Maybe she should just let it all go.
If he always found a way to condescend to her, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
The smoke from her cigarette seemed to give life to her thoughts, asking questions from her to the cosmos. Perhaps that was the charm of smoking. A conversation with the air.
She wasn’t much for being treated like a child. But if she asked for respect she might lose him all together.
The stand still. The risk.
Love was never easy.
She shifted her stance, leaning against the stone wall of the hotel entrance. Her figure shrouded in a long dark raincoat, promising of a noir dream.
The only tangible, committed relationships she’d ever been in were a compromise. A survival tactic. Never built on real love, the kind that stops your heart.
She hugged the wall under the awning, watching the rain muddle the reflection of the street lamp on the drowning pavement. She drew out another cigarette. Just buy enough time to finish her thoughts.
He stopped everything. Heartbeat or the world turning.
Why did the times she shared a real love wreck everything? No matter how mutual the affection something always stood in the way. Or maybe she’d just never been loved.
But now? Him?
Even these thoughts he’d deride. Tell her, her writing missed the mark. Tell her how wrong she was. Tell her what she meant or felt. He could always find a way to condescend.
Her cigarette threatened extinction, inching ever closer toward the filter. So often her smoking would pass faster than her thoughts resolve themselves.
Was he trying to lessen the sting? Was he trying to deflect the love that slipped past his defenses?
He could cheapen it all with his, “knowing better,” with the superiority of his age, that stab of calling her a romantic. He could treat her like she was a handful and use that to cheapen everything about her.
The cherry glowed and sputtered out as it hit the watery pavement.
Is it better to burn than to fade away? Is it better to leave than to be replaced?