Written by M. Taggart 8/3/14
Fiction: This short story is much about the confusion that comes along with any relationship.
Copyright 2014 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart
The Way It Is
He could feel her staring at him. He rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger. Unsure of what she expected from him, he lowered his head further.
“We can’t expect this to continue if you aren’t willing to handle it.” She said.
“I’ve handled it. I handled it years ago,” he replied.
“I don’t know that I’d agree you’ve handled it.” She said.
“I have. In my opinion, it’s you making this an issue, all over again and I’m not going backward.” He noticed the wood floor seemed to be bowing into him.
They were sitting at a pub. The pub was in town and was nearly empty. It had a fireplace and hard wood floors. On both sides of the fireplace were windows and the water was after that.
She sat, looking from him, then to the water. The fire was nice, but it wasn’t giving away secrets today. The water looked cold, she felt cold.
It was pulling him inward, again, as always when this was the topic of concern. Then, he thought, what about tomorrow at this time? Will there be a different topic of concern? One that fits the moment, or one that fits the convenience of an angle? Pulling him further in, it was.
“You’re doing it again. You do this every time. Shutting down isn’t going to help you. It’s not going to help you grow and it’s not going to help us.” She said with an edge of frustration.
He wondered how she could know whether, or not, it would stop him from personal growth when he’d already grown from this and had already gotten passed it. He felt it was her who was stuck and couldn’t get past it. It was her who was beating on him, for something that had already beaten him down. She was stuck and now taking it out on him. And the floor looked even larger and softer than a few moments ago.
“I think it’ll be fine. We’ll be fine. If we both want this to be fine. What was, is not, what is. We’ll be fine if we both want this to be fine and we’ll be done if we both want this to be done. Or, if you want to be done. I don’t want to be done. There’s three scenarios there, for you, to ponder. I think we’re fine.”
“Look at us, how are we fine? I can’t trust you and you have such anger inside that you don’t see it. You destroy everything around you, in time. And you’ll destroy us.” She said.
“That’s helpful. Thanks.” The floor no longer looked as interesting as it did. Looking up he saw nothing but her face. How beautiful she was. How upset. How angry. He saw her eyes, strong, and pushing. She was rather pushy, he thought.
“What are you smiling about? This isn’t funny.” She said, annoyed.
“You’re pushy.” He said with smiling eyes.
She shifted in her seat, breathed deeply and rolled her eyes. The smack of her hands landing on the pub table was louder than expected. The bartender pretended not to notice.
“Don’t make me angry.” She said.
“Oh please. Go ahead, get angry. That won’t help us to grow.” Again he smiled with his eyes. He noticed his glass of beer was nearing empty, though just a moment ago it was half full. The side of the beer glass had small clusters of foam slowly moving toward the bottom of the glass and he wanted to see how long it might take for them to collect; together again.
“Stop it.” She said.
“Stop what? You weren’t exactly the easiest to be around today, and now you’re pushing me and want something I can’t give you. Now, that it’s not going your way, you’re telling me to not make you angry. Am I missing something? Should I not have an opinion?”
“You’re twisting this all around. I only wanted to talk about how to get us past this, and you won’t do it.”
“It’s not that I won’t do it, it’s that I’ve already done it. Long ago, without you. You’re playing catch up and I’m doing the best I can. What do you want me to do?”
“I want you to get help. See someone.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“I did. It didn’t go well. I’ve found that true professionals, don’t exist. Individuals exist.”
She felt her frustration, anger, and disappointment rise and wanted to be away from him. She thought, if he wasn’t to get help, they’ll never get past any trust issue.
The bar tender watched the couple as they talked. She was loud enough to hear, he wasn’t. He noticed that the man was almost overly aware of other people watching and knew how to shield his words from being overheard. The women was beautiful. She was quick with her movement and spoke in a determined way. He thought they seemed O.K. But not a great fit.
“Are we going to have another round?” He ask while she flared her eyes angrily. “The bartender’s coming.” She didn’t answer.
The bartender was handsome. He strode toward them with a steady, calming walk. Already smiling as he made his approach, his attention was on her.
“Would you like another round?” The bartender asked, noticing the women’s low cut shirt and viewing. Looking up he saw the man awaiting him. He saw.
“Yea, we’ll have another round.” She answered smiling brightly at the bartender. A smile that hadn’t been shared with anyone, like that, until now.
With a straight face he didn’t take his eyes from the bartender until the bartender looked away. He wanted him to know, and he did. But, he wondered, did she? Did she know? Does she care? Is it what she wants? And what happens, when one day, it goes too far and I say something, or worse, do something. Then will it be me that’s solely out of control, or will it be a shared responsibility?
“What are you doing?” She asked, now looking at him, but with not the bright smile she offered the bartender.
“About what?” She asked, again with the pushing eyes.
“About life, about how things fit, about how people fit. About future happenings and will you remember.”
“Remember all that’s happened to lead to the moment that is.”
“You’re doing it again, Stephen, honestly, what are you talking about?”
No longer sitting within himself, feeling alone, but with intent in the here and now he looked at her and replied “It doesn’t matter. I don’t always make sense to myself. So put that aside. I do know this. At the end of each day I ask myself, do I want to be with her. Yes. Every day the same answer and every morning the same answer and every mid-day the same answer. I know I have issues, but I always know what I want. I want you.”
She breathed in quickly.
“Please don’t cry, hon. You cry in public too often.” He said smiling, but this time with care.
“It’s better than me walking out. Or you walking home. Which also happens.” She reached her hand to his, covering his.
He moved his hand to cover hers and gripped firmly.
The bartender noticed from a distance and thought it didn’t matter. They were getting along well now, but there would be a chance later.
Note: If you enjoyed this story, you might also like my self published story, Don’t Be A Sally- Based on True Events- Which you can find on amazon and in your iBook store.