“It’s not okay, you know?” Can it be thorns that prick your heart instead of paper?
“The bible’s…” He trailed off, because that was a weak line the bible’s not always right, but this? This is definitely wrong. It was contrived, too. He knew that sounding contrived was one of your peeves, didn’t he? You thought he was pretending to be asleep those summer nights, but apparently he only woke up early to leave those notes on your nightstand instead of scribbling them down as soon as your breath evened out and leaving then. No, he wasn’t that intuitive.
“I mean, it was…” he shifted, pulling his knee up a bit closer to his body, “warm and all, but it wasn’t what I thought.” He was talking about when you did each other’s laundry and started a clean underwear fight because he hated the detergent you used and you hated his brand of fabric softener. Plus he had mixed reds with whites, but you didn’t mind because the only white clothes you owned only you would let him see.
“I loved the stars.” A real grin, “for a really long time. Even-“ even after I stopped loving you “even when I got yelled at for all the grass stains on my khakis.” They were jeans. Jeans, he sounded so Ivy League and Sunday afternoon football when he said khakis. You thought you’d finally be away from the insignias and authentic civil war muskets.
“I guess, uh, I guess I just kind of ran out of stain remover? You know?” That was horrible. Analogies are the worst literary technique you can use when you’re breaking up with someone. If all ‘let’s be friends’ speeches were like this, you hoped you never fell for someone who made your knuckles turn white again.
“And, uh… I guess I’m sounding a bit cliché, aren’t I?” Nodding would lighten the situation, and with that uneasy grin on his face the last thing you wanted was to make him more comfortable. You raised your eyebrows instead.
“Yeah- yeah, let’s go.” At least he remembered enough of you to not wait up when he pushed himself off the wooden post and walked down the pier towards land. You’d thought about sitting there for a while and seeing if you’d cry, but the lake was man-made and not nearly as pretty as mountain ranges, so you jumped off the post that was opposite of him and realized how poor your posture must have looked. He wouldn’t remember.
“Hey, mom’s waiting!” He’d stopped now, a footstep away from the path leading to the summer house, tilting his body outward but not at you. Like the great big brother he was. He was waiting too, for you to crack a smile or say something witty and make it seem like a stupid 90’s movie or Dawson’s Creek.
You didn’t know any incest jokes, so the idea went out the window and you’d both settled when your hand touched his for the last time. You’d pointed to his left hand.
“Your wedding ring’s missing. I think the dog ate it.”