Story #1: A case of apples and ice cream
She was holding the cup with both hands. The coffee inside had a shine to it that made her think about water swirls and moments when you’re just about to fall asleep. Nothing in common between the two, probably, but this is how her mind worked and this was a good day to just go with it and let emotions come as they pleased.
Yesterday, he said that he decided to leave. He was not leaving her, she knew, but still, he was going to put some ambiguous number of kilometres between them; hundreds or thousands, it didn’t even matter, it was too far for waking up together in the morning or having a cup of coffee, just like this one she was enjoying now, alone. “Not too far for phone calls, though”, she remembers him saying. She just smiled then and didn’t answer. Maybe she nodded a bit, like some kind of approval, couldn’t tell for sure. After all, although such a clumsy thing to say, it was true; it was not too far for phone calls, it just sounded like something you would say to a small child after you told him he couldn’t have ice cream. “Here, have an apple instead”, you would grant as a favour to the confused child.
Anyway, she understood, she really did. It was that kind of opportunity to which he couldn’t say no. If he did, at some point, he would have regretted it. And beat himself up because he did, but still couldn’t help to regret it in the first place. And there you have it, a never-ending swirl of mixed feelings and that’s how waking up together suddenly doesn’t feel as good as it used to and coffee starts to taste dull.
So he had to go and she was ok with it.
She could go with him. He didn’t dare say it, probably the “regret to regret” skinny letters were dancing around in his mind too, and he left it unsaid. She praised herself on being rational, though, and this was undeniably an option.
She didn’t want to go. Didn’t give it any thought at all, no need. She knew perfectly well that it was not the right time for her to move, so she chose to stay. She will miss him, of course, she can already see those lonely mornings and empty nights creeping in, but she will do her best to fill them and keep him close. Was she being selfish? she wondered. Probably yes, and yet it’s better to be honest about it. She had to admit, it wasn’t hard to take the decision. A hard decision yes, it was, but that is something else, it’s good to make the distinction and keep things neatly in their allotted boxes.
The sun is passing now from table to table, drawing little patterns that seem to change with every second. The wind is going through the tree in front and this little dance of shade and light performed by the moving leaves makes her feel a little dreamy. Or sleepy; or something that feels a lot like reassurance. It was here where they first met, a couple of years back, totally by accident, when they both decided that they wanted to sit on the exact same chair, at the exact same time. Goofy moment and all, like in those cheesy movies with happy ending, but it worked. They were tempted to call this their place, but in fact it wasn’t a place either of them really liked. They just happened to meet here and probably neither of them could remember now what they were doing there that day, who they were going to meet, where they were going next. The coffee was great indeed, and that’s something that one can always appreciate, regardless. A brief smile passes on her face, as she catches herself wondering if the ice cream here is any good.