“Why did you want to meet me here?”
“I don’t know. I had no better place in mind.”
“A dingy room for a hotel, overlooking a mortuary, sure you couldn’t do better?” Jennifer’s anger rattled.
“I am breaking up with you.” Simon said blankly.
“Well, what a nice symbolic place to choose. We break up, our relationship is dead, and we take it to the cold house. Perfect, Mr. Literature.” She said as she tried to stifle a tear.
“Well, you are the journalist; can we read about it in the papers?”
Had it not been for the waiter, Simon and Jennifer would have ended up fighting. It had been one of the reasons why he was breaking up with her; fighting. And not understanding each other. There were many other ands, but Simon was determined to end them.
They had a good relationship, at first, but the drizzle of “issues” had transformed into a stormy disaster. Jenny started coming home late, then later, then not at all for days. Not drinking at all, then sporadic sips with friends and now a chain smoker, and dropping Brandy, her best friend, for brandy. Not that Simon was any better. If Jenny was trouble, he was double trouble. He just assumed things. He behaved Simon-like; if the dustbin got full, it would empty itself, if not by the brandy-filled head of Jenny, she would curse, empty the contents into a plastic bag, and place it on Simon’s bed. Simon would grudgingly drag it out and soon as he steps back in the house, he would be greeted by the jubilant drunk voice of Jenny, “gotcha!”
He stayed glued on his computer screen, writing whatever he was writing. Both their lives were devoid of romance, love rather. Jenny was a beautiful journalist, and she had started working as a model. Simon was a handsome writer. He had actually started writing. But the writing had started going downhill soon after he and Jenny got into fights. You have to get a hold of yourself, his editor had said earlier on. He had deliberated on another way to get a hold of himself, apart from lotion and a towel and himself when he and Jenny had not been “at it” for weeks. Then he had gotten his answer, why be with Jenny when all they do is fight? He had to let her go.
“You know Simon; you could have sent me a text.”
“I could have, I forgot your number.”
He was testing her. They had texted each other about breaking up, but they always ended texting each other back into love (well, temporarily) and back into bed. Soon after that, normal drama resumed. Simon wanted to make this one real, and he wanted it to hurt. Hurt Jenny, not him. He didn’t want to know why he wanted her to hurt, but he wanted her to hurt.
Simon saw a genuine look for the first time in Jenny’s eyes, at least in a long time. She was sitting across the table, facing him. She wore a pair of tight blue jeans, Jessica Simpson boots, large earrings and a baggy tee-shirt with 2Pac gracing the front of it and Bob Marley smiling weed-stained teeth at the back. The two are so not meant for each other on the same tee shirt, Simon made a mental note. Had she dressed expecting this? However, the way her features had softened in that outfit made Simon think otherwise. Certainly not, he thought. He took a sip of his close-to-cold coffee, placed it aside, ordered another one, and looked up at Jenny. She was sobbing softly now, tears strewn on her pretty face. Simon’s heart went out to her. Well, he had not expected to hurt her like this. Why was he feeling for her? Did he still love her? Not certainly, or did he?
He took out a handkerchief and handed it to her. She begrudgingly took the kerchief, blew into it.
She left the hotel still sobbing and cursing under her breath. Simon did not notice that she had picked a fork off the counter, but he knew she wouldn’t take it easy. She would hurt a little longer, do something stupid but he knew, to him he knew, that it was all for the better.
When he got to his car later that day, after too much coffee, he realized that the car’s tires were slashed. Perfect, he’d thought. He dragged his sorry ass home, drank some more substandard coffee and hunched over his computer late into the night.
As he was submitting his article in the morning, something about “how to break up with your girl with less drama involved,” he realized the mood in the media house had changed. The ladies didn’t appear enthusiastic of seeing him as they used to in the earlier days. Even the gay receptionist gave him a precarious look, his eyebrows shaved in such a manner that he was surprised, all the time. He was callous for sure; he didn’t drawl his usual phrase, “hello there, sexy!”
He walked briskly into his working booth, and as he was booting his computer, he noticed an envelope. He tore into it, read the first two lines, actually they were two lines, and stormed into the editor’s office. He was angry. He wanted answers as to why he had been fired.
“What is the meaning of this?” He said, holding up the letter.
“Looks like it’s a torn envelope to me.”
“Why am I being fired?”
“Because am the boss, remember?”
“Jenny, you can’t do this to me, is it because of the break up!” Simon exclaimed.
“Close the door on your way out, would you?”
“Why did you want to meet me here?”