Superheroes

19 Dec

We met at some dumpy restaurant where the coffee was crap and the food greasy. Not sure why we picked it. Maybe because it was the place where we’d met. He’d come over and sat by me to tell me never to eat the so and so, because it was disgusting. I ordered it, of course, and thought it was delicious. Sam is his name. He never matched, even though he had lots of money to buy clothes. He wore stripes with polka dots, not to be avand garde but because he was clueless. He put on mismatched shoes and socks.

I arrived before him, and I watched him hesitate at the doorway before striding in and scanning the place for me. I slipped my hand in the air and waved. He slid into the booth, and I kept my hands wrapped around the coffee mug, drawing comfort from its warmth.

“Weather bad?” I asked.

“Yeah, terrible, and you made me come out in it.”

He shrugged off his coat, which had about three inches of snow on the shoulders. It melted in his hair, and his hands were red from the cold.

“Did you order me coffee, too?”

“No. You don’t like it.”

“I do when it’s 50 degrees below zero outside.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Don’t order the special. It’s gross,” he said, scanning the menu that had finger prints all over it.

“Why?”

“I had it one time. Just trust me.”

“Nothing is ever good enough for you, you know?”

Sam slapped the menu down on the table. He looked straight at me and said nothing. I swallowed hard. I felt the hole inside my pocket where the letter must have slipped out of.

Just then the waitress arrived, snapping gum and tapping the ground with her foot.

“Yous ready to order?”

“Give us another couple minutes,” Sam said.

She grunted.

Sarah watched him as he looked down at the menu again.

“Let’s get out of here” she heard herself say.

“Seriously? It’s hell out there.”

“I know. But this place is too warm. I’m sweating.”

“Where do you want to go?”

Outside the snow fell in thick flakes. It gathered on Sam and Sarah’s cars. Sam got out two blankets from his car, and told Sarah to wrap herself in it. They’d go for a walk. Sarah felt silly as she wrapped herself in a blanket, over her parka. Sam did the same. He said they looked like superheroes, and she laughed. Funny how she wasn’t cold though, not with him. When they could no longer see the restaurant because they’d walked so far, Sam turned to Sarah, and she looked at the flakes in his eyelashes.

“Why are we here right now? He asked.

“Because you wanted to go for a walk.”

“No. seriously.”

Sarah turned and looked out across the frozen, wind-swept lake. Besides their own breathing, the snow absorbed all sound. Silence.

“I cannot do this anymore,” Sarah found herself saying.

“Do what?”

“This…me being a part of your life and nothing more, just something you can put in and take out whenever you feel like it. To you, I’m….an amusement…something fun.”

He denied everything, said she was important. But she knew she wasn’t. She knew he would slowly lose interest when something brighter came along and one day would stop calling. She would become the girl who sat at her bedside waiting desperately for the phone to ring, for that incoming text message. He was becoming her addiction. And when he ended, nothing could bring him back or fill that whole. She would be left empty with only their memories that would, over time, lose color and then definition until she could no longer recall exactly what it was that made them so special.

Sarah returned home that night and wept for what she’d said. It ended with Sam silently folding their snow-sopped blankets and skidding away in his car. She had ruined what they had, and she did it because she knew where she was headed: love. And he wasn’t. To him, she was something fun, a diversion perhaps. By severing the relationship, she had saved herself pain. But what if it could have been something more? She didn’t torture herself with the thought. She knew it wouldn’t do any good.

 

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