Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 18


18 And Life

    That evening I stayed with the cute redheaded girl at her place.  At the conclusion of our nightly duet she decided it was time to have a talk.

    “Are you planning on breaking up with me?”

    “Of course not,” I mumbled while awakening.

    “Why were you in such a hurry to leave lunch today?”

    “I told you, it was a deadline I had forgotten.”  My lies were starting to catch up with me.

    “Then what’s this about a dating service?”

    How the hell had she already heard that gossip?  There had to be a mole at my office.  I couldn’t trust anyone.

    “That’s research for a story.  It’s not what it seems like.”

    “Then what has been wrong with you lately?  Are you on drugs?”

    “Um, no.”  I hadn’t so much as thought about smoking weed in my newest incarnation since checking the doghouse, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if I never had in this lifetime.  “But now that you mention it...”

    Her eyes widened.

    “Don’t worry, I’m kidding.”

    “You’re scaring me,” she continued, sitting up and nervously pulling at the duvet in front of her. “You walk around like the world is new to you.  You sleep far more than you used to.  Your memory is terrible.  And it seems like you’re trying to keep me away from your mother for some reason.  Now you deny shopping around, even though it’s flying through the rumor mill at the paper.”

    Stuck for something to say, I blurted out the first words to come to mind.  “Would you rather be sleeping with my mother?” 

    From her reaction, I’d guess the inappropriate comment didn’t go over so well, as she immediately pulled the covers up over my head in disgust. 

    “Of course not.  I just can’t figure out why you’ve changed so much.”

    “You’ve changed too.”

    “I’ve changed?  I haven’t changed.”

    “Oh, you’ve changed.”

    “This isn’t about me right now.  You’re not the same anymore.”

    “So why do you blame me for it?  What’s so different?”

    She thought for a second, clutching the comforter tighter and lifting it up between us in a latent show of our impending separation. 

    “You always used to speak so romantically of the time we first met, and you never do anymore.”

    That shouldn’t be hard.  I laid back down on my side and draped an arm over her.  She tentatively accepted the gesture as I began my story.  “I had just been recruited by this new music magazine...”

    A look of confused horror came over her face as she moved my hand away.  “What the hell are you talking about?”

    “The night we met.  We...”

    “You never worked for a music magazine.  You don’t even like music.”

    “But I...”

      “This is exactly what I mean.”  She sat up and clutched the covers again.  “Lately you just make stuff up that you think is funny when it’s really scary.”

    “But you said…”

    She said, “You don’t understand what I said!”

    “I said no, no, no you’re wrong.”

    “And that too!  Quit it with the song lyrics!  It’s like you’re speaking in tongues and I can’t deal with it anymore.”

    She paused in a silence that was as much thoughtful as awkward, then finished.  “I think we should spend some time apart.”

    “Let me get this straight:  You want to break up with me because I’m a womanizing liar, I like music too much, we don’t hang out with my Mom anymore, and you think I’m doing drugs?”

    She answered in the affirmative without hesitation.

    More unwise words from me.  So much for my laying the blame on Nelson for this.  I didn’t have a chance to finish my thought internally before she finished hers aloud. 

    “I think you should leave now.”

    “Right now?  It’s the middle of the night.”

    “I’m sorry.  Maybe I’ll call you later.  But please go.”

    I was somewhat shocked, but I didn’t see any sense in arguing.  Once that kind of decision is made you’re only fooling yourself if you think it can be undone.  Unless you have the ability to go back and fix it.

    “You made your decision.  Here’s hoping it’s the right one...”

    I got out bed and found my pants, only finishing my sentence when I was nearly out the door and fairly sure she couldn’t hear me.

    “...this time.”