The Breakup. Short Story.

Angela wiped at her eyes, then splashed some water on her face. No good going back to work all splotchy. Of course they knew she was crying in the bathroom but she didn’t want to confirm it for them too. She knew they were probably talking about her right now, wondering what had set her off this time. She looked at herself in the mirror and took a deep breath, she touched up her makeup and practised a smile. Angela smoothed down her clothes a little then, with one last check, she left the bathroom. No one looked at her as she walked back to her desk, which was a relief, last time Annie had loudly asked her if everything was ok. The tone was one of faux concern, but Angela had seen the gleeful glint in Annie’s eyes. She sat at her desk and tried to get back into her work, but her phone was sitting right there, tempting her. No. She wouldn’t. It would just start the argument all over again. They could sort it out later. She started typing, then stopped and picked up her phone. She wanted to double check that her message had actually sent.

An hour later she was angrily typing on her keyboard, he still hadn’t replied to her last message, which was just typical of him. Of course he couldn’t take the time to respond, not like she was important or anything. And she knew he’d still expect dinner on the table when he got home, like nothing had happened. Well, he’d be in for a rude awakening tonight. Tonight he’d get nothing. She would get something for herself, maybe Chinese and he could help himself to the leftovers if he wanted. Yeah. He didn’t deserve a full meal, he didn’t deserve any of the effort she went to. He never did anything, he didn’t cook or clean, barely even kissed her. She saw the way he looked at other women too. Maybe it wasn’t her, maybe it was him. After all she did everything for him, she did all the chores, she dressed sexily for him and what did she get out of any of this? Nothing. She should just dump him and get it over with.

An hour later she was still angry, but it had cooled somewhat, no longer was she jabbing at the keyboard. She knew what she had to do, she would break up with him tonight. Wait for him to come home then tell him to just get the hell out. Yeah, that would be good, seeing his stupid face when he realised she wasn’t going to take any of his shit anymore. No. No. He didn’t deserve to be dumped in person. He barely even deserved a phone call. She grabbed her phone and typed out a quick message. “I want you out of the apartment tonight. I don’t care where you go or what you do I just want you gone.” She read over it and then hit send. She could have made it worse, more cutting, but she wanted him to know she was serious this time. It wasn’t just some idle threat.

As she finished up Angela looked at her phone, still no word from him. She didn’t feel the anger she expected, there was nothing. Of course she should have known this would happen, he would come home with flowers or something stupid like that, try to weasel his way back in, but she wouldn’t let him. She couldn’t go on like this, wouldn’t go on like this. As she made her way home she had decided what to do.

Back in the apartment she found a box and started packing his shit into it, he would be back in about an hour and when that happened she’d have everything all packed up and ready to go for him. He could go to a hotel or to one of his whores, she didn’t care. An hour came and went. The half-closed box was still sitting by the door. It was sitting there when her takeaway arrived and the next morning when she woke up. She locked the door behind herself as she left, no doubt he’d gone out drinking again. Oh well, not her problem. She stepped into the cool morning air and smiled, she felt better than she had in a long time. Like a weight had been lifted from her. The sun seemed to shine a little brighter, the world seemed to be a little happier.

When she got home his shit was still sitting there, unmoved. She clenched her teeth and pulled out her phone. “If you don’t pick up your shit tonight I’m throwing it in the trash.” If he wanted to ignore her she’d make sure he regretted it.

When she went to bed there was still no sign of him. At some point in the night she heard the front door open, she heard him shuffling with the box, then the door closed again. Smiling, she fell asleep again. Coward couldn’t even face her.

The next day in work her phone starting ringing, she looked at the name, Ted, so he finally had the guts to talk to her. She grabbed her phone and quickly ducked out of the office and into the stairwell. “Look. I don’t care what you have to say, I’m not going to take you back.”

“Oh, that isn’t a very nice thing to say, I’m glad that I chose him, he must not have been a very nice person after all.” Angela looked at her phone, double checking the caller ID, the voice was deeper than Teds.

“Is that you Mike? That’s not very funny. I know Ted’s upset but that’s no reason to try and play a prank on me ok? It’s his own fault we broke up.”
“Good guess, but no, it isn’t Mike. Ted and I had a nice, long visit the other day. I have to say judging from your texts he isn’t entirely to blame for his behaviour. You’re lucky I’m not as fond of women.”
“Who is this? It isn’t funny. Did you steal his phone?”
“Well, I guess, in a manner of speaking. But that’s the least I did to him. If you don’t believe me feel free to go see what I did. I left bits of him around the place. You can find his head in the dumpster behind your office. I thought I’d make it easy for you.”

“This isn’t funny. This is sick, if you don’t stop screwing around right now I’m going to go to the police.”
“You’re going to call them either way. I picked up his stuff last night, you seemed to want it gone. You’ve a nice place. I’ve kept his key, who knows, maybe I’ll drop in and visit again someday.”
The line went dead. Angela felt sick, this wasn’t like Ted, even at his worst he wouldn’t do something like that, something so cruel. She remembered the door opening last night and felt her stomach clench. Realising she was alone in the stairwell she quickly went back to her desk, looking around herself as she went. As she sat down again she started dialling the police, hoping that it was just a cruel and tasteless joke.

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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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