Stacy sat on the rocking chair on her front porch. It had been a week since she last saw Lawrence. They were back to talking terms but things were moving a bit slow between them. It was what you’d call, ‘no juice’ in their conversations. He’d call to check up on her and that was it. Their conversations would not last more than two minutes.
It was a Saturday afternoon. She wasn’t working, just chilling in the house watching movies on Netflix, taking a break from her crazy work schedule and anything else that sapped the strength out of her. Including Lawrence.
The clouds were meticulously aligned in the sky, creating a scenic background for the sun. Stacy pulled a cigarette from a Dunhill pack. She snapped the lighter and lit it up, puffed it and exhaled effortlessly, smoke floating up her face.
A familiar sound roared outside the compound. Lawrence had made a surprise visit riding his Hyundai motorbike. He parked it, removed his shiny black helmet and walked towards Stacy’s apartment.
She was still smoking when Lawrence walked up the stairs to meet her. She stood up to hug him.
“Oh, it’s you. I thought I heard your bike outside.” She said after the brief hug.
“Yeah. Surprised to see me?” He did not sound too excited.
“Well, depends on whether I have to cook for you. Haha. I’m having a lazy day today.” The laugh was rather forced. A kind way of saying, can we get past this awkwardness already?
“Naah. I’m not hungry.” Lawrence said. They both sat down on adjacent seats, between them was a table with an ashtray, a pack of Dunhill and a lighter placed on top. Lawrence removed his riding gloves and placed them on the table.
“To what do I owe this random visit, Babe?” Stacy asked him then took a puff.
Lawrence reached for the pack, drew a cigarette and lit it up. “Stacy…” he called her name a certain way that sounded a bit formal for her liking. He only called her Stacy when he had something very serious to tell her and demanded her full attention.
“I really needed to talk to you. That’s why I came over.” He took another puff too. Then leaned back on his seat staring at the clouds.
“What is it? I’m listening.”
Lawrence always admired how they often had candid, yet civilized conversations between them. One of them could be protesting but the other would listen carefully and intently. If anyone saw them in a restaurant arguing, they would not actually notice that it was not as rosy as it looked unless they were a mind reader or something. This ‘civilized’ kind of talk between them was absent in some of their arguments like the last one they had at his apartment but it definitely existed in this one.
“I wish I had a better way to say this, but let me cut to the chase,” Lawrence said, his eyes still fixed on the clouds. He bent his head low as if analyzing his white Jordan sneakers, and then said, “I think this is not working out Stacy. I cannot do this anymore. I love you, but I have to end this.”
Stacy turned to look at him. He raised his face and saw her poker face. He couldn’t read any emotion from it. He could not tell whether she was sad or pleased to hear such words coming out of him.
She just looked at him. A cold-hearted stare that made the air between them freeze for a second.
Lawrence continued, “I don’t think you understand just how much I love you, Stacy. I can’t leave with this. I can’t force you to love me and that’s a fact.”
Both their cigarette butts were stashed on the ashtray. It was time for this. An inevitable break up they both saw coming, at least for her. And the worst bit was the fact that she didn’t know how to respond to it.
“I don’t know what to say to you Lawrence? You sound like you’ve made up your mind and I can’t change that.” Stacy finally spoke up.
He felt like reaching out his hand to hold hers and explain everything but his heart opted otherwise. If Stacy really wanted to save this relationship, this was the chance to do so. And clearly, she was ready to let this boat sink.
Neema’s words replayed in his mind that very moment; “I think it’s time you end your relationship with Stacy. Don’t get me wrong, but I strongly feel you deserve better. It’s a lost cause, Lawrence. Accept it and move one. Plain and simple.”
That was his cue to leave.
Stacy didn’t talk much after that. She simply stood up and entered the house. Lawrence walked back to the parking lot feeling very heavy. He wished the conversation had ended differently, but it didn’t.
He wished that Stacy at least fought for him to save their relationship, but she did not.
When he roared his bike to ride off, he knew just where he needed to go. He was a single man yet again.
NEXT: No Valentine’s | 11