“You are never there for me!” JoNell shouts, tears peeking at the corners of her eyes. She has gotten very good at fighting the urge to cry, not wanting people to see her emotional, especially her lovers.
Aidan shakes his head in disbelief, preparing to defend himself, “how the hell can you say that? I have always been there for you J.”
“Seriously?” JoNell darts back. She looks Aidan over, noticing how it seems like he is fuming. This fool, she thinks to herself. “You really think you have, don’t you?”
“Of course. Tell me when I wasn’t!”
JoNell smiles, but it was not an expression of glee, joy, or happiness. It is a dark and grim smile, one of sarcasm. In fact, it almost seems sinister. “Where were you when I got that promotion with Delta City Financial? I even got an award and had a speech to give. You weren’t in the crowd.” Aidan opens his mouth to react but JoNell allows no interruption.
“Or, where were you when my grandmother had to wait at the airport for three hours last winter, hmmm? Even better, I don’t remember you being at my niece’s baptism. Explain that.”
Aidan stares back, his fury only subdued because of meditation practices. Taking a soothing breath he begins, “you and I both know I wanted to be there for your award and promotion. We both also know I was unable to get to the city that night. Holding that against me is not right J!”
JoNell remembers how bad Aidan had felt when he missed the ceremony. She remembers how he beat himself up for it. JoNell recalls how Aidan took her on a special trip to make up for not being to get a train to the city.
JoNell even remembers how that caused Aidan to move to Delta City, in order for missed occasions to never again occur. She says nothing in appreciation or to acknowledge his past attempts at making her happy. JoNell only raises an eyebrow, waiting to hear the nonsense Aidan has left to say.
Aidan tries to recall each instance JoNell brought up, and nods in frustration, “so you’re going to hold the winter airport thing with your granny over my head? I apologized left and right, up and down, about that one. I ain’t a planner and I got the days mixed up. I can’t say “I’m sorry” enough for that one. But, the baptism?”
JoNell knows what is coming, or at least, she thinks she does. Aidan is an atheist, an unbeliever, a devil her great granny warned her about. He is going to say he did not belong in a church. JoNell could feel the excuse coming.
“Your father insisted on I not being there, seeing how I am nothing more than a, how did he put it?” Aidan searches for the words, only for dramatic flare,”ah yes, how I am nothing more than a non believing heathen!”
That, is not what JoNell anticipated. She refuses to lose the argument however, “you allowed my father to keep you from me?”
Aidan is perplexed and unprepared for the attack. He stands silent, mouth agaped.
“You are weak,” JoNell scoffs. “My father owns you as well, I see. Just like all those idiots at his company.”
Much to his surprise Aidan laughs, holding his belly as if it were to burst. For a brief moment JoNell thinks that Aidan may have snapped, maybe she has gone too far, and his rage could consume all.
Aidan looks at JoNell, this woman he thought he loved. He shakes his head, still chuckling, “I am weak? That’s rich, coming from the woman who only got their promotion because their uncle is the company manager. In fact, I believe that even your college scholarships were sponsored by wealthy family. Yet, I am weak? Somehow I, a man that has earned everything that I have achieved by diligent work, am weak?”
Aidan looks JoNell over, who now fumes like a volcano, nostrils flaring like an enraged bull as a matador barrels down atop it. He chuckles, “yes, I am weak. Let me show my strength though.” Aidan steps closer to JoNell, takes her hand unto his and kisses it, “let me not blemish your status, or achievements, or life any further. We are done. Have a wonderful life!”
Aidan leaves the room with his head held high. Months of meditative studies has paid off. Not only did he not lose control but he is able to say all that has been on his mind for the longest of time, without being too cruel or harsh. Simple truths spoken for the next chapter of his life to begin.
His foot trembles, heel tapping exceedingly. His teeth grind, jaw clenches, and nostrils flare. Clifton wants to say more but he remains silent. Has enough been said already? Maybe too much he decides. He tries to look away, ashamed of the things he lashed out with. How could he have been so mean?
“I can’t believe you said that,” Pip says to him, her hands trembling with anxiety, tears falling.
Clifton looks her over, and sees how her entire body quakes with heartache. Clifton twists his lips in defiance to what the tongue wants said. He loves Pip and never wanted to see her hurt. “I am so sorry for what I said. It was unfair and cruel,” he spits out. It is far easier to apologize than he thought. Pip said some harsh things too, truths and misconceptions that really hurt. But Clifton could not allow her to feel anything but love from him. He shakes his head and stands up from the bed. “I’ll go.”
“No,” Pip gasps. She drops her head, her hair obscuring a beautiful face covered in tears. “I said horrible stuff too,” she admits, “and I know that you know I did it because I wanted to hurt you.”
Clifton does know this. He also knows that he told her how he really felt so that it could sting just as strong.
“I am sorry too hun,” Pip finally utters. Clifton is surprised she dropped her defenses to apologize.
As if led by forces unseen Clifton steps to her side, lifts her face to look into her eyes, and allows the moment to be gratified with a gesture of pure compassionate weakness. Pip indulges the kiss, her eyes tightly shut hoping to end the flow of crocodile tears.
Pip has never loved anyone son deeply, as she does Clifton. She thought she had with the last two relationships, but knows they were a facade of her desires. They were practice for what she shared with Clifton. But God Almighty, he does irritate and frustrate her. None of that matters right now, so Pip pulls Clifton in closer and kisses his soul and heart, hoping it would erase his distrust and allow him to fully open up to her.
Their bodies spoke to one another, hands sliding up and down the backs, hair being gently tugged. Their lips refused to let go, and their hearts beat in unison. For the briefest of moments all is well with the world. The dialogue of emotion and passion is greater than any spoken word. Pip and Clifton will not break-up today. They will try to work it out again.