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The End of Dessert

And other good reasons to break up

By Kimberly HindsPublished 3 years ago 6 min read
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Millie shook her head. There was no denying it, he was a nauseating nincompoop. And tonight, over a slice of chocolate cake at her favourite French eatery, she would flush him out of her life.

She planned to break up with him mid-dessert. Undoubtedly, the bill for this last meal together would now fall on her – the dumper and cruel conductress of devastation - and she wanted to enjoy the whole meal.

Time after time, she found herself entangled with these disappointing men, so out of touch with her emotional needs. Short, tall, clever, dim, gruff, gentle, stingy, indulgent; whatever the type of man, the relationship culminated at this same point - her in a final state of exasperation and then a hasty dumping. The men were always taken by surprise. Naturally they objected, well, some did not but she did not bother remembering those. She was good like that.

Garrett and Millie been introduced a year earlier by mutual friends, and their match was backed by a host of Millie’s eager, proudly married friends who had once known him or at least of him. Each of those pals spoke wistfully of his appeal and charm, albeit two decades and a full head of hair earlier, from across the university quadrant. He was considered worthy, desirable and (astoundingly, they said) available.

Like an excellent island resort, he came so well recommended that Millie had foolishly jumped well ahead into the relationship. She leapt into it with far more than just romantic blind faith – landing with two bulbously full suitcases, her ancient wheezing Pug, and a freshly signed joint lease agreement for their new loft apartment.

Apart from a shared appreciation of high ceilings and exposed brick walls, the new lovers were an unusual pairing. Millie, with her shine for the macabre, could be described as intense and morbid by those who did not understand her, and creative and poetic by those that did. Garrett (sweet, innocent Garrett) seemed oblivious to her cloudier nature and drank her in at purely face value, a petite and pretty girl with raven black straight hair and wide, welcoming brown eyes. He believed wholeheartedly that all women, in so much as the extent of their unique fears, interests and pleasures, could be wrapped up into one honeyed creature: soft, small and the same. In this blinkered way, Millie was a pleasing cut out of his ideal woman.

Minor balding aside, Garrett was well-preserved for 40, with kind green eyes and sunned skin. Unlike Millie’s previous lovers, he lacked a certain obvious depth but she felt sure that time would peel back the layers. Soon, she told herself, that perpetually upbeat jokester façade would drop to the floor in the bedroom, revealing to her his true wounded soul, whose very raw depths of vulnerability she could connect with through mind and body, trust and desire. Men always did.

Patiently (at first) Millie waited for the change in her meek and mellow mate, but still he remained as shallow as a sandbar. She was truly baffled by his limited range of emotions – sleepy, happy, sated. It was like living with a walking Perspex box filled with nothing but joyous daily meals and restful naps.

And the bedroom life was dismal. Rudimentary at best. Afterwards, he would lay his head on the pillow, tilt his chin up and instantly begin snoring, while a huge idiotic smile would spread across his face during every (and there were many) slumbersome fart. Millie would look over at him – a stuffed sack of beans in the shape of someone she had so hoped to be attracted to.

Over one long year together, she was able to declare him to be as simple, content and complacent as he had always presented to the world.

When she arrived at the restaurant she spotted Garrett already seated. He was grinning and began to wave emphatically, with the enthusiasm of a child being approached by the big jolly man in red himself, unaware of the tidings of woe she was bringing.

Flustered already, she made her way to the table. An opened bottle of champagne sat in the ice bucket, waiting to toast Garrett’s public misery and humiliation.

As she neared him, she spotted a present wrapped up in crisp brown paper and a floppy red satin bow sitting where her plate would be. A book for sure, she shuddered. He would undoubtedly have picked some flimsy chick lit novel (just awful), something he had chosen based solely on the combination of the cheery, childish colours of the cover. If he had even so much as glanced at their bookshelf he would have seen that her favourite books were clearly hefty tomes by dead Russian men.

Even after a year, he knew nothing of her. Here was Millie, the erudite artist, the passionate lover, the deserving receiver of carefully thought through hard-to-find memorable gifts. She clenched her jaw and steeled herself for the evening ahead.

“Well, hi there. Are we celebrating something?,” she asked weakly, as she sat down.

“Just us! And this beautiful life!” He chirped, fumbling to clasp her sweaty hand. He was literally beaming tonight and it irked her immensely.

“Open it Boo Boo! Open it,” he pleaded excitedly. Oh how she despised that silly pet name.

“Ok. Um, thank you.”

She began unwrapping the present, her chest tight. Inside, she was shocked to discover it was a Lonely Planet travel guide to Tasmania. Tucked inside the book was a pair of return plane tickets to its capital city and on which he had penned (in his chubby preschool crayon like scribble) “For us, my darling baby”.

“Garrett! I am speechless, this is…” Her voice trailed off.

It was thoughtful, sweet, generous and undeniably perfect. She hated him even more for it. Millie flicked through guide book, checked the class of air travel (Business class, she was shocked to see) and internally cursed him for choosing such a superb gift. She was consoled a moment later when she realised he couldn’t possibly have thought of giving this himself.

Garrett then produced a paltry bouquet of limp pale pink carnations from behind his back and thrust the wet stalks into her hand. She studied them with distaste. They looked like the type sold by service stations, bruised browning petals and leaves speckled with aphids, wrapped in cheap crinkled yellow cellophane. The flowers were crushed and (rather bizarrely) warm. He had obviously been sitting on them. Now this was all his thinking, Millie smirked.

“So Boo Boo. You know how my Great Uncle Phil passed away last week, and how sad I was we couldn’t go to the funeral?”

Oh cripes, Millie panicked. Uncle Phil lived in Hobart, Tasmania. So, he was dragging her to some family funeral. A typical myopic moronic gesture.

“Erm, Garrett, I think we need to talk…”

Garrett slipped his hand under the table, grasping at hers before energetically patting her thigh, like it was the top of a loyal Labrador’s furry head.

“Shh baby. Shh I’m ok, it’s so very sad but I have some good news amongst it! So my uncle, you know he was a very wealthy man, and a very generous man it seems. He has left some of his estate to me.”

Her body became very stiff. “Oh. How much of his estate are we talking?” She congratulated herself for managing to sound so casual, even though she could feel the excited hysteria rising up her body in waves of vibrating heat.

“Look Boo Boo, we can check it all out when we get to Tasmania.”

She shakily poured herself a glass of bubbles. Suddenly, the chocolate cake was the least exciting part of her night. As she anxiously gulped the first sip down, she realised was filled with an overwhelming flood of warmth and compassion towards Garret.

Time after time, she found it in her heart to forgive and compromise. She was good like that.

Short Story
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About the Creator

Kimberly Hinds

A New Zealand-based freelance writer living in Auckland, New Zealand, and author of many emails. Graduate of Massey University Journalism School, and lover of empty calories and overpriced oriental cats.

Blogs at www.mundane2friday.com

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