Fragments of Dialogue IV: The Hard Cost of Comfort

“You know,” She stared meditatively into the depths of her coffee mug for a moment. “Knowing you makes my heart hurt a little.” She looked up and met his eyes.

Still thinking she was being playful, he leaned his elbows on the counter and looked up at her. “Oh, yeah? Why’s that?” He asked, a smile playing with the edge of his inquiry.

She didn’t change the serious look of puzzlement, though. Continuing to wear an expression of quizzical dismay, she paused, her silence a clear search for the right words.

Setting her mug down in front of her, she said, “Because I keep waiting for you to do something that warrants how awesome everyone tells me you are, and I just don’t think you’re ever going to.”

She looked down, her brows still drawn together. The laughter that had lent a playful air to his face had slunk off to die somewhere else, but he didn’t say anything. Not only did he get the impression that there was more, but he didn’t know what to say. He was actually hurt. He waited.

Looking back at him she sighed, “I have the feeling that you could be so important for me and vice versa–” She broke off and swallowed a couple of times. “If you only wanted to. But I don’t get the impression that you want to. I’m tired of waiting around for all the good men in my life to realize their own potential and to see my worth, too. So, I’m going. I don’t want this anymore.” She stopped and looked away at the kitchen clock.

The silence stretched out between them. He looked down at his forearms, pressed to the counter, but he couldn’t feel the pressure of the smooth stone against his skin where he supported his weight. Instead, he felt a buzzing numbness.

She walked to the sink, and dumped the last of her coffee into the drain. “Obviously, you agree with me.” She flipped the tap up and rinsed her cup vigorously before turning and facing him. “So I’m gonna go.” She said again simply.

There was a horrible finality to that statement, he thought. Even while it was so indefinite, it felt like ‘The End.’ He wet his lips with his tongue and took a deep breath before saying, “How do I fix this? I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”

“I’m not sure you can, dear.” She put her mug on the counter and slowly moved toward the door. “But I think, as far as words, we should probably just both try ‘goodbye.'”

He put his arm out to bar her path, a futile gesture, he knew. “I love you.” Even as he spoke, the unvoiced word ‘but’ lingered like a pitiful ghost at the head of the statement.

She turned her head and looked at him sadly. “Do you? I really wish you’d said something before just now.”

He saw she was already gone at that point. Right then, knowing him made his heart ache a little bit, too; he’d assumed she’d always be there, ready to be supportive of him. He hadn’t understood how much his assumption would cost him.

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3 thoughts on “Fragments of Dialogue IV: The Hard Cost of Comfort

    1. Dialogue is a bit new for me. I talk a lot as a person, but as a writer, I’ve always paid more attention to scene or internalized impressions. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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