Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tomorrow's Plan

Short story:

Things weren’t going well. Every part of my plan was falling apart. I was learning lessons fast; I wasn’t sure if it was good. The door opened and a couple walked in, looked around and quickly left. The frigid outside air blasted in and drifted over to me. I felt it about three seconds after the door closed. I looked at my drink, it was mostly ice now. My drink and the table started to move; I put my hand on the counter to steady myself.

I guess my learning started when I stormed off after she said I never listened. I never committed. I never opened up to her. I couldn’t disagree, but I know I had tried. Doesn’t that count for something? My sore cheek said no. I now found myself sitting alone in the crowded bar, far too inebriated to actually make any plan resembling a good one.

Besides, this is all her fault anyway. She wanted this damn relationship. She wanted to try dating in college. I scoffed at her, but it was part of my life image. Get a girlfriend in college, get married a few years down the line, have a kid or three, be a professional in a desk job by 32. I had been following that plan carefully.

I may have romanticized a little. That’s no crime; it can even smooth over the rough patches a bit. I spun around on the bar stool. “Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stu--” I was stopped. The world spun briefly and the many forms before me fused together. She was there. “I’m sorry” I blurted it out almost incoherently.

“Do you want me to take you home?” She asked sternly.

“That—that would be lovely.” I trailed off. She helped me up and we stumbled into the cold. She managed to flag down a cab while I sat on the curb. I stared at my hands. My butt was cold.

“Come on, get in.” She grabbed my arm and tossed me in a cab. The car spun rapidly and jolted like a rocket ship. We sat in silence as the motions of the cab threw us around. Five harrowing minutes later I was at my front door. “We’re here.” She paid the driver and I tripped out of the cab onto the sidewalk.

My front drive was icy and had a thin layer of snow on it; neither I nor my housemates had bothered to shovel. She helped me find my keys and go inside. I collapsed on the couch muttering to myself. She walked into the room. I finally looked at her; she was wearing a black dress and sheer leggings. Her hair was starting to come undone from the coif that she had spent an hour on. She had removed her mascara. I could still see a faint line running down her cheek though. She handed me a glass of water, kicked off her heels, and sat down. She started to remove her earrings.

“Listen, I’m sorry. Relationships aren't easy. I’ve stuck around because the times you are good make up for every tough moment. That’s not how it’s been lately. I’m not giving you a second chance. I’ll give you another day though. And hopefully after that maybe another.” She put her earrings in her purse and started to undo her hair.

I took a sip of my water; felt it run down my throat. It was cold and made me shiver. I grabbed the blanket on the couch and haphazardly tossed it on myself. If I had only one more day with her, what would I do? I couldn’t plan out to 32. Any dreams of the future were one hundred percent dependent on the present. Her ultimatum had thrown that into a very stark light. I readjusted on the couch, spilled a bit of water on my hand, and slid out of my shoes. I looked at her—one of them at least, “I can do that.” It was a measured four words. I was defeated and wrong.

She came over, removed the blanket, unfolded it, and draped it on me. She leaned in, kissed me on the forehead, and got up to go.

I called out to her, “wait. What do you want to do tomorrow? I don’t have any plans.”

“Neither do I,” she smiled, “we’ll figure something out.”