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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is an anti-love story.

Submitted: August 12, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: August 12, 2013



The Remnants of a Love Lost in New York

She savoured every step, every breathe a new, fresh experience to be relished. There was a deliberation about her strong, confident stride, yet hesitation dogged her already pre-occupied mind. It was no longer a question of whether or not he’d be there, waiting for her in the usual space beside the pretzel stand, but whether she was willing to meet him there anymore. Four months ago there would have been no question. She would have lurched over in her stupidly high, flirtatiously sexual heels and provocatively short skirt and pounced on him the way she’d pounced on the phone whenever he’d promised to ring.

Whether it was the crisp Manhattan air or the half bottle of Merlot she couldn’t be sure, but the sudden realisation hit her like a thunderbolt: She didn’t, and couldn’t love him.  He wasn’t hers. At first the prospect had thrilled her, pumped her body with that tantalising yet irrational hormone that is adrenaline. It was exhilarating. Then the realisation had struck her, just moments ago, and it seemed to strike her dumb. It was like a physical pain, a scalding sensation which trickled down her throat and forming a ball in her stomach like some malicious syrup. It calmed her somewhat to see that she had a little over half a mile to cover before she reached their pretzel stand rendezvous.

The order, the almost grid referenced ease with which one could locate something, was what had drawn her to New York in the first place. A young life marred by chaos, it was no wonder she had sought her refuge in one of the most organised cities in the world. The place where you could tell which direction to go in by the myriad of street signs and where even strangers to the city knew their way with the ease of a local.

She continued up the street, aware that her steps le her ever closer to her fate. She saw it now, the clumsy, somehow erotic fumbling, the paranoia over the door lock, the insistence that she never wore perfume. He always checked the room frantically afterwards for any remnants of their actions only a few minutes previously while she would lie in his bed, the bed which she now knew he shared with not only herself and his wife, but also numerous other women, some for a fee. At the thought of this, the memories which played through her head of that evening only four nights previously, when he had informed her that she wasn’t his sole lover. Her whole body had seemed to convulse into an involuntary spasm of disgust. The remnants of their relationship were shattered, cheap plastic shards that lay scattered on the floor of her apartment as he stormed out at the sight of her tears. Her next action had been pathetic. Running out into the hall after him, holding him to her, telling him it didn’t matter, that she didn’t mind. How could she have concealed the surprise, the horror, the sensation as her mind ferreted about in her imagination for some small shred of comfort to hold back the barrage of self-loathing? It had been all she could do as she stood in his arms that day to stop the shiver of sheer despair at her own depravity.

2 more streets. Two more corners to turn, then she would be there. It seemed to have passed so quickly. She wanted to turn back, run back to her one bedroom apartment on 12 avenue, above the pizzeria, curl up on the sofa with a pillow in her arms and watch the pilots of various cheap comedy shows on TV. She said the words over and over in her head, imploringly, her conscience pleading with her body. ‘Turn back, turn back now!’ Still she moved forwards. Her heart ached with the exhilarating forward momentum as she continued down the street. It was not just the dull, pulsating pain that comes from the death of a family member but the hot, pounding hurt that is created alongside the realisation that the thoughts in your head cease to make sense, when you realise that the loss of the familiarity will not create the blot you always imagined, but a gaping void. A void she now fell into daily and the constant strain of hauling herself out and back into the reality she loathed seemed to sap the strength from her bones. Her mind flashed back to a news item she had seen on CNN recently about abused wives returning to their husband, just to avoid the solitude. The sheer irreverence of it made her wince. A young Chinese waitress wiping tables outside a café glanced up at her so she pulled her scarf up over her face and quickened her step.

She was alarmed and deeply saddened when she finally reached her destination. Some small but reasonably significant part of her longed to keep walking, to carry on and on and never stop. Another yearned for him, for his touch, his embrace. But it was a part of her that desperately sought solace in the thought that she could go home that shouted the loudest, the sound pounding in her ears. She stood on the corner, bu the small rundown bookstore and observed him in solemn silence. He assume she had taken a cab as usual so was staring the other way, his back turned towards the taxi rank and away from her. To those who did not know him intimately he looked nervous, fiddling with the base of his tie and taking quick, snatching looks at his watch every few seconds. But she knew what it really was. Irritation. He held the power and the control. Women did his bidding and he did not wait for them. They followed his instructions. To deviate was to disobey. She had never done this before. Until now.

A car pulled up to the curb where she stood, maintaining her silent vigil.

‘Hey Baby, we weren’t expecting to see you this side-a town’  called the high pitched gaw of Tiffany, an ‘it-girl’ graduate from the office, the kind of woman who wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a celebrity magazine, with her perfect hair, white teeth and killer heels, but who could never quite get her A4 folder into her Armani clutch. Beside her sat Sofia and Jade. Sofia was one of few who knew of her plight. Jade would probably have been brilliant at giving advice, what with her own limitless experience in extra marital affairs, but she couldn’t keep her mouth shut unless gaffer tape were involved.

‘We’re headed back to my place in Queens if you wanna come?’ called the ever oblivious Tiffany. The decision made an almost tangible chasm in the street. The car or the pretzel stand? One side or the other. The thrill would now become mundane, a monotonous rule breaking that was as ceremonial as it was emotional. That’s what she told herself as she slid silently into the car, her heart melting but somehow remaining intact as she watched him disappearing. Or was she who disappeared as the car rounded the corner and continued up the street towards the freeway?

The nausea began to abate as they picked up speed. The universe hadn’t shattered and the earth wouldn’t stop, the dramas that were significant to two individuals were nothing to the rest of the world. It was over.


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