let on, “Yeah man, I know.”
“Around her I feel so good, life is worth living and I care about her, like you wouldn’t imagine. At the same time I fell confused, bewildered, and blinded; like I’m wandering an unexplored road, blindfolded.”
“Well I think it’d be better,” John braced himself, “if you start from the beginning.”
“Okay,” Steve affirmed. “it all started when we looked into each other’s eyes and she said ‘good morning sir, how may I help you? From that moment- ” John rolled his eyes throwing his arms in despair, “I knew we were soulmates!”