Putting on a happy face


(This is an emotion-generated monologue rather than my usual plot-driven monologues. In truth I have many more of these than the plot-driven ones)


I smiled as she approached.

Although the last thing on earth I wanted to do was smile.

            I hate chance meetings – especially just after a breakup.

            I needed to hide how bad I felt, and yet wanted her to know, and hated how matter-of-factly she seemed to take everything.

Her gaze was straight out of a Steven Spielberg movie, as cold as the South Pole but capable of melting everything inside of me.

When she touched my hands, my fingers trembled.

My voice quivered when I asked how she was.

She studied me as if to convince herself I had survived as well as I pretended.

She said she had come to the mall to buy some clothing and ignored my asking if the closet-full she had wasn’t enough, though added that she needed something special for “her trip.”

No knife could have plunged so deep into me as the mention of her trip did.

But I steeled myself and stood my ground, maintaining the smile I didn’t mean.

When I asked about what time her train left, she knew how long she had to wait to the minute.

And that hurt, too.

No time seemed so short or so lacking in hope.

Yet I was the one who cut the conversation short, knowing I could not maintain my mask forever, feeling like the quarter back in a losing football game with too much time left on the clock.

I walked away.

I never turned back.

But I did go to the local tavern to get drunk.

And while everyone else watched Monday Night Football on the TV, I watched the clock-- each tick taking me to the time when her train took off.

By which time, my mask had fully melted.


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