Acta non verba

I could not describe with any justice the feeling of sitting on that bench by the pier that afternoon and how much I’ve missed the rare days of not feeling like I had to go anywhere or do anything. It had rained two straight days before we made the trip, so the warmth of afternoon sun lacked the oppressive humidity that was common this time of year.

“I heard about your fishing rod. I’m sorry,” said a mockingly sorrowful voice from behind me.

Earlier, I had tragically lost my fishing rod, thinking I could not possibly catch anything in the twenty seconds it took to get up, go to the cooler, and grab another beer. But the moment I put the rod down and turned to walk away, and…

“I never really liked fishing anyway,” I said dryly.

She grinned and kicked my leg. “Move over. What are you doing here?” she asked as she sat beside me.

“Absolutely nothing.”

“By yourself?”

“Quite possibly the best way to do nothing.”

She eyed me.

“I like being by myself sometimes,” I said defensively.

She gave a shrug. We made small talk between sips of beer and caught up. Naturally, as two people who had recently gotten out of long term relationships, we ended up sharing breakup stories.

“We got in a huge fight. Probably the biggest I’ve ever had with anyone. He stormed out of the apartment, didn’t come back for the rest of the night. I woke up and went to work. We didn’t talk at all that day, not even a text. When I left the office and walked to my car, I saw something on my windshield. I thought it was a ticket at first, but it was a note, from him. It read, ‘I love you, no matter what.’ I dissolved into a puddle of tears.”

“Wow,” I said dumbly.

She smirked, “Well, he went and slept with his ex that night. So the ending kind of sucks. I usually leave that part out.”

It must have been the look on my face that caused her to burst out laughing.

“It’s fine,” she said after regaining her composure. “But yeah, that was probably the sweetest thing a boy has ever done.” She paused momentarily, “Which actually sounds pretty pathetic now that I think about it.” She laughed again, this time a little more wistfully.

“We do some pretty stupid shit when we get a little heart broken,” I said after a time. “A willing ex is usually a safe bet.”

“Safe. Easy. Convenient. Stupid.”

“Sometimes we just need someone to hold,” I shrugged.

“Sounds like you’ve done the same?”

“Me? Jesus. Fuck no.”

“Really?” I could hear the doubt in her voice.

I smiled, “I’ve thought about it, but I usually find some place quiet and agonise for hours about it like a real man.”

She burst out laughing to that. “Like you’re doing now?”

I coughed. “What? No.”


“I’m thinking happy thoughts,” I beamed, showing all my teeth.

“Such as?”

“The awkward goodbye.”

“And what exactly is the awkward goodbye?”

“Two people meet. There’s instant chemistry. Instant attraction, you know? They start hanging out. There’s no clear definition as to what they are yet, so you’re okay with the hugs and the quick pecks on the cheek. Soon, they don’t seem to last long enough. The goodbyes get drawn out. After a while, they start looking like two retards who should be walking away from each other but don’t.”

“That sounds kind of sweet.”

“It’s terrible.”

“But you said it was a happy thought?”

“I know.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s not supposed to.”

One thought on “Acta non verba

  1. God… The ever-lingering goodbye is so familiar. When you’re hugging each other and neither is letting go. You feel so dumb and the hug slowly transitions from something regular to something extraordinary as time passes. Like a silent willful acknowledgement that letting go is not a viable alternative to the current situation for reasons of acute and borderline-juvenile enjoyment. And it is terrible at the same time as it is awesome, at least until the implicit becomes explicit.

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