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Love Will Tear Her Apart

by Luiza Araujo about a month ago in jury

"Marie finally sees me through the window. I smile, hold up the cup of coffee. She turns sharp on her heels and pretty much runs to the back of the store, away from me"

Love Will Tear Her Apart
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My girlfriend Marie works at an antique shop. That’s where we met. I went in looking for vinyl records but then I saw her, she was the most beautiful thing in that charming little shop. She rang my items through and stopped to tell me she was a Talking Heads fan as well, holding my soon-to-be record of ‘77.

Man, I’m nervous, my palms are as sweaty now as they were at that moment. I hope she is not mad anymore, we haven’t seen each other since the big fight, I miss her so much.

I get to the store and look in, Marie is distracted, organizing the records on auto-pilot. Must be a good sign! She must be thinking of me too.

The little bell rings when I push the door open. She absently says: “Hi.”

“Hello.”

She turns around, hits me with her hazel eyes, and her face drops at the sight of mine.

“Can I talk to you?” I ask.

“No. Please leave.”

“Look, I’m really sorry just let me—”

“This is my place of work, ok? Please leave.”

Next thing I know, the door to the backroom shut, and I was alone in the store. She’s still mad…

It’s wintertime, getting dark earlier by the day. I walk down to the lake to watch the sunset. The sky looks like a watercolor painting, exactly the way it was when I saw Marie there by the water that one time, before we got together.

She was wearing her Queen T-shirt, I walked up to her and tried making small talk. Had to remind her I was the Talking Heads fan from the store, but I played it cool:

“I actually came over because Freddy Mercury was flirting with me and I wanted to see if he wanted my number or…”

She didn’t give me his nor her number, but she did laugh. God, I miss that smile. After that time, by the water, I started coming by her store more often, buying whatever pretty little knick-knack I could convince myself I needed.

The sun has finally set, the memories of her are the only thing keeping me warm. It hits me that I may have lost her. All I can think about now is winning her back.

In the cold dark, a tiny shop I never noticed before caught my eye. It reminds me of her shop but they sell the most beautiful handmade jewelry. The green earrings on the window looked like they would bring out Marie’s eyes. I bought them.

It was late when she came home, Marie works a lot so she can save up for travel. I can tell how tired she is by the way she drops her bag and stretches. There is discomfort in her face too, maybe she has a tummy ache, probably ate something with lactose and it upset her stomach.

She doesn’t say anything, but I can tell how much she misses our puppy, Draco, how he’d run up and jump high so she could wrap her arms around him before she even took her jacket off.

The bedroom fills with shower steam and soon after the lights go out. Something must have happened to upset her, I leave her be but I just wish she would just tell me what’s wrong.

Suddenly, the best idea hits me. Yeah, it is a bit impulsive but that is what she loved about me. How I just “fuck it” bought her the most expensive snow globe in her store on our first date just because she said it reminded her of a family trip.

When she falls asleep, that’s the time to put the plan into action.

Very carefully, I take her gold stud earring off and hold it between my lips. She would say that was gross, but God knows I’ve had my tongue in her ear more times than I can count. I put the new earring on and wait until she turns so I can do the same to her other ear.

I had to leave early for work and did not get a chance to see her react to the gift. So, I planned to visit her later at the store.

My plan is to recreate our first date. I stop to get coffee. Her order is crazy specific, I made sure to memorize it the first time I heard it. Lucky the barista asked her to repeat it the time I was here with her, I was standing behind her and could barely make out what she said.

But this barista, taking my order for my romantic surprise, tells me that she stopped by earlier. Well, why is he so interested that he notices she was here?! Good thing I know how to keep my cool. So I ask him, and this meathead responds:

“It’s rare making a cup of coffee with 15 different steps. What’s this, one of those recipes people post online?”

“No, it’s just my girlfriend’s order”, I say firmly.

The guy looks at me with a strange crooked eye. He murmurs “ok”, and goes about making our coffees.

