He called me for the first time in weeks, last Friday. I had stopped counting the days since I had last talked to him, since I had last seen him. Part of me was too tired to. Part of me didn’t care anymore. He begged me to come to the coffee shop downtown. To meet up and talk, he said. To talk about what? How we fell apart, days before I thought he was going to engage? How he said he was sorry? It’s been weeks, I said dumbly. We’re over.
Six months ago, we had stayed up until two in the morning, talking with each other for hours until our eyelids were so heavy, we fell asleep with the phone still in our hands. We told each other everything. What our favorite pizza topping was, our secret scars, the childhood shows we enjoyed watching. It was as if we had talked so much, drank each other’s words so hungrily, that the conversation well had ran dry and there was nothing more to learn, to talk about, except the ‘how was your day?’ talks, and even those died out. I had all this leftover information from him, stored in a corner of my mind. Memories as bitter as the coffee he used to drink to in the morning. Memories that rolled like the thick morning fog. Sometimes they were there, sometimes they weren’t. Sometimes I could see past it. Most of the time, I couldn’t.
Monday morning, and I sat in front of him, hands knotted in my lap. I had skipped work. He sat there, looking out the window, at the barista, at the menu. Anywhere but me. He was drinking a latte, swirling his straw around his drink. I ordered nothing, and instead, watched him drink.
We’re quiet and say nothing. It wasn’t like before when we were comfortable in each other’s presence. Brown eyes, black hair, callouses on those hands, a scar on the left side of his hip. I could recite facts about him until the list stretched a mile long. But it was like being back in high school when kids used to recite all the facts. We could all tick them off one by one by. But in the end, nobody really understood what they were reciting.
I felt nauseous. I wanted to run away and I know he was right, back then, when he yelled at me for always running away.
Drops of milk flick off the bottom of his straw, splattering across the table.
“Please don’t do that,” I say. I stare at the milk drops, white on painted black, tiny little speckles.
“Sorry,” he says, not the least bit sorry. He puts his straw back into his cup. “Sorry,” he repeats, grabbing a napkin.
“Stop it,” I say. He stops, the napkin still clenched in his hand. “You’ll just make it worse.”
He follows my gaze, staring at the drops of milk. “It’s just a small thing.”
“That’s exactly why,” I say, devasted. “It was always just a small thing, wasn’t it?”