He arrives before I do. Sitting in the biggest sofa chair in the shop, he plays with his phone like it’s the only toy in the world. I walk past him as I approach the barista. I order my coffee, black. There’s a lady’s room in the back with a sink and a mirror. I wash the vodka from my mouth and the cigarette off my hands.
When I return, he is still staring at his phone or his feet. I can tell by the way he hasn’t looked up that he isn’t here to end our relationship.
He wasn’t looking at me the first time he said I love you, either. Sometime after our three month, his face was pressed against my neck. We were at a party, and it was drunk and late, and oh my god, did he just say that? The moment passes and I still haven’t said anything.
I ask him outside to find a place to sit and decide I want half & half in my coffee when he reaches to hold the door. We rush across the street just as the don’t walk sign begins to flash, finding a sculpture garden outside a corporate looking building.
He drinks his iced coffee, white with milk and sugar, then looks me in the eyes. “Would you like to begin, or would you like me to begin?”
“I would like you to begin.”
He drinks again. “You need to-”
In three words, I see what a future with this boy will be like.
“You can’t talk to me like that-”
I see us a year from now, five years from now, I try to imagine us growing old and gray together.
“If this is going to work, you are going to need to get a filter-”
I see that there is no future for this boy and I.
“I need a girlfriend who is more mature.”
“I think we should break up.”
“What? That’s it?”
“Do I get an explanation?”
“Does it matter?”
I look at my feet. They might stay or they might run or they might leap up and kick this boy in the face. I might say anything, but I don’t.
I was looking at his feet the first time I knew I loved him. His parents were out of town, and we played house at their place for two beautiful weeks. He was crawling under their bed, trying to coax out the reticent cat that had buried herself in there after being made known of my company. As he spoke softly to the cat who only spoke Russian, I was falling in love with him.
After all these words, if he hasn’t seen me yet, he won’t hear me now.
You don’t deserve one day of my future.