It didn’t take much to figure it out, it just fell out of her mouth, gushed forth like it had been stuck there for days pushing on her tongue before ramming through and spilling forth into the abyss. She moved her hands when she said it, like she could catch the words as the came and stuff them back in, swallow them and keep them in acid forever. It was not the plan, not the plan to be in the backseat of a car declaring love when everything was wrong, when everything was twisted and dark and stormy and uncomfortable.
It was raining outside, and the pitter patter of the drops made her feel safe and sound in the tiny dry space of the car. And the drops reflected off the glass onto his face and it made her feel whole for some reason so she said it, she said it and she grabbed it and she tried to push it back.
But the thing is being in a space this small words echo of the walls and bounce and hit skin and get absorbed before you can stop them and he heard it, loud and clear as if she had shouted it right into his ear. He looked in her direction and clasped his hands in front of him, she knew. She knew it wasn’t the same because how could it be. She was angry at language for failing her because there were no words for the feeling that she felt. This was not love, even though it was the word she used.
This was not a man with whom the sun rose and set. It was not even a man who had been good to her. Here was a man who had called in the very depth of her loneliness, who had taken her to dinner a few times and caressed her in the dark and had coffee with her in the morning. Here was a man who had, if even just for a little while, taken away some of that cold hard longing that had lived in her chest for so long. And so she said words she didn’t mean, and even if right this minute she said she didn’t mean it it wouldn’t matter, the damage had ben done.
It’s what he’ll say to his friends later over too many beers at a dingy bar with neon signs on the wall and old fixtures that have dust and flies trapped in them. He’ll pat himself on the back for not saying it back just for sex, he’ll give himself a hearty congratulations for not being that guy, for having said right off the bat he was just looking for “fun.”
And all of a sudden, she couldn’t take it. She couldn’t take the way his chest rose and fell there, the way his hands were clenched on the steering wheel, the steam from the car circling, old air in and out over and over again. She couldn’t take the smell of his body, that it was breathing and present and judging a decision that was as little hers as it was his.
The Bee Gees played on the radio, the Deejay introducing the classic “Heaven” with a smooth tone in a hushed voice: this is for all you lovers out there.
Nobody gets too much heaven no more. It was the first line of the song, accompanied by a slow disco beat.
She turned the volume up as loud as it would go, the words obliterating her humiliation, the bass echoing through her teeth, she gripped them together.
Nobody gets too much love anymore.
She finds herself alone in the pouring rain, finds herself walking on a dark street after a boy didn’t love her.
She is alone, and she is cold and wet and tired, but she can breathe, and she is free.
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