He looked at her across the table.
“So why did you suggest coffee?”
They’d met an half hour previously at the tube & he’d sensed something was wrong. Walking up to each other to say hello, he’d leant in for a passionate kiss, all he received in response was a half peck on the lips, an accident on her part, aiming for the cheek.
“Ah, here we go.” He’d thought to himself.
They’d left the station & walked into the blistering sunshine. Jeans had seemed a mistake at the time & she struggled too, her red, curled locks, bundled back into a bun, trousers & green blouse resting on her tired & hungover frame.
The coffee shop she’d suggested, it sat on a quiet side street, practically invisible, between two taxi hire firms.
It was a beautiful French cafe, white walled outside & in, filled with a small black panelled kitchen & numerous oak benches & tables. It was a noticeable independent firm & he loved it at first sight.
They’d walked in & been invited to take a seat. Now, medium sized latte in hand, he looked across at her, expecting the worst.
She sat there, awkwardly chewing the edge of the cup, dreading the conversation she was initiating.
“I hate having these conversations, but I needed to talk to you…”
He sighed, actually relieved. His fears confirmed, the blind panic he’d previously been feeling, it drained away. Instead, a submissive acceptance began to set in.
“Sometimes not knowing is worse than hearing the worst,” He thought to himself.
“I had a feeling this was coming.” He said, placing his thin cup back on the saucer.
She looked at him, there was a sadness in her eyes, but he knew it all too well. It was the same sadness felt by most truly kind people. It cannot be hidden. This was a girl who had faced a truth & was not sad for herself, but embracing a different kind of sadness. A guilt for hurting someone she felt didn’t deserve it.
She held the cup up, masking her face, rescinding back into herself.
“I was sat at home the other night.” She continued.
“I was tired & unable to sleep. Going through my mind, I thought of exboyfriends & how I’d kept it going despite knowing something wasn’t right. I just sort of knew that this was something similar.”
She paused & looked at him. He had accepted this fate already & was smiling back at her softly. He knew that this was coming, he felt calm & almost zen like in emotion. He nodded at her to continue.
“I just didn’t want to drag this out & hurt you further down the line.”
He continued to nod, understanding & sympathetic. He knew this conversation was as difficult for her as it was for him. He’d decided to be strong & accepting. After all, life can be like this sometimes.
He looked at her across the table & smiled softly. She lowered the cup, placing it on the table. He knew this was the end of their relationship in this way, but he didn’t expect this to be the last time he saw her. He suddenly grinned at her.
“At least this means I don’t need to be nice to you anymore.”
A faint laugh. A faint smile. He knew how to relax her, he always had. He would just continue to plod through life. He would make her laugh, he would make her smile, he just wouldn’t be able to see her naked anymore. In the grand scheme of life, the former two would always easily outweighed the latter.