trying

“Are you ever going to look at me and not see the girl who broke your heart?”

“But, Sally, that’s who you are. That’s what happened.” Liana leaned back in her chair and turned away. She took a long drag from her cigarette, watching the cherry glow brighter as she inhaled deeply. The smoke curled around her face as she exhaled two thin streams from her nostrils and turned back to Sally.

“It’s been years,” Sally said, sighing. “When are you going to just see– me?”

“Well, we’re talking now. I’m sitting here in this cafe with you. I don’t hate you.”

“I can see it in your eyes, Liana. You haven’t forgiven me. You haven’t let go. You still bring up these memories of times that we had together that– well, to be honest– that make me uncomfortable.”

Liana flinched at that, knowing it was true. Her hand instinctively went to her bag, thinking about the notebook inside and how many of its pages were filled with those memories. And longings. And anger.

“Well,” she finally said, “doesn’t it make you happy that I still remember the good things? Honestly, I don’t even know why I’m here, Sally. Why are we sitting here, trying to act as if we can just be friends when we were never really friends in the first place? We were lovers and then we ended and now we are ex-lovers who happen to still talk.”

Sally looked hurt. “I think of you as a friend, whether you think of me as one or not.”

“I’m sorry.” Liana regretted the apology as soon as the words left her mouth; she knew she didn’t mean it. She knew that she would never think of Sally as a friend, that she would never be able to look at Sally and not feel a very specific ache in a very specific part of her chest that would forever acknowledge that Sally would always have a very specific piece of her heart. Liana did not like to think of the shape and girth of that piece. She tried to think about Chrissy, about how much she looked forward to seeing her the following evening. It didn’t help.

Liana sighed heavily, looking down at the table. Feigning a sincerity that she wanted to feel, but was not sure she felt, she met Sally’s eyes and said, “I’m trying.”

3 Comments

  1. “She knew that she would never think of Sally as a friend, that she would never be able to look at Sally and not feel a very specific ache in a very specific part of her chest that would forever acknowledge that Sally would always have a very specific piece of her heart.” I like this line, I think the repetition of “specific” is effective.

    You capture Liana’s pain so well. And I think this piece is written so honestly and realistic… especially where she regrets the apology she throws out so immediately that she knows isn’t true… and the end where she’s fully aware that her last statement is not fully true but she wants Sally to see her sincerity.

    One thing I might add is a little more to the brief line about Chrissy. I assume that is Liana’s current girlfriend but it’s not clear… I don’t know.

  2. Shape and girth eh? Right up my alley! Anyway, the used-to-be-lovers-but-now-we’re-friends-but-one-party-is-not-okay-with-that. Many readers can connect to that scenario, understand it well.

    And what usually happens for that dissatisfied party to let it go? Something devastating! Sally’s new toy walks in the door and tongue kisses in front of Liana. OR. Chrissy walks in and makes out with Liana all over the table. Havoc ensues, either Liana’s devastated or Sally surfaces latent jealousy and possessiveness. Their relationship redefines.

  3. hah. i see what you have done here…a very interesting experiment. i like how you used the overlapping character idea. it’s funny, because i had it in my head that liana had someone who had broken her heart, and still wasn’t over, and that’s why she could not fully commit to chrissy….very strange. GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

    anywho…i liked the dialogue exchange between the two characters. it seemed very natural, flowed well. i’m curious as to see what else you will do…or what else i will do…

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