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Fiction: It Was Mutual (99 words)

I guess this is goodbye. I know—neither of us wanted it to end this way. If we could somehow make it perfect, I know we would—but it’s not fair of either of us to conform to the other ideals of perfection, now is it?  No, we have to admit that we are simply not right for each other.

So—No hard feelings, right? We will have good memories of each other and look back on our relationship fondly, but if any kind of luck is on our side, we will never have to see each other again.

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2017 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Goodbye (356 words)

The most heartbreaking words I have ever heard were “I don’t understand Momma. Did I do something wrong?”

I tried to smile as I brushed the curls away from his face.  “Oh no, Angel.  You’ve been very good.  That’s why you get to go on an adventure with Aunt Nancy.  She’ll take good care of you.”

There were tears in little Henry’s eyes–and I tried so hard to show him a brave face.  He stomped his foot in temper, and I bit down my usual scolding about keeping his temper in check.  I didn’t want his last memory of me, my last words to him, to be a scolding.  “I don’t want to go with Aunt Nancy. I want to stay here with you and Dad.”

“You can’t, Henry. You have to go.”

“Why?”

“Because you didn’t do anything wrong, but Dad and I did.  So, Dad and I are grounded while you go on a lovely adventure.  Be good for your Aunt Nancy, yeah?  And try to have fun for all three of us, okay?”

Henry blinked hard, and two tears rolled down his cheeks.  “Okay.  Momma. If you say so.”

“I do, Henry.”  I pulled him in for one last hug.  I was almost tempted to never let him go—but I knew we were doing what was right, the best thing for him.  I kissed him on the forehead.  “Goodbye, Henry Love.”

“Bye, Momma Love.”  My sister picked him up and set him on her hip, and they left out the back door.

When Peter came home, I was still kneeling where I’d hugged him, almost afraid to stand up and face the house without my son. He kneeled beside me, curling an arm around my shoulders and pulling me tight to his side.  “We might see him again, Liza.  Maybe it wasn’t goodbye forever.”

I managed to pull myself to my feet, straightening Peter’s tie as he stood as well.  I offered him my best brave smile and was more successful than when I had tried for Henry. “I hope it was forever.  For Henry’s sake, I hope we never see him again.”

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Stories

 

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Fiction: Breakups (718 words)

She had to make a joke.  Cracking a joke was going to be the only way she was going make it through this without crying–and she really didn’t want to cry in front of him.  “James Douglas, are you fixing to break my heart?”

He smiled at her in spite of the fact that he was starting to tear up.  “Oh, Lillian Marie, I don’t want to.  Do you believe that? I’d hate to break your heart.”

“I believe you.”  She answered earnestly, before trying her hardest to appear flippant.   “That’s the problem with these parental set-ups, isn’t it? They are good when convenient, but really unfortunate when they start to fall apart. But, you love her, I can see it on your face, anyone could see it on your face, and I’d never forgive myself if you stayed out of some silly desire to not hurt me. I will heal, you know?”

“No, I do. You’re one of the strongest people I know.  And I did love you, Lil, I still do–”

“But it’s not the same, James. I know.  You thought it might be real love until she showed up and you saw what it was actually like to be in that kind of love. You hope that I can understand that and someday I find the kind of love that you’ve found with Rebecca.”  James looked at her, startled, and Lillian took some pleasure in putting him off his guard in spite of herself.  “I heard you practicing in the mirror this morning.  I’ve known it was coming all day.”

“Oh, Lil, I’m so sorry. I never meant–”

“No, James, it’s okay. Really.  It’s better this way.  I got to spend my last day with you knowing it was my last day with you and got to appreciate it for all it was.  And, thank you, for not doing it while my brother was here.  That would have been too much.”

“Yeah.  If you want to wait a few days before telling your family, I’m cool with that.  They don’t need to think any of this was Peter’s fault.  I mean, not for his lack of trying.”

Lillian laughed in earnest at that.  “True, we don’t need to add this to his ego.  Because Misery does love company, and if Peter is anything it’s miserable.”

James nodded again with a hint of a smile, before adopting a bit more of a to business look on his face.  “What do you want, Lillian?  Do you want me to go?  If you want, I can leave you my car and get a taxi home?  I mean–it’s only fair, I’m the one being the dick here.”

“No, James. You take your car so I don’t have to worry about the logistics of getting it back to you. A guy owes me a favor at the car company, so I’ll get him to come to pick me up tomorrow.  And then–we’ll just steer clear of each other for a little while, okay?  I’ll see you at my parents retreat at the camp in a couple of months, yeah?”

“You sure? I mean, I’d understand if you wanted me to stop–”

“James, no. You and your parents have been coming to those stupid things my parents throw our entire lives.  We were friends once and I’m sure we can be just friends again. All right? I just need a couple of months.”

James watched Lillian for a moment, weighing whether or not she was in earnest or just being polite for her parent’s sake.  “Yeah.  Yeah okay.”  James gathered his things, and Lillian managed to hold herself together as he did so.  When he set his bag by the door, he leaned in to give her one last kiss.  “I really am sorry about all this.  I didn’t want to hurt you.”

“I know.”

“Okay–So. I guess I’ll see you in a couple of months.”

“Yeah.  See you then.”  He grabbed his bag and turned to leave but, “Hey James?”

He turned back to face her for a moment, not turning all the way, one foot still out the door.  Well, there’s a metaphor for you.  “It’s okay, you know, if you want to bring Rebecca to my parents’ retreat.  That’d be okay.”

James nodded and gave her one last smile.  “We’ll see.”

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in Stories

 

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