the war of the roses
by Kessica

she didn't understand, really, why he affected her the way he did. why she could be perfectly content writing in her journal or reading her book, but when he came in and slammed the door behind him, muttering snide things under his breath, her mood had to sour into a coat of something unpleasant on her tongue. he hated that she couldn't make a decision. he thought she didn't notice that he did the same thing.

"i don't care where we eat." she would say, sliding into the front seat of his car, the leather cold on her back.

"well i'm just not going to make every choice for you." he would say and idle in the road with cars honking behind him until she blithely pointed out a direction for him to go. she truly didn't care where they ate and she consumed less and less each time they sat down for a meal. she knew when she was stressed out because her body stopped performing its functions correctly. these days, she would close her eyes but sleep would not come. these days, she would eat a meal and her stomach would churn for hours. these days, her laugh sounded closer to a choked sob. it had to be stress. she woke up early and went to class or work. after that she went to work or class until the sun set through the smog and when it was dark she would call him or he would call her.


"what's up?"

"not much, what's up with you?" followed by long silences and a final sigh.

"do you want to do something?"

"i don't know."

"i could come over there."

"maybe in a little while." he would hang up and she would lay in bed exhausted from her day with a book or a movie and he would inevitably show up to get her. "how are you always here? you never do anything." she didn't have the heart to say she'd been doing things all day and now all she wanted to do was sit down for an hour and watch CSI. he would stand there and watch her pack a bag and then they would sit on his couch and watch sports center and soon after go to bed. sometimes they would touch and sometimes they wouldn't. when they would just go to sleep, they would slide into bed and he would roll away from her leaving her to blink at the wall or his back, both a big plane of blank that failed to excite her.

she would stare and think, 'i have to end this.' then, he would roll over and put his head on her should and kiss her in his sleep and she would lose her courage. she could never do it.

he brought her flowers on valentine's day, little yellow roses.

"yellow is for friendship." she said, smelling them and putting them into a plastic cup of water.

"that's what the man said." he replied, looking at his watch. "where do you want to eat?"

in the restaurant, she tried hard not to stare at all the bright red roses on the tables of the other girls.


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