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Death by inches

12 Jan

Monday
I walked up to her. “Hey. How are you?”
She said, “I’m fine.”
I looked at her. “Still in love with a married man?”
She smiled and corrected me, “No. Still having an affair with a married man.”
I smiled back and teased, “In the olden days, you’d have been pelted with stones.”
She looked at me. A beat later, she said “And tomatoes too.”
Our giggles made other people look up from their books.

Tuesday
I sat down next to her. “Hey. What’s up?”
She said, “I’m fine. Still having an affair with a married man.”
I smiled. “Stones and tomatoes and potatoes.”
She looked at me. A beat later, she smiled, “Mmmmm, soup.”
Our laughter made the Dean come out to shush us.

Wednesday
She sat down and sighed. “We’re fighting. He won’t commit to me.”
I looked at her, unsure of what to say. “Um.”
She looked at me. “You must be so happy.”
I stared at her. “No, I’m not. Why would you say that?”
She looked at me, her mouth a grimace. “Because you’ve been judging me since this began.”
“No, I haven’t. I just don’t know how to react. I don’t think its right. But I would never judge you.”
She walked away, even before I’d finished.

Friday
I heard a cough. I turned.
She stood there. Slightly unsure. “Hi.”
I sat up. “Hi.”
She gestured. “May I join you?”
I picked up some books and put them to the side. “Yeah, of course. Please.”
She sat. “How’ve you been?”
I said “Good. Not bad. You?”
She said, “I’m good. We’re getting married. As soon as he divorces his wife.”
I struggled to keep my face expressionless. “Oh okay. Congratulations..?”
It was the first time I hadn’t known whether to say it as a statement or a question.
She smiled, “Thank you. I’ll catch you later.”

Saturday
We ran into each other in the corridor. “Hey!” “Hi!”
She clutched my hand. “Want to go and get some soup later?”
I looked at her, puzzled. “Soup?”
She smiled. “You know. Stones and tomatoes and potatoes.”
She laughed. I smiled back. I couldn’t laugh. I was almost afraid to laugh.

Sunday
I walked up to her. “Hey. How are you?”
She snarled, “I’m fine.”
I almost backed away. “Okay…um.”
She looked up at me. “Come here to judge me? You must have heard. He dumped me.”
I looked at her. My hand wanted to jump up and slam the table. “I hadn’t heard. I’m sorry, I know this must upset you.”
She rose with a loud screech of her chair. “Don’t presume to know how I’m feeling! I’m NOT upset. Speak for yourself.”
Our voices made everyone else stare at us.

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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Fiction

 

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