Fragments of Dialogue

If I write them in a journal, I’ll lose them/forget them.

 

She took a careful sip of her beer, setting it down precisely on the bar coaster and turning it to study the tumbler decal.  “If I permitted myself the luxury of caring about about receiving attention from you when I wanted it,” She said, still studying the image printed on the sweating curve of her glass. “I would have gone Glenn-Close-Boil-Your-Bunny-Atomic quite some time ago.”

He leaned his forearms on the edge of the table, and lacing his fingers together, allowed that this was probably true.  The fact that she had yet to look at him disturbed him, made him feel as if the other shoe was about to drop.  “How are you so calm?” He ventured.

Looking up, she speared him with her gaze, though there was no particular heat in it.  She ran her fingers down the cool, half-full glass of beer, still just looking at him.

“That bothers you, doesn’t it?”  She lowered her lashes without breaking eye contact, her look taking on a distinctly speculative cast.  “I think I want it to bother you.”

His hands starfished out into the air in a helpless gesture.  “But what do you want from me?” The smallest hint of frustration crept into his voice, matching the tiny crease that had formed between his brows.

Laughter sounded somewhere deep in her chest.  “That, sir, is a loaded question, but I’ll go easy on you.” She paused to take another sip of beer and light a cigarette.  At some length she continued. “Because I like you.” She turned her head to watch three pedestrians climbing the steep hill, laughing and talking to each other.

“You like me.”  His words seemed to hover somewhere between a statement of fact and a question.  “You’ve done nothing but torment me for the last seven months, and you like me?”

“Yes.” She nodded firmly, exhaling smoke into the air over her right shoulder. “And because of that, I’m going to continue to be straightforward.”  She laughed again and leaned back, studying him.  “I don’t want anything from you.”

Shaking his head he tucked his chin against his chest, smiling ruefully.  She didn’t follow her last statement up, so he crossed his arms, tucking his fingers between his elbows and the table surface.  “You don’t want anything.”

“You seem to be having a very hard time following this conversation, sir.” She tapped her cigarette against the edge of the glass ashtray, dislodging a lump of fluffy, dead ash.  “That’s exactly what I said.  Lack of expectation is the highest form of self protection.”

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