simone isn't speaking to me
3 minute read - a short story: when simone arrives, their forced apathy comes in strong waves drowning my ship of optimism, pointing to a giant pit between us...
simone hasn’t been speaking to me, in text, in person, or in dreams. so i’m surprised when they accept my invitation to lunch. i pick a restaurant dear to our past and make sure i get there early.
when simone arrives, their forced apathy comes in strong waves drowning my ship of optimism, pointing to a giant pit between us. as they sit across from me not saying a word, it becomes clear they have come in protest, to make their silent treatment toward me ever more visceral.
i hoped for a lively atmosphere when choosing the restaurant, but our busy lunch spot is unexpectedly dead. there is only one other table eating. i’m grateful for their sonic presence cutting the silence, even though they’re having a hollow conversation about geopolitics. in another time, simone and i would make fun of them, how people resort to seemingly complex and distant topics in order to avoid their intimate feelings.
the waitress approaches our table. simone asks about the duck ravioli. i’m elated to hear their voice. then, i can’t hear them anymore. their mouth moves and the waitress says “great choice” but simone’s voice abandons my ears entirely.
i make multiple attempts to start a conversation, but without anyone to riff with, i’m a lousy guitar solo with no backing track. it’s painful. i excuse myself to the bathroom.
i black out in there. waking momentarily. returning to the dream, the light has shifted. our table is taken up by a happy group of four, and simone is gone. my stomach growls.
i reach into my pocket to check the time, but remember leaving my phone on the table. the restaurant is lively again. many conversations form an umbrella of sound above me. a cacophony which i have no part in. it’s difficult getting the waitress’s attention.
in the dimly-lit restaurant, alone, i begin searching. i can’t tell what i’m looking for. i can’t pinpoint the source of my sadness. is it losing my phone or my friend? my hunger pangs aren’t adding any clarity either. i suddenly feel inclined to talk about geopolitics. i keep looking.
how i wish the staff would come and ask me to leave. that way i wouldn’t be the one who stops looking, the one who admits loss. but no one comes.
outside is dark and cold. my jacket fits me loose like it belongs to someone else. “hey” simone holds my phone toward me. they’re standing under a neon sign giving them a magenta halo. i hug them deeply. they hug back.
“are we ok?”
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