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It's always the same. They always leave me, and they always wait till I've just decided this time it's the real thing. This time it's perfect and they'll stay forever.

And now Bob's gone too, just an hour ago. He was so sweet about it - it was him who cried, not me. Said he still loved me but...it would never work.

The first time it happened was...how long ago? With Steve. I honestly thought it was the happiest night of my life. He'd come home from work early and made us a wonderful candlelit dinner, with wine and three courses. I thought...

...I thought he was going to tell me he'd decided. To commit. To give up that wife of his and be with me.

But he wasn't proposing, he was leaving. The meal, the candles - it was his way of trying to soften the blow when he said he wanted to go back to his wife.

He was so...charming about it. He was charming in everything he did. And just as I stopped telling myself he was too good to be mine, he wasn't mine anymore.

That time it was me who cried, and he took me in his arms and held me close, wordlessly, for a long time until I stopped. I knew it was the last time he'd ever hold me, so I took each moment and tried to make it last.

He kissed me, the bristles of his beard against my mouth. And then he was gone. He didn't look back, but I watched him walk away until I couldn't see him anymore.

Then I...drank the rest of the wine, cried some more, walked around the flat for a bit, and lost for anything else to do, went for a walk. I can still remember every detail of the evening.

I found a park bench and sat down to collect my thoughts and wipe my eyes. I didn't even notice there was someone else there. He asked if I was alright. He smiled at me, asked if there was anything he could do to help.

He said his name was Ste...

Wait a minute. That can't be right. His name was...

His name was...

It was Steve. So...this was when Mike left me. Yes it was Mike the chef who cooked me the meal to say goodbye. But Mike didn't have a beard. And anyway I didn't live near the park then.

Steve was the only one with the beard, and Mike was married. And I actually lived with Steve, for six months - we moved into a new flat together.

It wasn't a whirlwind romance - I mean, it took us nearly a year to admit that somewhere along the way we'd become more than best friends.

It seemed silly to live separately when we spent all our time round each other's places, so we found a place and just moved in. He even started speculating about adopting a child together - but I said it was way too soon for that.

Secretly I thought it might not last - he was a wonderful guy, so supportive and patient, and I couldn't help wondering whether he'd really want to stay with someone like me.

Then one night, I honestly thought it was the happiest night of my life. I can still remember every...

He came home from work early in the evening and...

...he kissed me, the...

...no. that can't be right. It can't have been Steve. It must have been John. No, John was later, after Carl. So it must have been Dave - except I met Dave in the park after Pete left. No that was Sam. But it couldn't have been.

Was it Bob?

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Eeeeeeow! Nicely done, making the hurt of losing someone such a repetitive coinsurance that you lose track of whom hurt when. That only ads to the overall sense of losses and griefs through life.

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I really like the twist half way through, Kapitano.

This is nicely observed, and well written, though rather bleak and sad ... heading towards a dystopian view of park life serial monogamy.

Filmic, too.

I'm guessing the flash fiction forum is going to flourish!

More, please!


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Oh Kapitano, you should really consider submitting your stories for the home page. Everything's great so far. And you seem to get better with every story. I really like the twist with this one.

Rad :icon_geek:

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I agree; bleak, but engaging, and certainly creative. I can only hope it is really fiction, and, if not, hugs from me.

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