Going to a café was her idea. I didn’t want to come here but she had insisted on somewhere public. I quickly located a table in the back facing the door. I had never been to this café but the chips with coffee stains on the table told me it had been in use for a while.
A shadow loomed behind me and a squeaky voice asked if I would be making an order. She was polite but I was already in a foul mood.
“Coffee, no cream. Thank you.”
I shouldn’t have gotten agitated so easily but my visit here was one of grief and sorrow. I believed my girlfriend was going to break up with me.
At first it wasn’t noticeable, forgettable petty events over taking out the trash and coming home too late from being with the boys. But then it began to build up slowly. She became easily distracted during conversations. When a small argument occurred, she blew up like Hiroshima and left me radioactively burned. Now we spend less time together, she had even avoided being intimate. This was slowly spelling out the inevitable and before it did, I had a surprise for her, too.
A chime rang. The same as when I entered the café. Patrons looked up out of reflex. My heart beat erratically. It wasn’t her. My blood pumper slowed its pace and went back to its quiet rhythmic thumping.
When the chime went off again my heart somersaulted and picked up tenfold. It was her. She scanned the café. Her eyes locked on mine and she quickly looked down and made her way to the table. She sat across from me and the cacophony of sounds in the café began to fade. My only focus was her.
Playing with her long auburn hair meant she had something on her mind. I met her attempts at small talk with silence. We both knew why we were here. Get on with it.
She stared at the table with nothing more to say, tracing the chips in the table without as much as a glance toward me. As I opened my mouth to tell her my “surprise” she stopped tracing and reached in her purse to place a rectangular box on the table.
The same jewelry box that contained the necklace I had given her for our fifth anniversary. So this was how she was going to tell me, by giving back the gifts I had given her.
That was all the fuel I needed. I snatched the box off the table and said, “I slept with your best friend.”
Her face snapped as if I’d slapped her. She sat motionless; tears pooled in her eyes and slid down her ivory face. She did not speak. Her ruby red lips quivered as she gave me a questioning hurt expression. She rose quickly and dashed out of the café.
I stared at the box in my hand. It wasn’t closed properly, something bigger than a necklace sat inside. I opened it to find a pregnancy test, the little window showing a plus sign.