Crepitus

She put on a brave face, stoic, even in agony, as each of my words cut into her. Even in this moment, she would not let me see her cry. Or, maybe she could not anymore. Her tears had turned to ice and there was ice where her heart used to be. I could almost hear what was left of her heart breaking, and feel the pieces grind against each other with each labored breath. Every motion she made, when she unwrapped her straw, and moved her glass of passion juice closer to herself, felt pained and effortful.

The frozen pieces at the bottom of her glass crinkled as she stirred the contents of her glass mechanically, looking everywhere but into my eyes. I could hear the eternal question, in the heavy silence, “Why?” It is funny how such intense moments always seem to occur without any outside noise. I know they play music in that restaurant, I know there is a hum of voices and cutlery and crockery hitting against each other. But, I only remember the silence…. What I remember as silence. I do not recall anything I said, only that whatever it was burned all those bridges. There was no going back to what we had, or to anything for that matter.

“Just go.”

She said quietly, looking downward and to her left, avoiding my gaze. I moved to pay for the juices we had had.

“No, I’ll take care of it.”

“Are you s…..”

“Yes.”

She spat, cutting me off. I stood up clumsily, not knowing what to do. A handshake, a last hug? I strode out after it occurred to me that that was that. There was a pebble stuck on the underside of my shoe and I felt it scratch and tap the ceramic floor as I walked away, I felt myself walking all over the pieces of our broken hearts, breaking them further. I did not know if I could pick up after myself again. I felt that I had burned through my karma. And, on most days, it still feels like I have.

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