Mike saw her as he came in, she sat with her back to the door, lying in wait. While she sat up straight, he knew that inside she was coiled and ready to spring. Mike ordered coffee.
The barista told him to grab a seat, and they would bring it down. Mike hadn’t been spotted so he would use those few extra minutes to gather his strength.
The cappucino arrived, Mike could no longer delay the inevitable. Mike made his way over to Cathy.
“Hi Cathy,” Mike said sitting down opposite her. Cathy was looking off to the side, not making eye contact with him.
“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” Cathy said still not looking at him.
“What is there left to say, you and I made the right decision ending things, it was more your end and I guess I am thankful for that” Mike said.
“Just frustrating, you openly admit you mistreated me but you don’t feel the need to apologize,” she said finally turning round to face him.
“You always made me regret trying to do good. Would it be better to stop talking
completely, we could end it here if I’m upsetting you.” Mike said.
“It’s my fault then, you aren’t a good person are you? I’m glad I found out.”
“This right here is the problem. I explain to you that I’m struggling and I’m trying to do right, and you attack me. If I get attacked every time I make myself vulnerable, I close up. Who picked you up whenever your broke down, I came for you the day after you dumped me and I picked you up. I know it wasn’t much, but I was trying to help and trying to be good. Look I’m upsetting you, I’m sorry. You’re upsetting me. Let’s leave it here.” Mike said.
Mike moved to get up. not wanting to upset her further.
He was on his feet and about to walk away.
” Wait” Cathy said.
“If you’re not going to see or speak to me again I guess I won’t get another chance to tell you that you are one of the most selfish, irresponsible and immature people I’ve ever met. You think you’re noble because you’re not acting like as asshole for once in your life, well I’m afraid to tell you, you’re acting like an asshole. Playing the victim, blaming me? You’re struggling; I’m attacking you? Well, I guess I am now, about fucking time I stood up for myself. I don’t know what I was thinking; I completely fell for you despite you repeatedly hurting me because you think it’s fun to see me upset. I realize I sound like a crazy person but not wanting to see or speak to us again is just intentionally cruel.” Cathy said her voice raised.
An older couple at another table sat still trying to listen in on the conversation.
” I don’t understand why you would want to see one of the most selfish immature irresponsible again. Do you see how you are on the attack again?” Mike said, his hand moved out to touch hers, but he immediately pulled it back.
” I know, I’m sorry. You told me you never want to see or speak to me again and it upset me.” Cathy said.
” You can’t keep snapping at me like that, I know you’re upset, but it doesn’t excuse it. The next time it happens I’m going to respond in kind. It won’t help anything, but I’ve been sitting here biting my tongue.”
” Do you not see that it was a reaction to the hurtful things you said?”
” I understand. Can you clarify for me, if we get upset can we say whatever we want?”
” No of course not, but what I said was a knee-jerk reaction, and I have apologized whereas what you said was meant to cause hurt intentionally.”
“This is the problem between you and me; you take everything as a personal attack. You assume I everything I do is to cause pain. I have never intentionally caused you pain. I understand that I have but I never once thought, hey this will fuck her up today. I wouldn’t want to upset you anyway because as soon as you do you go personal and it’s not nice to have to deal with” Mike said,
Mike could see the older woman at the other table practically come off her seat she was leaning in so hard to hear the conversation.
“You’ve gone personal with me,” Cathy said.
“I’m not going to get into it, but I haven’t. I know you think I’m this stupid idiot that blurts out the first thing to come to mind but if I can take anything out of this relationship, it’s that I have more self-control than I thought” Mike said.
“And you’re saying I don’t?” Cathy said getting loud, startling the older woman at the other table.
“There you go again, this is going round in circles, I should get going,” Mike said pushing the coffee away from him.
“At least stay until you have finished your coffee,” Cathy said looking at his half-full cup.
“Nah, it’s fine I’ve got stuff,” Mike said looking at his half-empty cup.
“We’ll still be friends,” Cathy said.
Mike sighed, “No, no we won’t,” he said.
“I see,” she looked down, and he could hear her crying. Mike was tempted to reach out and touch her, but he had to break the cycle.
“Derrick, say something” Mike heard behind him, he turned to look at the older couple. The man sat there mouth open looking at the older woman. The man looked up at Mike.
“You should leave her alone,” the man said to Mike.