Name Of Love

Entry by: sianushka

11th February 2016
'You're WHAT?' she says, her hands gripping the plastic tabletop stained with coffee rings and hardened blobs of ketchup. She takes a deep breath, inhaling the thick smell of bacon and chips and black pudding and sweet tea. The tinny chatter of the radio sounds too loud against a background of clattering cutlery and spitting grease.

He leans back in his chair, pushing his hand through his hair, and she remembers how it feels to push her own hands through it, entwining his hair in her fingers.

'I'm sorry, Julia,' he says, shrugging. But he doesn't look sorry, she thinks. He looks happy. The bastard. 'I'm sorry. But I love her.'

'Love,' she spits. 'And what about me?'

She feels sick. The fat that lingers in the cafe air is choking her, the instant coffee that she paid over the odds for is making her head buzz and her eyes flicker. She must look mental, she thinks. She wishes she'd put on some lipstick, put on something that would remind him of how pretty she is, would remind him how he had once praised how pretty she was.

'Oh,' he says, sighing, bored already, pushing his hands against the table as though he could push it towards her and force her backwards, out of his life. 'You'll be alright. It was fun. Wasn't it?'

She bites her lower lip and it sparks a memory in him, a memory better forgotten.

'What's her name?' she asks, her voice tight. 'What's the name of this love?'

The smile that glows out of him as his lips shape the name tells her that it's over, that it is love. It's over, here, in this sleazy greasy spoon that he has chosen for the setting of this ugly scene, where men in T-shirts and tracksuit bottoms sit singly, chewing over chips and reading tabloid papers over mugs of muddy tea; and only now it's over does she realise that maybe she loved him after all, in spite of it all, in spite of everything she had agreed to say, when she had agreed to say it was fun and that was all that mattered.

She releases her grip on the tabletop, defeated. She can see that he wants to go. His glass of juice is empty and she knows that he doesn't want to be sat here with her any longer. She's the past and he wants the other now, the future.

'Wait,' she says, her voice quiet with loss.

There's a scene in a book, she thinks, taking her glove out of her coat pocket. A scene where another Julia takes her glove and gently smacks it against her former lover's face.

'What are you doing?' he says, his voice sharp with anger, his fingers brushing his face as if to brush away any leftover molecules of her. It hasn't changed anything, she thinks, except to prove to him that he's right. The waitress, her stomach wobbling under her apron, giggles behind gold-jewelled fingers.

'Oh, just go,' she says. 'It doesn't matter now, does it.'