Wednesday Sample: Work in Progress

It feels great to get back writing – enjoying the summer and the prospect of getting a bit more balance back to project commitments. So yeah, this is a short I’ve been working on. I’m halfway and still discovering where this thing with my girl, Sadie, is going to end-up lol, but definitely enjoying the journey! Here’s a Wednesday Sample … hope you’ll enjoy!

Sadie’s dilemma:

The Ethiopian restaurant off Brixton Hill was a fave.  We loved the food and the decor was authentic, comfortable.  I’d reached at eight, so ..on time.  I knew he’d be late.  His casual ‘usual’, a couple minutes max, nothing more

I ordered a beer and was OK for the first fifteen, checking my phone for an update before messaging a prompt.  When half an hour passed, the night started to feel a lot different.  Feeling pissed, I stood, leaving some money on the table, collecting my stuff, ready to push out the door just as his tall frame loped in with a grimace on his face and a thunderstorm at his back. 

– What’s up wid you? I asked as he kissed my mouth, pressing his body to mine, smelling of soap, vape, wet streets and damp leather.     

– Sadie, I’m real sorry, man. He said, pulling back, urging me to sit as he drew a stool opposite, without removing his coat, his body slumping on an exhale, soaked in pain and regret.

OK it’s a start, his voice was hoarse as if he’d been shouting.  But at least he’d apologised. His sincerity wasn’t in doubt.

– Is everything OK?

It evidently wasn’t but it was still the most obvious follow-on.  It was crystal I wasn’t about to like whatever lay around the corner.

Nah, not really.

I sat back, welcoming the embrace of the soft wall of red cushions pillowing my back.  I didn’t have anything as follow-on so I opted for silence.

He cleared his throat, his eyes darting across the restaurant as he leaned forward folding his arms on the table.

– I met up with Lillian.

I hadn’t heard that name in a while.  I knew he used to see her.  But since we’d been dating, her face had never even crossed my mental. As far as I was concerned, that chapter had closed.

– Yeah? Everything good?

Nah, not really.

I nodded, bluffed, studying him.  His brow furrowed.  His leg started bouncing under the table, definite ‘tell’ I wasn’t about to like whatever he was about to say.

– She’s been on my case, man.  Tryin to link-up. Refusing to get what I was tellin her, y’know? … hitting up my phone talkin ‘bout  me ghostin .. that not speakin wasn’t an option.  Dat we needed to talk. 

I nodded, twisting up my mouth which was a habit I entertained whenever I got nervous.

– So I hooked-up wid her just now ..in Covent Garden and..

The friendly waitress approached and asked if we were ready to order, reaching for the menu cards. I asked for another minute or two. She nodded, smiling in retreat as I tuned back to the pause which had my heart ratcheting my chest.

Studying him, he appeared stressed but didn’t look angry per se.  More  …disappointed.  Struggling to comprehend whatever heavy news had feelings churning, making the same world of five minutes prior feel changed-up beyond all recognition. 

Get to the point..  was what I was thinking as I stared into his golden eyes wishing this moment wasn’t happening. That we could remain in our peaceful depths of mutual understanding, dissecting a Langston Hughes poem, with like minds, rich and stimulating, instead of this … feeling like star-crossed lovers, or two trapped flies banging glass.

I recognized the shift. And I was already panicking.  I should’ve walked away.  I should’ve listened to Karrie’s divinefeminine ish, after all.  At the bare minimum, I should’ve guarded it better. I should’ve never stepped into this damn mess. 

(Untitled, Work in Progress, Copyright L.S. Bergman 2022)

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