I wrote "The Bit That Happens After The Fun Part" and the much more experimental "This Is Your Life", as assignments for the fabulous free online writing course from the University of Iowa. "Moving The Margins: Fiction and Inclusion" is one of the MOOCS courses available through the International Writing Program, and I cannot recommend this course nearly enough. With 47,000 participants from 197 countries, peer review of assignments and interactive discussion moderated by the teaching team are both challenging and highly enjoyable!
The day that you left, I felt as if my world had fallen in on itself. You’re probably sneering at that, thinking me melodramatic or histrionic. Still, that’s what it was like and it’s only right that you should know. After all, you’ve always been big on accountability.
I knew you were thinking about ending it with me months ago. There were signs, but I just didn’t want to believe them. It’s kind of happened gradually, you leaving, more like a slow burn over time. The moving away of your physical body was really just the final part, the bookend to the whole thing. That’s the best way I can describe it. I mean, I have to make you understand. What you’ve done.
You don’t feel guilty. That I know for sure. You’ve always had that arrogant streak, a level just beyond healthy self-esteem. It was something I found attractive about you, which of course you played on. Preyed on. Your laughter could raise a smile from the most dour, sour-faced, thin-lipped prig. Your walk was more of a swagger, as if every inch of you were a manifestation of god and we were just your minions. Even when you were angry, you never lost control, never said anything stupid, never looked weak.
Remember when we first met? I was showing you around and I was just one minute late, and you commented on it, dead serious like and just when I started to get flustered, you saved me. Just a smile, a suggestion of a wink, and your grey-blue eyes meeting mine. You didn’t want to waste time traipsing around looking at more apartments so you said you’d take this one. It was a bit smaller than you wanted, and not as central either, but at least it was recently renovated and you were happy to have a balcony overlooking the Docklands. As if you were doing me the favour. When you signed the rental papers, I remember watching you as you scrawled your name across the page as if you were a celebrity signing an autograph.
You were new to the city, you said, but you were going to see how it went, if your business would do as well here as it did in London and Berlin. You didn’t look like a typical international businessman. I mean, you weren’t in a formal suit and tie, but you did look as though you spent time on grooming. You looked clean shaven, even though it was early evening, and there wasn’t a single crease that wasn’t supposed to be there, and your tan suede shoes were spotless. I remember, because it had been raining that day, and I had mud on one of my heels which I only noticed too late when we were already in the apartment.
Did you feel something for me then? I couldn’t stop thinking about you that evening. I actually fantasised about bumping into you the next morning, which of course I’d have to engineer by hanging around the lobby of your apartment complex until you’d appear. I’d say, “Oh hi, Fraser isn’t it?” and you’d look surprised but happy that I’d remembered your name, and then I’d say I was here to meet a potential client for another property, a very upmarket brick townhouse on the riverside, and you’d be impressed and realise that I was, am, more than your average estate agent, I had clients who were. Important.
Of course, that didn’t happen. I am not a stalker. Even though I did quickly note down your address in my phone, just in case I happened to be in the area again.
And inevitably, there was no need for me to do anything, not when you had already decided that I would do. I go to the gym, I eat paleo, I have to look good for work. You thought you’d get me over on the pretext of something wrong with the Smart Wi-Fi Home Control system, something that hopefully was just a software glitch. I said I would come over as soon as I had finished with my last client and you said that would be fine. So I went to the hairdresser on the way over and got my hair straightened, popped home and got into my favourite slinky little dress, a little tight where it counts, but not slutty of course. You didn’t seem the type to go for tarts. Then.
When I came over, you were all smiles and you handed me a glass of wine. “For your troubles,” I’ll never forget that. Suave bastard. You said you’d managed to fix the program in the end, which we both knew was a lie, but an acceptable one.
One glass turned into three, and you know the rest.
I’m not exactly sobbing into my glass though, before you get any ideas. I’m just a little annoyed that you didn’t bother to say goodbye, after all the fun we had. The dinners, the party on the yacht (you remember that party, don’t you? How could you forget, the girls were all over you, that’s when I noticed you were starting to leave me.) The weekend in Fiji. That was such an amazing villa, up in the hills, our own infinity pool. You had fun too, didn’t you. So did the holiday rep from Sydney, that blonde bitch. But I pretended I didn’t mind my man running his hands all over someone else, you always said we weren’t going to be like that, all possessive, all needy, you said.
I don’t need you. I don’t need you.
@AliceLamWriter @UIIWP #Fiction #ShortStory #Revenge