FICTION

 

Ruby writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry and advertising copy. The following piece, Half Sure, was shortlisted for the 'WOW - Women on Writing' flash fiction prize, placing in the top ten.

 

 

 

HALF SURE

 

She didn't love him anymore. 

She was half sure.

 

But she was never sure-sure of anything so it seemed like something to act on. Anxiety made her circle her thumb and forefinger. Ouroboros circles, her thumb smoothing a path around her finger from frequent use. The feeling didn't exactly calm her, but it kept the anxiety from getting worse. That was the trick - don't try to diffuse, just maintain. 

 

Maybe he would take it well? Pain wasn’t her intention. Crumpled people made her feel awful. Made her take back things she’d said. A blonde, dreadlocked waitress asked if she wanted tea. She didn't. 

 

I don't love you anymore.

 

She studied her phone as he swooped into the faded café, kissing her mouth with a rushed Godtrafficsorry.

 

The waitress brought her tea.

Kay smiled tightly, too polite to send it back. 

 

Tom stole the biscuit from the saucer. He joked that they’d brought out the good biscuits today - maybe the waitress had her eye on Kay. Kay knew he didn’t really think so.

 

She looked at his mouth. Watching people eat was disgusting. She had no idea why people thought going to dinner was a sexy thing to do. When you actually took a moment to watch, and listen, eating was repulsive. She didn't like people to watch her eat. She took steps to avoid it. 

 

Tom took the lonely tea and helped himself, leaving a scum of crumbs and a faintly visible oil mark floating on the surface. Skin, and palm oil, and the residue of lipstick from where he'd kissed her painted mouth. Human traces. 

 

I don't love you anymore.

 

She shifted her frame, feeling crumbs rolling between the old, crispy velvet and her exposed thigh. The stab of a crumb was disproportionate. Like paper cuts, they just shouldn’t hurt the way they did. They were just tiny tiny bread. 

 

Tom said vegetarian food was healthy. It was why he insisted on Maya’s Café. Pasta. Quiche. Salad. A falafel wrap. It always amazed her how much men ate. That’s why most straight women got fat in relationships, they ate along. After years of being told everything should be fair between the sexes, it turned out to be a lie. Of course.

 

She watched a glob of hummus as it trembled near his mouth. It refused to drop. She waited.

 

Tom wanted to know if she was even listening to him.

 

She parroted his last sentence back to him, a trick she’d learned in school, and reflected on the meaning.

 

I don’t love you anymore.

 

Her heart was a cave. It filled with sea water, crashing in. Flooded.

Shock made her cold.

 

I don’t love you anymore.

 

She said it decisively this time. Reclaiming the words. Taking back ownership of them. They were hers. She had practised.

 

But the salt water had escaped her chest and was now running down her cheek. She didn’t wipe the tear away. Maybe it was because he said it first. Maybe that’s what made her words so untrue.

 

 

 

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