“I don’t feel the same anymore.”
The almost wistful pronouncement kneed her guts, even though she knew it was coming long before the moment it floated passed his lips between sips of water. The intution that she had ignored for so long rose up at the assault in flashes of remembrance–how cool his gaze had become, how cursory his kisses, his eagerness to be near her now clear desire to get away from her.
She felt her throat close around the words that sped through her chest on the fluttering of her heart trying to push blood to her brain. The desire to cut him down seared the wounds of her bleeding heart, hardening her her resolve to hurt him. She felt her will to remain in control crumbling, body vibrating with all the insults and objects she could throw at his manhood and his face.
She took a long draw from the cigarette he hated so much. The menthol lit her lungs up as she counted the inhale. One. Two. Three. Four. Five.
She closed her eyes, exhaled slowly in a calm that surprised her. She chided herself for almost losing it. After all, she had demanded this moment of clarity days before, shuffling tarot cards and caressing smooth moonstones in the palm of restless hands. She had seen it over and over again. Three of Swords inverted. Hanged Man. Queen of Wands. Brokenheart. Contemplation. Restoration. The deck did not lie, kept adamantly confirming the truth that she had been deflecting for months. Hos selfishness had grown unruly in the months after she had acquiesced to the abortion. The power in their partnership had shifted. He thought he controlled the outcome now. This was his grand grab at what little power she had left.
She opened her eyes, and looking into his, put the cigarette out.
“I know,” she forced her lips to push the calm words out pass the angry words clammering in her mind.
“I know, and I understand.”
His relaxed congenial posture stiffening into an upright position. She knew why he had brought her to this restaurant. But she would not give in to his expectation, would not give him the satisfaction of thinking himself rational and her out of control. He had begun the breaking but she would snatch the pleasure of how it would end.
“I knew it would come to this.” She picked up the dry martini that clinched her jaw as she took a drink. “I thought we could fix it, but I was wrong. Nothing can fix how I feel right now–at least, nothing that you can do. Of course you don’t feel the same. I am broken in a way that all your engineering expertise could never fix, and I frustrate you.”
As she spoke, she watched his brow furrow. His fist crumpled the pristine cloth napkin and his mouth parted to refute the stinging words.
Before he could respond, she smiled, tears running down her throat as she cut him off mid breath.
“Here comes our waiter,” she almost screamed. “Are you ready to order?”