A short story wherein a couples fond farewell opens the door to new possibilities…
by: Chester Holden
Jenny Patton and Mick Arthur exchanged dirty looks over the final overpriced dinner they would share for the foreseeable future. But make no mistake; after almost four years together, they remained in love beyond logic. Jenny was a svelte and brown-eyed woman of twenty-seven. She had long dark hair and perhaps the palest skin in Brooklyn. Mick was a year older and a half-foot taller. While his face was something approaching handsome, his body was almost entirely without muscle.
Jenny looked down at the hardwood floor of the highest-rated restaurant anyone had ever taken her to. After crying many quiet tears, she looked up with no regard for the unseemly state of her makeup and asked, “So what do you want me to do about it?”
Mick calmly cut off a piece of the modest portion of steak artfully plated in front of him before bringing it to his mouth, chewing thoroughly, and swallowing. He put down his fork and evenly replied, “It’s always gotta be about you, doesn’t it, Jen?”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Jenny said, turning several heads of those dining in their general vicinity. “I’m the one leaving behind everyone and everything I know. I’m the one opening the door to outright uncertainty. I mean, am I missing something? Who the hell else should this be about?”
“Just calm down—”
“How dare you tell me—”
“Alright, alright, alright,” said Mick, abruptly elevating his hands, palms out and parallel to the table, conveying utter preparedness to deescalate the situation.
“Would you please enlighten me as to who else this should be about?” inquired Jenny, smiling in a triumphant albeit significantly more peaceful manner. “Because I certainly would appreciate an answer.”
“Here’s a little something I’m sure you haven’t considered,” said Mick, laying the bitterness on thick. “Is there any chance you don’t wake up tomorrow and abandon your unconditionally loyal and loving boyfriend for the goddamn undisputed moral cesspool of America?”
Jenny pushed back her plate, suddenly losing an appetite for anything Mick paid for. “We should’ve discussed this before today,” she said. “How many times did I tell you?”
Reaching across the table, Mick held Jenny’s unresponsive hand and suggested, “Baby, you’ve gotta learn to stop worrying about the past. It’s nothing but sand through the inexplicable hourglass, a far-off dream of some distant dimension.”
“Oh, shut the hell up,” said Jenny, pulling her hand away in disgust.
Breaking an uncomfortable and considerably drawn-out silence, Mick declared, “So I suppose that brings us to the question of the evening. How long until you move back to Brooklyn?”
“I don’t know, Mick. I seem to have misplaced my magic crystal ball.”
After finishing his nearly full glass of wine in a single tilt, Mick asked, “So, how do you feel about staying in a long-distance relationship?”
“Not very good,” Jenny said.
Suddenly breathing hard enough for Jenny to notice the pronounced heaving of his chest, Mick said, “I hope you know I’m only even bringing this up because I’m so afraid of losing you.”
Jenny narrowed her eyes and asked, “What? Bringing what up?”
“Well, how would you feel about maybe, by chance, possibly opening our relationship until you get back to New York?”
The color drained from Jenny’s face as she awaited the urge to lunge across the table and strangle Mick to pass. Then, stricken by a sensation she had never before felt, she smiled spitefully and said, “You know what? Why not? Let’s give it a try.”
“Baby,” said Mick, reaching desperately for Jenny’s hand only to see it pulled away with unapologetic indifference, “I don’t wanna lose you.”
Chester Holden is a writer hailing from Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.