Tuesday 18 September 2018

The First Time

 Robert Daley

tea, no sugar

The first time you break up with someone, unexpected stuff can really throw you off.
I’d been unfaithful, more than once. The last time a week ago, with an escort. You know how it is, when you’re twenty, you’d fuck a roll of tin foil if it landed in your lap. We’d lasted eighteen months.
            “I don’t see this going anywhere,” I told her. But it wasn’t so. She’d been through my wallet, left the cards out of order. Some women don’t even need evidence.
            “I see.” She grinned as she scooped a spoonful of sugar from the bowl and gently lowered it into her tea.
            I said, “You’re taking it well.” She was resilient, for sure, the type of woman who could give birth on her lunch break and work the afternoon shift. Even so, no tears?
            “I’ve been seeing Jim.” She gripped a red lock of hair like it was an alarm cord. Stirred her tea some, generating a surge of steam. Jim was a barman at the Kensington members’ club where she waited tables. I’d met him once when I picked her up at the end of the night. He offered me a drink on the house, a glass of red. His smile could disarm an angry old lady of her cane.
“How long’s that been going on?” I cracked my knuckles.
“Three weeks or so.” She pressed her knees together. I knew it’d been longer. I could have thrown my tea in her face. But I drank it and poured another. Wanted sugar but she had the spoon. I couldn’t bear asking for it.

About the author

Robert is a forty-five year old student mental health nurse, studying at the University of the West of England. He lived in Japan for ten years and has recently been inspired by the works of Haruki Murakami. He now resides in Stroud, UK.

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