“Today,” she tells her reflection in the mirror as she puts an earring on. “It has to be today.”
She has lost count of the times she’d resolved to break up with Daniel–her boyfriend of almost three months–only for said resolve to weaken and disappear completely the moment he smiles at her. Who could blame her, really? Aside from the fact that her boyfriend’s good looks could so easily land him on magazine covers, he is the sweetest, most attentive man she’s known. (It could be argued, however, that the most dominant male figure in her life leaves much to be desired, but that’s not the point.)
Daniel is not the problem in this equation, no. It’s her. She needs to break up with him because she knows there is no way she could be completely honest with him. And that’s not fair.
Her phone rings. Speak of the devil.
“I’m parked outside your apartment. You ready?” he asks when she answers the phone. She asks for five more minutes so she could put her shoes on, but she emerges from the apartment building ten minutes late.
He doesn’t seem to mind. Not when he welcomes her with the warmest of smiles as she enters his black sedan. It’s still the dead of winter, but she could almost swear that damn smile of his could make flowers bloom.
The strong aroma of coffee instantly overpowers her, and she directs her gaze down toward the center console where two takeaway cups from the cafe down the block sat snugly beside each other. The image of snuggling with Daniel enters her mind right then, and she catches herself before she could murmur an expletive. You shouldn’t even be thinking of snuggling!
It doesn’t help that his voice feels like velvet on her skin when he starts telling her about the convention he just returned from. He could read medical literature to her any day and she would listen to it like a lullaby, or a bedtime story. Every bit of him is her weakness, it seems.
“Are you all right? You’re being quiet.” He glances at her as he drives through the city’s major thoroughfare. It’s not rush hour yet, but the traffic is beginning to build up. Any other day, she would be thankful for slow car rides such as this, because that translated to conversations, or silly games they would think of on the fly.
“I just like listening to your voice, is all.” (That’s not a lie.)
“I missed you when I was away.”
“I didn’t.” (This one is, because she feels her heart shrivel and ache as she utters it.)
He is disappointed, and she hears it in the silence that follows. In the distance, the sun is beginning to set, and its glow illuminates the horizon beautifully. The clouds are tinged with yellow, blue, and purple, and the city structures reflect the light as fiery orange squares that seem to twinkle like stars.
Stars. There were a lot of them when they first met each other on the beach months ago, an encounter she never expected would amount to anything. To this day, it remains a mystery how she’d managed to catch his eye, his listening ear, his lips . . .
“Is anything wrong?”
Her eyes are glued to the picture the sun paints across the horizon as it returns home, behind the mountains, to rest for the night. She stares at the sunset glow until she could justify the tears pooling in her eyes. She’d likened him to the sun–her sun: bright, warm, life-giving–and she promised to be his steadfast mountain, his home at the end of every journey.
She feels his hand on her hair, a gentle caress to soothe her. “Did you have a bad day? Do you want to talk about it?”
She blinks away a tear, shakes her head, knowing her resolve has dissipated yet again. Someday, perhaps the sun might find somewhere else to set. Perhaps the mountain would crumble under the weight of its lies. Someday, it might be easier to turn him away, but not today.
Maybe some other day.
#promptoftheday response to “orange squares”
for kushie ❤
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