The Smile Switch

He started yelling at her. He was yelling and crying. She sat in the front seat of his car. Almost a feeling of disgust running through her. Why was he crying like that? He looked so ugly. What was he even talking about?

She sat there, had said her piece and now, this was his turn. He was involved with someone else. But he loved the girl he sat next to. He hit the steering wheel. He said something about it being easy and she didn’t understand. Easy would be the two in the car… together. That was easy. He was the one making it complicated. She knew what she wanted, she knew who she loved and it was him. Both answers were really easy here.

She felt nothing. Something inside her just shut off completely when she looked at him, pathetically crying at her with mucus running down his lip. He didn’t even bother to wipe it off. Was he begging her to stay in his life? She didn’t understand the point of crying that hard.

She was awesome. She knew that and people around her knew that. This guy sitting here, sweaty, hair matted to his forehead, cheeks stained with tears, shirt wet with the same salty sadness, he knew that she was awesome. Why else would he be making some huge deal about someone who wasn’t his girlfriend? She had been there through it all. She had been used for her ability to give and ability to love wholly. He didn’t want her as a girlfriend, but he knew what she could give him. Everything the girlfriend couldn’t.

He didn’t know how to let go. She knew that leaving him would hurt him and she didn’t want to do that either. What the hell was she supposed to do? He wanted her around but didn’t want to be with her. That wasn’t fair to her, especially when he’s seeing another girl. As soon as she asked for something in return, it was always too much to give her. I’m too awesome for this, she thought.

“Can I go get you a tissue?”

He looked up at her with sad, almost puppy-dog-like eyes, red from the butt of his hands rubbing against them. She got out of the car and went into her house. “What happened?” asked her sister. She literally looked disgusted as she opened the screen door. “He’s crying.”

She sat back in the car and handed him the tissue. She stared forward, unable to look at him but only hear his sobs. “Look at you, you’re just sitting there, you don’t feel anything!” He yelled at her. She supposed that’s what it looked like, since she had been staring at the license plate across the street from where they sat the whole time. She was almost in a trance; calm, collected and not involved at all.

Skip about seven years ahead.

I feel like I’ve been in this situation before. She was sitting at the edge of her ugly brown couch that came with the apartment. She stared at the tall man sitting on her dining room chair, yelling at her. “Your my woman and that’s how it is. Look at you! You’re just sitting there, with no emotion and I’m sitting here about to throw up! What’s wrong with you?!”

I feel like I’ve been in this situation before. The switch. It went off.

She looked up at him with his hat placed on backwards. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I’m the one at fault here,” she said calmly. And then, she began to cry. She began to sob and ask for forgiveness. In her head, she thought, “Is this what he wants? Am I doing this right?” And he scooped her up in his arms and cradled her.

Rewind the seven years.

In the front seat she finally turned to look at him. “What do you want me to say?! What do you want from me?! I’m sitting here, pained that you have a girlfriend when you love me and you want me to SAY something?” She started crying. She thought that’s what he wanted to see. She thought he wanted emotion because technically, that’s what he was giving her. It still didn’t solve anything. It didn’t do anything to better their situation. Whatever they had, had died in her heart at that moment. He was never going to be it for her. And she had to let go.

After she cried, cradled her head and said, “I just don’t know anymore” they stared out into the street in front of her house for a few minutes. “Let’s go get some food,” he said quietly. “Ok,” she responded.

She smiled.

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