I Never Said I Love You
Gerlen had to delay answering the door. He’d just arrived from work, slouched on the couch too hard for him to crawl away from. He moseyed to the door and looked through the spy hole. There she was, hair mussed, eyes wandering sideways and down the hallway.
“What does she want?” he asked. He unlocked the door anyway, but made sure his face expressed disdain upon seeing her. The door opened as wide as the door chain permitted. His face appeared through the gap, with no smile or casual welcome. “What do you want?”
“We need to talk.”
He lingered for a moment, staring at her, and closed the door afterwards, opening wide after he unlatched the chain. He informed her she wasn’t going to stay long and grabbed a glass of whiskey before standing opposite to her.
Lolita looked like she’d been through a brawl. Her face was down, hair all over the place and clothes like they’d been hastily thrown together. Gerlen didn’t know what to make of her. He hadn’t seen her in three months, and didn’t want to know what she’d been up to all this time.
He imagined that’s why she was here, so he probed her. “So, you’re inside. What is it that you want?”
“Nice to meet you too, Gerlen. I’ve been doing great, thank you.”
“What…” He scoffs. “You don’t ‘nice to meet you Gerlen.’ The last time I saw you you slammed that door in my face.” His face was visibly glowing red, and said so while pointing towards the door. It was a tense night the day she left, he never thought he’d see her walk through that door again.
Gerlen had met Lolita a couple months after he’d graduated from college. He served as barista at the time, before he got a job that’d match his degree. He’d planned on surviving on tips for a time until he got a decent job to pay for rent. The first few days on the job, he met this girl that caught his eye and she changed his world from then on.
Lolita worked at the coffee shop with the same intention of waiting on a better job. Like, Gerlen she was underemployed. They banded together as the underated duo and they found a place to stay in a decent apartment--which they both paid for.
“I doesn’t matter what happened in the past. You treat people with respect, Gerlen.”
“Respect? How ‘bout finding out your girlfriend was cheating on you for three months behind your back. Not to mention you planned on proposing to her that same week!”
“You’re really going to go there? Gerlen, I’ve only been here for two minutes and you’re already grilling me for something we resolved a long time ago. That wasn’t three months, by the way, that was one!”
His hand was shaking. He didn’t know if he could let her continue, or chuck her out so he could put an end to this. Just like that.
Finding out about the affair had crushed him. His plans for them were shattered, more so since he had finally gotten a job at a decent firm. The job had bought them the apartment they were standing in and Gerlen always pictured them inside it.
When he got the job at the firm, Gerlen had already confessed his love for her. He’d promised her they would stay together in a nice apartment, a decent place to bring friends over and not feel ashamed. It didn’t occur to him how much she’d valued their relationship. Every time he’d said I love you, she replied with “same.”
He could’ve gotten the cue then.
“I don’t have much time to argue with you. It was a pretty rough day at work today. Whatever it is you’re going to say, you gotta say it quick.”
Lolita rubbed the back of her neck, looked across the room averting his gaze. Gerlen was growing tired of seeing her. He didn’t want to wait long. “I’m pregnant, and it’s likely I’m carrying your child.”
“No.” He ran out of words to say. Senseless rebuttal was the only thing that came to mind. “That’s ugh, congratulations. I’m sure Greg is pretty happy for you.”
She shook her head fervently. “No, you don’t understand, Gerlen. This is your baby, not Greg’s. It’s your baby, okay? I’m sure it’s not Greg. We were using protection at the time.”
“How do you expect me to believe that. You were sleeping around behind my back the whole time, how the h-” She interrupted him before he could finish off. The air was growing thicker. The walls were closing in.
“There’s not a day I ever said I love you, Gerlen, but I did. I was struggling at the time and I walked into this relationship hoping something could come out of it, but you kept on going about these false fantasies of living up to your father’s expectations. All these… excuses.”
He couldn’t take it any more. He crushed the glass of whiskey against the wall and spun away from her. He landed on the settee and fell silent. Lolita calmly took a seat next to him and didn’t say a word for a couple minutes.
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