Fiction: The Waiting Game (875 words)

29 Aug

He went to see her at work.  He didn’t know what he was expecting–maybe that she’d see him again and fall in desperate love again. Maybe that she’d see his face and remember all of the good times, instead of just his last terrible mistake. Maybe that the two of them together in the same room again would cause some sort of magnetic magical pull that would remind them that there were greater forces in play and they were destined to be together.

What he should have expected–what actually happened–was for her to look up, look disdainfully at him, and to cut him off with “I can’t talk to you right now.  I’ve got work to do.”

“You can’t work and talk at the same time?” He asked carefully.

She made a small gesture of annoyance in his direction. “No.”

“Do you get a break today?” He asked.

She let out a puff of air through her nose. She looked at him like she was trying to decide whether or not to lie to him.  “Yes,” she told the truth, “But it won’t be for several hours.”

He stood up a little straighter, “I can wait.” He crossed to the public waiting area, sitting carefully as to not be obtrusive to the business, but so that every time she looked up, she’d see him. He waited, so that even as she tried to work, she’d have to think of him–at least a little.

He’d broken the rules.  He knew that this was all his mistake. He knew that she had every right to spit in his face and call him an ass and demand that he never see her again.  And if she did–most likely when he did, he was going to go.  He was going to go and he was going to hope that she could be happy with her life, and hoping that he could manage to find a way to be happy without her.  He zoned out, flipping pointlessly through a magazine, waiting for his chance to say–anything.

It was several hours later when she came over and stood near his chair. “I’ve got a fifteen minute break.  You can have five of those minutes.” He stood up to speak, but she stopped him. “Let’s go outside first.  People have the tendency to stare when we start to argue.”

He shrugged and tried not to smile. She intended to argue.  That meant she still cared enough to argue. That meant he had a chance.  He followed her around to the side of the building, and waited for her to go first.

“Well, I suppose you’re here to tell me that it was all a misunderstanding.  You’ve got some excuse.”

“No,” he said simply.

She took a step back at that. “No?”

“No.  There was no misunderstanding.  It was a mistake, and I was angry, but that is no excuse.  All I can do is tell you that I’m sorry.  All I can do is tell you I love you.  All I can do is tell you that it will never happen again. All I can do is hope that it will be okay in the end.”

“It will never,” she snapped, “be okay.  What you did will never be okay, and I hope you understand that there are no circumstances where I can ever be ‘okay’ with what happened back there.”

Now he took two steps back. He felt kind of like he’d been punched in the middle of the chest. He’d known she would probably tell him to fuck off, but he hadn’t been entirely prepared for it. “Never?”

“Never,” she repeated.

“Oh, well, okay.”  He took a few more steps away from her, hoping somehow that could help him save some face. He also wanted not to cry in front of her. Not now.

For a second, it looked like she was going to be content to watch him go, but then she put out a hand and told him to wait. “What you did will never be okay. But you and I?  We might be able to be okay again.”  He didn’t dare move in case he broke whatever spell was suddenly turned in his favor. “I’m mad, okay? I am perfectly justified in my anger. You can’t say word one to calm me down. Not yet, anyways. So, I need you to go.  I need you to stay away until I call you.  You have to wait until I’m less angry.”

With a rush of confidence since the tides were turning in his favor, he took half a step towards her again. “And when you call me? We’ll be…” he trailed off, too afraid to make an assumption or to ask a question.

“I don’t know. I honestly don’t know. But one way or another, I will call. I promise I’ll give you an answer–once I have one.”

“That’s fair. That’s perfectly fair.  In fact, it’s so fair to me that I’m pretty sure it might be unfair to you and I am sorry about that too.”

She his name twice, to get him to stop. “Just go.  I’ll call.”

He left without another word, sure that if he stayed a second longer she would change his mind.

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Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Stories


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