Love Don't Make Things Nice
It ruins everything... 📖 FLASH FICTION
“Love don't make things nice — it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren't here to make things perfect. Snowflakes are perfect. Stars are perfect. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit.“ Ronnie Cammareri in “Moonstruck”
I got a postcard this morning. From Lina. She says she wants to come back.
It’s been over two years. I gave up waiting for Lina a long time ago. I thought I was over it, thought I’d moved on. But now, here it is, back again, the pressing weight in my chest, the wanting and the dread. Why is she doing this? Does she think I’ve changed? I haven’t. I am still the same guy. I work at the sawmill every day. I drink a couple of beers in the evening. I tinker with the old Mustang on the weekends. I am not a complicated man. I like it up here on this mountain. I have steady work, I have my house, my dog, my dad’s old banjo. The only other thing I need in this world is a woman, a faithful woman. But I am young, I have time.
Lina knows what kind of life this is, so why does she want to come back? She’s used to city action now, the cafes and films, the high-heeled shoes, the smartphones, the Chinese take-out. She’d never be satisfied up here in the quiet of Vermont She sure never was before.
Lina says she’s leaving. Fucking hell! I can’t figure out what I did wrong.
She seemed happy. Now she says she needs to go home to some place on a mountain. I thought this was her home. I thought this was our home. We got a little apartment together — and no, it’s not a great apartment, but it’s clean and safe and the plumbing works. We bought a couch together and a lamp. We even got a cat, for fuck’s sake! What about him? What about Marcus? I thought we were doing well, having fun. Tossing a Frisbee in the park, running along the High Line, cooking spaghetti. We sit on the fire escape at night listening to soundtracks of John Coltrane coming from the cafe across the street.
I’ve been good to her, I know I have. We’ve been making plans. I thought we had a future, and now, all of a sudden, she is just sad all the time. I don’t get it.
I got to go home. This city is killing me.
What the hell am I doing here in New York anyway? I don’t belong here. I am so sick of the constant racket, the crowded sidewalks, the smell of greasy street food, the winos in the subway. I can’t breathe the exhaust-filled air. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I just cry because it will only be another day of serving up lattes and espresso.
I miss Vermont. I need to go home, even for just a little while. I want to walk through the woods of Somerset, watch the sunrise from the ridge. I miss the smell of wild raspberries, the sound of a stone-rattled creek, the crunch of pine needles under my boots. I miss the fresh, sweet air.
But, now there’s Roger. How can I just walk away? He is such a good man. He really cares about me. He manages everything for us and works so hard. We have made a lot of plans, but all his plans are for a life here in the city.
Then William. He has stayed at his family home all these years — he’d never leave it. I wonder if he still thinks of me, if he’s still waiting for me. I wonder if it would it hurt him to see me again? I don’t want that, he’s such a kind soul. Maybe I could just go back for a visit and see how I feel? How he feels. Maybe stay for a couple of weeks and try to work out where I am going with my life.
I don’t know what to do, but a woman deserves to find happiness, right? Why is it so difficult? Sometimes love feels just like a really bad flu, you know? Like something you need to get over.
Comments? In the best of all worlds, what will Lina do? William? Roger? How would this story play out if you were writing it?
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