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Something to Say


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The phone rang. I picked it up.


"Hi. We used to uh live together like twelve years ago? You remember me?"

Yes I remember you. You destroyed my life.

"Anyway I'm back in the country and I thought I'd look you up. Maybe we could get together for a drink, revisit old times?"

That month I barely saw you because you said you were working late. I thought you might be seeing someone else - but no, you were at the office all right. You were at the office but I found out you had nothing to do. No work, no papers, you were avoiding me.

You knew I was unhappy and you spent each night sitting at that desk waiting till I was asleep before coming home. You could have said something, you could have tried to talk, but you never even tried.

"Sometime at the weekend maybe? I'm here for a month."

You destroyed my life and I let you, because I thought I loved you, and I thought that meant letting you do it. You were always such a romantic, so I tried to be romantic just like you.

You know what first tipped me off? The row of empty coffee jars on the window sill. Why were you drinking so much coffee? When you came home late and I was awake in bed I could smell you making it - very strong. And there were the empty whiskey bottles in the dustbin you tried to stop me seeing. You were trying to sober up every night.

When you thought we weren't working you thought sex would make it better, so you came on to me hard and even though I didn't want it I let you do it, but if you saw I was only doing it for you, you got upset and that made you angry.

"Any time that's good for you."

That holiday we took together. You said your wallet had been stolen with all your money, but I saw it empty under the bed. There never was any money, and instead of telling me you couldn't afford all the nights out and fancy resteraunts you promised, you pretended someone had taken it. But if your wallet was gone, why did you still have your credit card?

You never had money but you wanted to pretend you were the older man lavishing his love on a younger one. It took me a while to figure out why my bank balance was always so low - and why you were always going out to get some groceries at the shop with the cashpoint. You were stealing from my account to buy things for me because you couldn't yourself.

You gave up cigarettes and switched to a cheaper brand of whiskey. The bills and final demands you got up early to collect from the mat and hide from me. All the lies, all those lies.

All the fine things you made me want because you wanted them too, all the things we could never have and didn't understand and didn't really want anyway. You tried to turn me into what you wished you'd been but it was never you and it was never me.

You never understood, you never listened, you never let me decide for myself because you didn't want me at all, you just wanted a better version of you that I could never be because I didn't even know who I was supposed to be. Why couldn't I talk to you? Why wouldn't you let me talk?!

"So what do you think?"

"I have nothing to say to you."

I put the phone down.

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Wow. How to put a relationship into a few words; gut busting words...one has to wonder at the life the older man must have had earlier on, to do such a thing. He too has his demons, as I suppose we all do.

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We don't know what the real story is - we've only got the internal monologue of what one of the men wants to say but can't.

But it looks like both men want to talk, but the older one wants maybe to repair old wounds while the for the younger they're still fresh ones. The younger man wants to talk - or rather rant - but he can't bring himself to say anything other than the conflicted, half-true brush off that he doesn't want to communicate with his ex-partner.

So both are looking to gain closure in their way, but one can't do want would be necessary for him to get it - to meet up. And ironically, this gives them a different kind closure - the closure of the slammed door.

I don't how how accurate his memories are, but the feelings they're bound up with - they've been festing for a long time.

I wonder how much courage it took for the older man to make the call.

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Perhaps Kapitano's point was, there is a lot for the reader to think about long after reading the story. I think that's one of the things most flashes bring to the table, and one of the things that makes this genre so engaging. We're given the ability to help write the story, to fill in the blanks, and we can enjoy trying several different ways.

I think, because of our own predilictions, we'll each find a different way to flesh this out in order to make the story most interesting and satisfying for ourselves.


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