He knows her, I think he’s attracted to her. I can’t blame him really, Marie is beautiful in every sense of the word. This kid must think I’m too old for her. Well champ, she’s mine, so don’t bother memorizing her order, we smart men do it without her even noticing.

The coffee shop is just around the corner from her store. I look at her through the window, I can’t see if she has the earrings on, half of her face is hidden behind the wall of blonde hair. Her co-worker Nat is there with her, which is good, this neighborhood can attract some real weirdos.

Marie finally sees me through the window. I smile, hold up the cup of coffee. She turns sharp on her heels and pretty much runs to the back of the store, away from me.

My heart sinks to my feet. I love her so much… she ran away from me. And fucking Nat is just staring at me, scowling.

I hold my tears back and let my feet take me to the park nearby, that’s where I saw her with our Draco for the first time, she let me sit on the bench next to her. We ended up talking for hours, she was such a good listener.

At least I still have Draco. I really didn’t think she was going to be this upset for taking Draco to stay with me that week. It’s not my fault he likes me better.

The whole day goes by. I drink my coffee and hold hers close to me to keep it warm, pretending like I’m holding her hand. Eventually, I drink her coffee as well and it’s the closest I have felt to her in days.

Then a thought occurs to me, if we moved in together, Draco wouldn’t have to choose. It’s perfect! I had to tell her. It’s already dark but it takes time to close the store, she might still be there.

The lights in the store are off but there’s still movement inside. I figure I should wait by the back door. There’s a fence I have to jump over, I remember thinking how much easier climbing was when I was Marie’s age. Thank God, none of them walked outside when I was stuck at the very top, that would have been embarrassing…

I search around for the best spot to stand in, I don’t want to scare her, but it’s really dark and hard to see, I didn’t have a lot of options.

Just as I’m tiptoeing over some trash bags, the door opens, I hide from the spotlight and watch. It’s Marie, holding another trash bag. She doesn’t see me as she takes the bag out and tosses it in the dumpster.

It’s when she turns to walk back in, her eyes meet mine and she YELPS. I shush her, trying my best not to sound disrespectful.

“Marie, Marie, please…”

I try to put my hands on her shoulders but she slaps me away. The tears in her eyes shine under the light coming from inside the store.

“Don’t hurt me!” She said.

I couldn’t believe my ears. “Hurt you…? It’s me!”

“Please just leave me alone pleeeeeease…” The tears run down her face and she backs away. I feel so angry at that moment.

“I gave you so much, I…” I hear a distant voice behind me calling Marie’s name, and realize I’m standing between Marie and the door to the store. “Do you even know how much those earrings cost?!”

Her crying grows louder, she’s just screaming and blabbering at his point. I feel a pain in my chest, like a burn expanding from my sternum to my neck.

She finally takes a breath and says, like she’s spitting at me: “I don’t know you! Go away!”

That did it…

“I GAVE YOU EVERYTHING!” I hear myself scream.

I couldn’t tell you what happened next, I would but I just can’t remember.

I transport back, from the memory of that night to the wooden box where I am now sitting. I look up and every single face in the bright room stares at me with bugged eyes, some angry, some sad.

The man in a suit right in front of me looks satisfied like he just had a big meal. The other suit, my guy, sitting at a desk behind the one grinning, just stares at me in utter disbelief.

I realize I just did what he told me not to do. So I slowly look up at the large man sitting beside me, his face is stock-still like a stone.

“Did I just say all of that aloud?” I ask him.

My guy stands up: “You honor my client is clearly insane.”

“No argument there.” Says the still grinning man in front of me.

“Shut the hell up, Ewing!” My guy yells back.

“ORDER!” The voice out of the man next to me echoed for what felt like a decade.

Order? What’s happening here? Where…

“Where’s Marie?” I hear myself ask.

The silence that fell over the whole room nearly crushed me.

The day in that room is still a blur. I remember these bits and pieces but what I think about the most is that phrase: “Marie is dead. You killed her”.

jury

Luiza Araujo

IG: @louiza.araujo

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