Endings. Short Story.

Chrissie hated this part. It was always so awkward. She had to break up with Tom. He wasn’t a bad guy, not really, but he just wasn’t right for her and she knew it. There was no point in prolonging the inevitable, it was best just to get it over with, quickly, smoothly, cleanly. Only it never went that way.

 

Chrissie had something about her that attracted weirdos. She was aware of this and had been for a very long time. However, as she knew this, she was able to screen out the worst of them, her fear, her biggest fear, was always the ones that got through the screening process. What ever was wrong with them was hidden, and if she was lucky, she’d never find out what it was. Sometimes that was the case, most of the time it wasn’t. There were the sex freaks, who wanted her to do strange, scary and sometimes nauseating things, they were gone quickly. Then there were the ones that became abusive, thought they owned her. She put a stop to all that pretty quickly, though unfortunately she had been briefly stalked a few times. Then there were the ones like Tom. He seemed normal and he acted normal, but there was something off about him, there had to be, she just didn’t know what it was yet. She expected him to fly off the handle, to yell and shout when she broke up with him, that had to be it. He’d have inappropriate reactions to things. They’d only been dating for three months, it was a blip, barely worthy of mentioning.

 

She was doing it at his house, she had learned that sometimes it was better to do it on her territory, but for the most part, doing it on theirs was easier. She could easily flee, there was no awkward “I’m sorry,  but get the fuck out of my house.” Public places were good if she was afraid of being attacked, but they were always the worst, particularly when  the guy cried. She always felt like such a bitch. He had invited her over to dinner and she had accepted. Chrissie hadn’t broken out the old “we need to talk” gem. That always signalled trouble and it was better if they weren’t prepared.

 

 

“Hi!” he pulled her into a hug and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, then Tom stepped back and gestured for her to enter. Chrissie smiled and stepped inside. The house smelled of food, delicious food. He was a good cook, that was definitely something she’d miss. Now there was the dilemma, spoil his dinner, or be a heartless bitch and sit there while he gushed on, thinking everything was fine. Ugh. Decisions.

“Can we talk for a minute?”
“Yeah, sure, come on into the kitchen, do you want something to drink?”
“No, thank you, I’m fine.”

 

“ah go on, have a glass of wine.” He picked up the bottle and poured two glasses, taking a sip from his own. He passed Chrissie her glass, she accepted it with a brief smile.
Ok, this was the worst part, the build up, just get it over with, in an hour or two she’d be back at home, eating dinner and watching a movie. She should get pizza to reward herself.
Chrissie looked down at the wine, then took a sip. It was good wine. She took a mouthful, allowing the flavours to dance around her tongue.

 

“So, I think we should break up.”

 

There. It was done, it couldn’t be taken back.
Tom stopped smiling, “I’m sorry?”
“I said I think we should break up. I’m not really feeling it, I mean you’re a great guy and all but I don’t think we’re a good match for each other. It’s best to end things now, before they get too serious, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. I guess.”

 

Chrissie started to put her glass down, then reconsidered and took a swig, fuck it. She put the half empty glass on the table.

 

“Well, thanks for telling me in person, I guess. The last girl who broke up with me just ignored me until I went away.”
Chrissie nodded sympathetically, trying to think of something to say.
“I should probably be going.”

 

“Wait, do you want some of the food anyway? I can shove it into a lunch box or something for you.”

 

“No, no it’s  fine, really, thank you though.”

 

She turned and left the kitchen, Tom hadn’t moved, he took a gulp of his wine.

 

Chrissie stepped out onto the street and let out a deep breath. Ok, that went better than she had anticipated, maybe she’d never figure out what was wrong with him. She started to walk, half expecting the door to open, for Tom to run out and shout something at her, or try to run after her, but the door remained closed.

 

 

Chrissie reached the end of the road before she started having second thoughts. What if he was the most normal guy she’d ever be with? What if she threw away something that could have been great? No. That was stupid. She had to stop thinking like that. She made the right decision. Didn’t she? Chrissie kept walking. She’d walk home, the air would clear her head and on the way she’d stop in somewhere and get something. After a few minutes, a cold breeze started, she shivered and pulled her coat tighter. Maybe she should have taken some of the food, would have saved her time. Would it be wrong to go back and ask for some?

The hell? The wine must have affected her more than she had thought. That was crazy, downright insane. Yeah, sorry to break up with you a few minutes ago, but I’m just gonna grab some of this food to go. Thanks.

 

 

Yeah.

 

 

That didn’t really work. She started to walk faster, a spa night. That was what she needed. A hot shower with fancy soaps and body scrubs, then curl up in some pyjamas with a movie, a face mask and some chocolate. Oh and booze of course. That was the most important part. She’d make some kind of tropical cocktail. Maybe a pina colada? Or a margarita. She could put the fire on, keep the place toasty. Yeah. That’s what she’d do. She’d get the food delivered, to hell with stopping somewhere. She could have her shower, order food and then just chill out for the rest of the night. She deserved it.

 

 

Maybe her sense of who was and who was not weird was off. She was usually so good at it though. There had to be something wrong with him. There had to be. Ok. Stop. That was a dangerous road. She didn’t want to end up outside his house with a pair of binoculars. She’d just have to be happy he was out of her life. Maybe she was wrong this time, that he was just normal and she jumped to conclusions. That was equally likely. And hey, if one normal person liked her, well there had to be others out there that would feel the same. Right?

Right.

She’d find someone. Of course she’d probably just be going through this all again in six or seven months, but she could worry about that then. For now she was free, no more coupley texts, no more annoying couple nights when she wanted to be alone, no more cute in jokes. How did they even get in jokes so quickly? Well, not that it mattered now of course. It was over. Done with. She was free of him and she was glad. Besides, if she didn’t reject him, he’d have just rejected her like a month or two down the line anyway. It was better this way. Of course it was.

 

 

When she got in, she went straight to her phone, there, one text message. She knew it, totally called it. Now it was all going to start. She opened it and scanned it quickly.

 

“Sorry, was a bit stunned, just wanted to say thanks, I had fun while it lasted, no hard feelings, all right? T”
That wasn’t right. Where was the cursing? The anger? Ok. So maybe it would just be a little longer till he freaked out, he just had to let it sink in, to fully realise what had happened. She’d get another one soon enough, begging or threatening her, to come back. She put down her phone and went into the bathroom.

It wasn’t like it really mattered if he was deranged or not. Not in the long run. It wouldn’t have worked and if he was normal, well that just proved it would have failed eventually. She was normal enough, but normal people seemed to think her weird. He would have thought that too eventually. Chrissie turned on the shower, then lit a few scented candles. Well, it was all over now so there was no point in thinking about it. She stripped out of her clothes and stepped into the warm water.

 

She relaxed for a few minutes, then remembered she’d have to tell her friends about it. Ugh. She hated that part. The pitying looks, the “oh really? Why?” Like they really cared. It was like breaking up all over again. She’d just have to deal with that when it happened. She moved back, putting her head under the water. She was free now.

 

 

Time to enjoy it.  

 

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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