I love eavesdropping on fighting couples. It's not THAT evil—I'm not only enjoying the drama, I'm also doing dialogue research for my novel. (Sure I am.)
I really enjoyed Laura's quarrel with her paramour. See what you think of PieHo's story.
I can feel you breathing next to me, in and out, completely relaxed.
I can’t relax. Every part of my body is tensed, waiting for the phone call. I know it will happen. It always does. The room is dark, but I can read the clock by the light of the moon. 10:53. Seven more minutes with you. It’s not fair.
This is getting ridiculous. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Usually, I cry. My friends all tell me to stop. They say that you’ll never change. I think you will.
I pray you will.
Five more minutes.
I imagine what it would be like a lot, you know. You would get down on one knee, I would say yes, we would say I do, we’d watch our children grow. We’d have a white picket fence.
I hear your murmur in your sleep. “Laura…” Should I laugh or cry? The air in this room is too warm. I want you to stay. I need you to stay. But…I can’t take this any longer. The sleepless nights, the whispered conversations, the begging, the pleading. Six years of this song and dance.
Six years! Six years, and for what? For comfort, for warmth, for someone to talk to…for love. I don’t understand it. Don’t I give him what he needs? I love him. I guess that’s not enough.
The phone rings and I feel him stir next to me. I don’t want to listen, but I have to.
“Hello? Hi…I know, I know. But I told you I would be working late tonight. Hey, I’ll be home in fifteen minutes, okay? …Okay. Okay, love you too. Bye Laura.”
He looks over at me. “Sorry. I have to…”
“Look, I know you’re tired of waiting. And one day, I’ll leave. I will. It’ll be just you and me. It’s just…my kids…”
“Don’t be upset, okay? I’m sorry. You know I love you.”
I don’t know.
He pushes back the covers and pulls on his shirt, fumbling over the buttons.
“I’ll call you tomorrow?”
I look up at him. Six years. He’s never going to leave his wife. You’re nothing to him. Six years.
“No…no, don’t call me tomorrow. Just, just don’t call me, okay?”
“Come on, don’t be like that…”. He pulls on his shoes.
“I’m serious. Don’t call me. I’m so tired of waiting for you. I can’t take being lonely any longer,” I can hear my voice getting shrill, but I can’t stop.
“I have put my life on hold for you! And all you’ve done is use me! But you’re never going to leave her, so just…leave.”
“Olivia, come on…”
“What? What’s left to say? I’m sick of sharing you! I can’t do this anymore James, I just can’t!”
He runs his hand through his hair, but doesn’t say anything.
“You don’t have to go back,” I say quietly. “It could just be you and me. Together. Isn’t that what you want?”
“You know it is! But my kids! I can’t be the selfish jerk who walks out on them and their mother for my girlfriend. They’d hate me. I have obligations. I have a family. It’s not that easy!”
“Today it’s the kids, tomorrow it’ll be your job. There’s always an excuse for you, isn’t there?”
He’s upset now. “Why are you saying this? You’re not making sense!”
“No. I’m making sense. Six years.”
“Six years! You’ve been stringing me along for six years! All these empty promises…and I believed them. I thought you would leave. I’m not waiting another six years. I don’t have to live this way. So go home. Stay home. And don’t come back here.”
I don’t want him to go. I want him to fight for me. I want him to tell me he loves me, and he’ll do it, he’ll leave her. I want him to see the same white picket fence I see.
Instead, he just looks at me reproachfully. “This isn’t easy for me, you know.”
I don’t say anything more. I turn and walk towards the window, watching the cars below.
“Fine. I’ll call you in a week when you’ve calmed down.” Then he walks out of my bedroom. I hear my front door slam. I push my hair back and lean my forehead against the cool window pane.
Cry, or laugh?
Based on "Stay," by Sugarland
Did you enjoy eavesdropping on this couple?
Topics: musical fiction contest