Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Confrontation

by Don Jennings

The interior of the apartment was cool but she brought the wet heat inside with her, her words erupting before the door had closed behind her. There were no pauses between sentences.

"Damn it, Gabriel, we got to talk, you are moving way too fast, I mean, I like you, I like you a lot, you know that, but you just got to hold your horses and slow down a minute."

She paused, breathing, waiting for a response.

"Hey Babe. Good to see you. How are ya?"

She stared, her forehead wrinkled as though his greeting had confounded her. Her eye shadow was almost sky blue, but not quite. More a faded-bathroom-tile blue.

"You send me a text and you're all, I'm in love and why don't you move in, and we only been dating a month, and my divorce isn't even final, and, well, you know I'm not ready. I mean, I want to, don't get me wrong, but I know I shouldn't because it's so soon, you know what I mean? Do you?"

Gabriel didn't answer. He might not have heard her, because all the while she talked, he'd been surveying her outfit. The star earrings. The cross around her neck. The vivid tri-colored, strapless dress.

"I mean, really, man, first I told you I wasn't ready for sex but you were all, it's okay, it's no big deal, we're all grownups here, it's just a physical thing, so I do and now you're talking about me moving in and, hell fire, I'm afraid. I don't know what I'm afraid of. I'm afraid of what you might say next. Of what comes next."

It was her shoes. They were purple. The color matched her eye shadow and dress well enough, but, well, they were tennis shoes. She was dressed to the nines, albeit in a hip fashion...and wearing sneakers.

"What? For crying out loud, what are you staring out?"

"Nothing. I was just listening. Thinking about what you were saying."

Their eyes met. Her lower lip trembled. "Be damned if I'm staying here tonight. Not tonight, maybe not ever. I'm going to Theresa's. For god's sake, what are you looking at? Why do you keep staring at my feet?"

"You're wearing purple tennis shoes. With a dress, and jewelry. I love that about you."

Her eyes moistened. He opened his arms, and she collapsed against his chest. His arms encircled her, forming a soft shield, a protective cloak around her shoulders. "Damn you," she whispered into the stiff collar of his shirt. "I'll make you pay for this, Gabriel. I swear I will."

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